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Commerce blog | Email Marketing

Why We Love Uncommon Goods’ Onboarding Email Campaign

What better way to inaugurate the Your Commerce blog than with a post about welcome emails?

Someone signs up to receive marketing emails from your business—hooray! If you're like most companies, you shoot them back a "Welcome" email... and then you wait for them to start shopping.


That's great—as far as it goes. But you're assuming that the consumers who subscribed to your emails already know a fair amount about your company and your offering: After all, why else would they have opted in?


Well, if they're like me, they might have signed up as part of a contest (yes, I'm a contest junkie; so far I've won two books, but I know that I'll score that free luxury trip any day now...). Or in hopes of receiving a discount. Or simply to get rid of that annoying pop-up screen preventing them from easily browsing your site. Or maybe, just maybe, because they're interested in your company but want to learn more.


In which case, you need to give them more. Instead of sending a basic "Welcome" email, make them feel warm and fuzzy about your brand with an onboarding email campaign. That of UncommonGoods, a New York-based purveyor of cool gifts, jewelry, housewares, and the like, is full of inspiration.


Within a week of subscribing to UncommonGoods' emails (yes, I did so as part of a contest entry—you won't be laughing when I post my photos from that trip I'm bound to win eventually), I received an email with the subject line "Welcome to UncommonGoods!" Not the most imaginative, but it made its point, and the exclamation point was a nice touch.


image: Uncommon Goods Screen grab


There was nary a piece of merchandise in the entire email, though the header did mimic the website's TOC header, with links to various product categories. Instead the email consisted of chunks of info about the company founder; quick facts about its products (52% are handmade; 23% are exclusive); a quote from one of its merch makers; info about the nonprofit groups to which UncommonGoods has donated more than $1 million since 2001 and about its workforce. Throughout were links to relevant pages on its website.


I've known of UncommonGoods for years but was unaware of its nonprofit partners, that it offered products from more than 600 artisanal makers, and that it was a B Corps (or even what a B Corps is). Already the onboarding campaign was doing its job: letting me know what sets UncommonGoods apart from myriad other sellers of less-than-essential products.


Three days later I received the second onboarding email, with the subject line "More to Explore." I must confess that this message, with its bland subject line, got lost in the jungle that is my inbox, and I didn't open it till several weeks later. When I did, though, I was greeted by a beautifully designed summary of the product categories that UncommonGoods offers. Again, no products were sold in this email, but links to each category page on the website were included.


image: Uncommon Goods Screen grab


Three days after that the third (and final) onboarding email arrived; subject line: "Meet the Products, People, and Posts of UncommonGoods." This offered blurbs about and links to its blog and social channels. I was especially impressed by how the copy succinctly detailed the different benefits of each channel: to encourage people to follow on Instagram, for instance, the copy said, "Get a brightly filtered peek behind the scenes, and compete in #UGinstafun" (ooh, could that be a contest?); the Facebook-relevant copy read, "Join the conversation, check out our newest goods, and see what's up-and-coming." Each channel promised different benefits and features, so that readers wouldn't want to sign up just on Facebook or Insta or Pinterest but would feel compelled to follow UncommonGoods on all of them.


image: Uncommon Goods Screen grab


These three emails did more than just tell me more about the company and its offerings. Their mere presence in my inbox reminded me of UncommonGoods' existence as a source of gifts—and in this day of information overload, reminders are essentials. Otherwise, I might never have known of the existence of bookends that look like bisected brain—and clearly I'd be a much sadder person for it.



author: Sherry Chiger

Sherry Chiger

The editorial director of Your Commerce, Sherry Chiger is an award-winning writer and editor. She was formerly editorial director of Multichannel Merchant and Catalogue e-business magazines.


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