When a good email goes wrong (and you don’t know why)

As an email strategist, I collect a lot of emails. I’ve got a Gdrive folder full of email screenshots that I don’t even remember where I found. Any time I need to find an email example, I open my email swipe file and choose one.

This email from Doc Martens is the first email I audited based on my 3-item email conversion checklist. It’s the first email that made me stop and think, “Hang on, I love the email copy and the photos. So why don’t I love the email?” If I had to credit one email for waking up the email strategist in me, it’ll probably be this one.

Take a closer look at this email here.

Here’s what I love about this email:

The email copy

  • It’s telling a story (about the iconic 1460 design)
  • It aligns itself with the underdog (everyday workers)
  • It provides proof of quality (100 million pairs sold since 1960)

The offer

  • They have a reason to make this offer. (birthday/anniversary of their 1460 design)
  • There’s built-in scarcity (because the sale’s for one day only.) 
  • It’s across their entire collection (which makes shopping easier.)

Here’s what I don’t love about this email: The CTAs (call-to-actions)

  1. There are wayyyy too many CTAs

There are four different kinds of CTAs in this email, and only two are (somewhat) relevant to this email.

  1. Not enough of the “right type of” CTAs

As an email that’s focusing on a discount, there should be multiple “Shop Now” CTAs. The first one should have been directly below the 15% OFF section. I’d argue that even “Shop Men” and “Shop Women” are the wrong kind of CTAs. If you go to Doc Marten’s website, they have men's and women’s sizes on the same product page.

This email would have been much better served had the CTAs called attention to the sale and encouraged people to avail the discount before it was too late.

  1. The CTA buttons (or lack thereof)

The CTA buttons look like a design element. Predictability and sticking to standard practices is your best bet when it comes to CTA buttons. Honestly, this email would have been a winner if they’d ended it with a call-to-action after the email copy section.

Everyone knows what Doc Martens look like. You don’t need to highlight individual designs. 

Allright, I’ll get off my soap box now. 

Catch you later!

– Samar

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