Okay, I gotta admit it.
Until Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2020, I had no idea “Small Business Saturday” was a thing.
Seems like every year, there’s a new holiday or ‘National Day’ to keep track of…
Apparently today (December 1st, 2020) is National Pie Day, Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day, World Trick Shot Day, AND National Eat a Red Apple Day.
OMG… How did I not know all this??
Well, because I’m a normal human.
Anyhow… now that I know of Small Business Saturday, I think it’s an excellent idea.
People are ready to spend the last weekend in November, so why not send some of that cold, hard cash to small businesses – especially local small businesses?
God knows they could use the help in 2020. The Covid monster has been brutal to mom and pop.
Here in Austin, beloved spots like Shady Grove, Dart Bowl (62 years in business!), Vulcan Video, and Easy Tiger (downtown location), and many more are boarded up.
It totally sucks. And what’s going to replace them? Hopefully NOT a bunch of mattress stores, Verizon shops, and Starbucks.
Okay, rant over.
Now, another cool thing about the Small Business Saturday is how well it pairs with email… and my friends over at Braxley Bands took full advantage.
Ever heard of Braxley Bands?
They’re an Austin business that makes comfy-as-hell bands for Apple Watches. Comfort, quality, and style are their hallmarks… especially style. I mean, just get a gander at these babies…
Aside from making snazzy watch bands, they’re savvy marketers doing some really cool things with email…
Their Small Business Saturday email being no exception. Let’s take a closer look.
Subject Line: Small Business Saturday
First, I want to mention that this is just a snippet of the full message. (This email is loooong).
Below it, they have some great clickable images showing off the product and people wearing it…
But the text-heavy selection above is what does the heavy lifting for this email, so that’s what I want to focus on.
What I Like
I dig the big, bold header graphic (gotta love that classic 90’s combo of electric blue & fuschia).
Having a header in your emails helps make them “pop.”
Even if 99% of your message is conveyed through text, a nice looking header will make it visually interesting. It’s good branding. When you’re sending multiple emails each week, that graphic becomes like your company logo.
Readers see it, and their brain goes, “Ooh, ooh, this is going to be good! (That’s IF you’re sending valuable emails, of course).
Right under the header, Braxley Bands has a “Shop Now Read Later” button (in their signature rad blue).
Good move. During BFCM especially, people are in shopping mode. Some of those folks may not care to read a long story-based email… they just want to buy, buy, buy.
So make it easy on them, and give them a link straight to the sales page.
I’m a big fan of origin stories.
Done right, they can be really powerful. Actually, they may be THE most powerful story you can tell as a business.
Why? Because people connect with the meaning behind the brand. The emotions. The values.
Features, benefits, promos, launches and the rest are all hugely important, obviously. But if you don’t have that emotional connection, customers can always find a substitute for your widgets.
Plus, people intuitively “get” the structure of transformation/origin stories:
- You wanted something you didn’t have…
- So you decided to go for it, and things got complicated…
- Life was difficult, but you kept at it because you were committed…
- Finally, you reached the goal and it changed everything…
- Now you’re a living example of that change, helping other people experience it, too.
See how that works? It’s universal, hardwired into the homosapien brain.
So if you have a cool origin story (and everyone does in their own way), you want to highlight it. Braxley Bands definitely has an interesting one. It’s the classic transformation story:
-Two friends start a business as a college project
-They have no experience and no connections, but they have the most important thing – drive
-They hustle and work hard, but never sacrifice health, relationships, or studies (<– This is key)
-Eventually, the dream pays off and they become a legit, full-time business
-Despite the growth, the biz is still two regular dudes doing what they love
And a key point is, Braxton and Grant never sacrificed their values like enjoyment, travel, learning, and connecting with something bigger.
They didn’t have to “give it all up” to succeed. They’re calm, cool, and having fun in their business… and that’s part of what people love about them.
Finally, they tie things off by bringing it back to the original topic, Small Business Saturday:
“We are proud to be a small business in America and we hope our story will inspire others to start something. If you ever need advice, please reach out!”
See how personal that feels? It sounds real. It sounds genuine. Like you’re chatting with a cool friend who just happens to sell 80s-themed watch bands.
After the sign off, they include a quick PS mentioning the details of the sale. The purpose of the email isn’t just to inspire, after all… it’s to move product.
Could Be Improved
As good as this email is, there’s always room for improvement.
The way they have the images laid out, one after another underneath the text, feels clunky. And the images are HUGE. What if they had shrunk them down, and spread them out within the body copy?
That way, you have a visual representation of what’s going on in the messaging. Talking about the hustle of late nights, hand-stitching bands? Have the pic of the old-school sewing machine right then.
And if laying things out that way isn’t doable, at least add captions to the images. I mean, the pics are great, but a little context would be good.How about some backstory on that old singer machine? Who’s the dude sitting on the skateboard? Every image is a chance for one more bit of branding.
CTA 1 (Body Copy)
In the copy portion, the CTA is a little “meh.”
The link is just their website URL, which is pretty plain and potentially even confusing. Is it taking me to the sale, or just to their home page?
Why not spell out the details right in the CTA, something like:
“Click here now to get 2 bands for the price of one! Or, “Click here now to save.”
It’s a small thing, but details like that add up over time.
CTA 2 (Image)
The final image in the email is the “visual CTA.”
I think it’s a great image: it’s bright, eye catching, and clear.
My only question is, why is it at the very end of the email? You have to scroll waaaay down the page to find it.
I’d move this up to the top, directly beneath the text so it’s the first image. If the first CTA didn’t get a click, this is your backup, presented in a different format.
Overall, this is a really good email. Braxton and Grant have told their company’s origin story over and over, and by this point have it down pat.
When you have your origin story dialed in, it’s pretty hard to mess up turning it into an email. It just works, because it fits with how humans naturally make sense of the world.
If you haven’t hashed out your story yet, put it at the top of your to-do list for Jan. 1st, 2021. Transformation stories are mega-powerful, and can be used in all your marketing channels. Your customers (present and future) will love it.
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