COVID Culture: How we used a Vietnamese PSA to foster positivity and social responsibility for Awara

Ep. 15

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How do you build community when your huge Earth Day initiative is shut down by a global pandemic? Listen in on how we used pop culture – and a dose of positivity and social responsibility – to gear up for Awara’s Earth Day sale, at the height of COVID-19.

Ideas you don’t want to miss

(02:01) The new idea the team came up with, to replace the original IRL initiative

(03:13) What made this email risky

(03:58) The disappointing response this email got

(04:46) A similar email I once got from a different brand

Links from this episode

Take a look at the email we’re talking about today

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Nikki Elbaz: The subject line was Vietnamese. It was the song title, which is a little risky.
It could have been marked as spam. I did add music notes to make it clear that it wasn’t
spam, but still. Honestly, I’m surprised it got approval.

Nikki Elbaz: Welcome to email swipes, where we peek behind the scenes at the emails
that catch your attention and earn their place in your swipe file. Every other week, we’ll
talk to an email expert about an experiment they ran, and in the following episode, we’ll
dive into the strategies and methods used in the email so you can inform and inspire
your own email work. I’m Mickey Guillbas, the copywriter behind winning emails for
eight and nine figure SaaS and ecommerce brands like Shopify, Four, Sigmatic, and
Sprout social. And I know that hearing the background stories to these emails will help
you turn pie in the sky insights into plug and play actions. Ready to make inspiration
tactical? Let’s go.
Nikki Elbaz: First, let’s read today’s email clean to this club banger you’ve been singing
while you wash your hands. But Vietnam turned all the Covid-19 prevention guidelines
into a musical psa that John Oliver called a genuine club banker. Give a listen to the
viral virus song, and then mix up a quick, all natural disinfectant for your home. Just
pour the following into a dark spray bottle. Half a cup 3% peroxide, one cup water. Ten
drops of your fav essential oil. Ours is orange. Voila. Fewer, uh, toxins in your home
from just one small action you took. Spread the impact. Share on Facebook, Instagram,
pinterest do something small. BET Earth Day 2020 will be life changing in a great way
every day. Awara plans ten fruit trees for every match is purchased. But starting on April
16, we’re doing something massive, something life changing for Earth Day. Stay tuned
to find out what it is. This email was an on the fly email, not a super, uh, last minute on
the fly. Nothing that crazy. But it was not in the original strategy. Aura is an all natural
latex hybrid mattress company. They’re approachable, luxury, sustainably focused, all
that good stuff. They had planned a big Earth Day initiative, a, uh, community beach
cleanup, if I remember correctly. But then Covid hit and they needed a new idea fast. I
got pulled into the project after the new strategy was already decided on. My job was
just to write the emails and obviously comb through the research and all that
background stuff, too. Writing is never just writing, right? Anyway, the new idea was to
run an environmental email challenge. Subscribers would opt into the challenge and
receive daily prompts for living a, um, more environmentally friendly life. The idea was
that we were all stuck at home with nothing to do, watching as the world went crazy,
feeling so utterly useless. So here are the ways we could make an impact. Small
impacts, perhaps. But hey, that’s how big change starts. And these little small action
prompts would lead up to the big Earth Day sale, in which subscribers can make an
immediate big impact by purchasing an awara. Because in addition to a promo long
discount, Awara would plant 150 trees for every mattress purchase. So that’s where this
email sat, the first action challenge in a series that would get subscribers in an earth
day mood in time for their earth Day sale. Anyway, I had a list of different small actions
to work with, and I kept the emails pretty simple and straight to the point, but with a little
color to keep things interesting, obviously, except that for this email, I took a little risk.
Nikki Elbaz: Hey, creative, I want you to join Chava Shapiro’s creative CEO Academy
because I think it’s going to be transformational to.
Nikki Elbaz: Your business and life.
Nikki Elbaz: Now, I’ve taken four, yes, four freelancing biz dev programs. So why am I
promoting this one? The other programs were decent, one was even excellent, but they
were missing one very critical piece. They were only tactics. Now, I know mindset stuff
sounds all fluffy, and I am the first to shy away from any of that kind of talk. But let me
ask you, if you’ve been in the biz for a bit, you probably already know how to do a large
chunk of what Chavez teaches. You already know you’re supposed to be doing a lot of
the tactics that she lays out, things like pricing for value, asking for referrals, reviewing
profit and loss statements. So tell me, dear listeners, if you know you’re supposed to be
doing these things, if you know how much these steps impact your business, why aren’t
you doing them? I’ll tell you why. I nodded and took notes as four instructors told me to
do those things. And then I just kept not doing any of them because these things are
emotionally hard. You can be armed with the best sales scripts, but if you feel like you’re
being manipulative by asking the questions that get you price by value answers, you’re
not going to use them. You can download the best referral ask templates, but if you feel
too vulnerable to reach out and ask for a favor, you’re not going to use them. You can
have the best p and L spreadsheet, but if you’ve hit a ceiling and don’t know how to
grow past it. You’re going to find it too painful to look at your numbers and you’re not
going to use them. One of the things I look up to in Chava as a friend and colleague is
her genuine curiosity. More than anything, it’s her attitude towards business that colors
her entire course. It literally pricks all the angst out of the balloon, all the fears,
hesitations, buts they just don’t exist anymore. I know it sounds unbelievable. It can’t be
that simple, right? But I think it comes down to this. One of the things that sets Chava
apart from the other instructors whose programs I took is that Chava is still in the
business. She didn’t shift to teaching courses only. She didn’t hire a full time team to do
the work. And she just manages things. She’s doing the work day in, day out. This
means that she really, deep down gets it. Not that she used to get it and forgot. Not that
she never got it and thinks she does. She knows what each step and task means,
physically, mentally, emotionally, and she tackles each piece. This understanding,
coupled with her contagious sense of discovery means youll fall in love with your
business all over again. Remember those heady first days before you got burnt out?
Plus, youll stay in love as you grow to 15k months and beyond. All right, ive rambled
Nikki Elbaz: Im a bit passionate about this.
Nikki Elbaz: If ive intrigued, you head to the show notes for the link. Its got all the details
on whats included. Its a lot when you have to join by your investment, etcetera.
Vietnamese government put out PSA about COVID prevention
Nikki Elbaz: Okay, back to our show.
Nikki Elbaz: The vietnamese government put out this PSA about COVID prevention,
and they took a leaf from the Melbourne metro train. PSA. Remember dumb ways to
die? Well, they did a similar thing and made a fun animated video with a catchy song.
My kids were obsessed. We were listening to the song on repeat, so naturally it was in
my head, and I decided, hey, let’s make this email centered around the PSA. The
subject line was vietnamese. It was the song title, which is a little risky. It could have
been marked as spam. I did add music notes to make it clear that it wasn’t spam, but
still. Honestly, I’m, um, surprised it got approval, but it did. And thank God it didn’t get
spam complaints. Now, that sounds like a good thing. And it was, obviously. But the
thing is, is that it didn’t really get any, uh, response. Nothing great, nothing terrible. It
was just there. It didn’t do better than the other emails in the challenge. It didn’t do
worse. I wasn’t expecting that. It was so different. How could the results be the same?
Usually big risk emails either win big or fail big. Why was this one just meh. I don’t have
total clarity, but I do have a hypothesis on why the results were the same. The
challenge emails went to a very engaged segment. Uh, we asked users to opt in for the
challenge. It only went to the people who asked for them. So most subscribers just
opened all of them. They were looking out for them. The subject line didn’t make the
difference. People were bored, people were aimless. They were opted in. They were
opening everything. So would I send an email like this again? I definitely think it would
be interesting to try in a different context. I remember I got an email in Chinese once
from mm hmm.
Nikki Elbaz: Hm.
Nikki Elbaz: I think it was, it was a mistake and send. It went to the wrong list, but it was
so interesting, it got my attention. So there’s something there, as long as it isn’t too
We had a client once who had an evergreen sale on their site
Okay, that was a ridiculously short episode, so I’m gonna give you one more little
bonus. Honestly, I just feel like I have so much more to add in the takeaways that I don’t
want to give away in the main episode. Like, the main episode should focus on the
email and the takeaways should focus on why I made all the decisions I made. Alright,
we’ll get to those next week. Meanwhile, here’s a fun story. We had a client once who
had an evergreen sale on their site. Always, no matter what, no matter when you would
go to the site, they would have the same sale running all the time. That was the sale
that we would run for different promos. It was the sale that was live on the website. It
was just the sale forever. Now, number one fascinating thing about this was that nobody
really noticed. People would buy anytime we had a promotion, despite this being the
same offer that they opted in for and subsequently didn’t buy from, and nobody called
us out on it. It was just the same offer all the time. Now, the head of marketing took
things to a completely new level when he decided to run a sale that was not a sale. So
again, this was the offer that was always live on the site. But once people opted in to
the email list, they weren’t necessarily pushing it all the time. They only pushed it when
there was a promotion. So if you hadn’t checked out the site recently, then you wouldn’t
be aware that this was like a, uh, promotion all the time. Because when you opted in. It
had a deadline to it. So people are living on this list. They are not realizing that the sale
is live all the time. And all of a sudden they get an email that has a sale, deadline,
promotion, whatever, all around it. And we would change law fir up, uh, different times
as well. We had that freedom, um, where we were able to add in bundles or, you know,
just different other benefits as well. But the main discount always stayed the same. And
that’s when people would buy. They would, you know, see that this offer was live again
and they would buy. They weren’t typically checking out the site when they weren’t
getting emails with offers now. Anyway, he took this to a whole new level when he
decided to run a sale that was not actually a sale, he said, hey, this is what people are
doing. He saw that when he ran a discount to them, whether it was a Valentine’s Day
sale, whether it was a holiday sale, whatever it was, he saw that when he pushed the
sale to them, they would buy. He decided, I’m just going to run a non sale. I’m just going
to send an email with a countdown timer on it with his discount and see what happens.
And the crazy thing is that people bought. There was nothing to it. It was the same
exact sale the next day. It was the same exact sale two days from then. There was no
rhyme or reason for the sale. It just was, and people bought. Really interesting story,
right? Yeah, we’re going to get into it in the takeaways. Yes, I am doing that to you.
Thanks for joining me for email story time. If you enjoyed today’s story, give this podcast
a review so email marketers like you can have more fun with email. See you next week
when we dig into this story’s takeaways.

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