How to Promote a Limited Time Offer with Email Automation

Many brands offer new customers a special, limited time offer to encourage them to make their first purchase. Sometimes the special offer is so good that the company makes very little or no profit at all from the first sale. The idea is that, even if the first purchase is a loss-leader, the customer will be so impressed by the quality of the product he or she will come back for more, and the company will make a big profit over time.

Fabletics, an athleisure company, provides new customers with such an offer. When you become a new VIP member of the Fabletics family you get 2 pairs of high-quality workout leggings for just $24. Most leggings sold through Fabletics are valued at $35 to $60 each, so getting two pairs of leggings for $24 is a steal for the customer.

screenshot of Fabletics homepage

Before asking the consumer to pay any money, Fabletics has each customer take a lifestyle quiz to get “personalized outfit picks” based on your personal preferences.

screenshot of fabletics lifestyle quiz

The final step of the quiz asks for you to create a free account with Fabletics to unlock your discount and see your personalized outfit picks.

fabletics email signup

Once you submit your email address to Fabletics you are then subscribed to their email list and will start receiving a series of automated emails.

Many consumers will go on to take advantage of the 2 for $24 sale right away as evidenced by Fabletics’ success (the company made $250 million in the first 3 years in business). However, many people will become distracted or otherwise disengaged and will leave without completing their purchase.

When this happens the Fabletics marketing team relies on a series of 6 automated emails that go out over the course of a one week period to bring the consumer back into the fold.

fabletics email automation chain

I know this because I took the lifestyle quiz on March 1st and purposefully did not complete checkout to see what their automated email flow was like. The marketing nerd in me loves doing stuff like this!

Let’s dive into Fabletics’ automated email workflow and see what we can learn for our own email marketing campaigns.

Email #1

The first email in the series came to me immediately after completing the lifestyle quiz, and it welcomes me to the Fabletics family.

fabletics welcome email

Let’s talk about some of the great marketing tactics put into practice in this email:

  • Celebrity endorsement – Fabletics was founded by Kate Hudson, a stylish celebrity, so the email leads with a picture of her talking about the company.
  • Features a dog – Marketing research has shown that consumers trust dogs; they are man’s best friend after all. Companies like Budweiser, IKEA, Subaru, KLM, and Fabletics have all used dogs in marketing to capture the heart (and dollars) of consumers.
  • Mentions the deal – The special offer, of 2 leggings for $24, for first-time customers, cannot be missed in this email. It’s in the preview text at the top of the email and in extra large font in the body copy.
  • Expands the offer – The email sweetens the deal for first-time customers by also offering “50% off everything else” and “free shipping too.” These supporting promotions make the whole offer very hard to resist to someone interested in athleisure!

All of that said, some consumers may still not yet be ready to pull out their wallet. That’s why Fabletics sends out a follow-up email 90 minutes later!

Email #2

The second email in the marketing automation series gets straight to the point with the headline reiterating the new customer special of 2 for $24 leggings.

Screenshot of Fabletics email #2

In the welcome email of this series, the special offer was mentioned in fine print in the preview text but was below the fold in the main portion of the email. Here in the first follow-up email, we see the special front and center, above the fold, which is great to see.

We also see two models wearing Fabletics clothing that reflect the target audience for the company (young, athletic, and stylish). This reinforces that Fabletics is the brand for you if you are also young, athletic, and stylish. While a celebrity endorsement is powerful, it’s also powerful to see yourself represented in an ad.

Still some people may be on the fence about parting with their hard earned money. Fabletics sends a third automated email to those people encouraging them to take advantage of their special offer.

Email #3

The third email in the series is sent the following day and begins to create a sense of urgency. You can see both the preview text for the email as well as the header graphic use the words “final hours” to describe the special offer coming to an end.

 

They also try to help take away “choice paralysis” by focusing the consumer on one specific type of legging that is highly rated by other customers. Choice paralysis occurs when a consumer is presented with too many product options and then just abandons the purchase. This could easily happen to someone shopping from Fabletics since they offer many different styles of leggings.

Email 4

The fourth email in the automated series is sent the next day and offers a brand new, exclusive offer of 70% off anything. This is the type of offer that any serious shopper interested in athleisure would have trouble turning down.

screenshot of fabletics email #4

To once again combat choice paralysis, Fabletics offers a list of popular items, benefits, and a customer testimonial.

screenshot of fabletics email showing top product options

They also include a section where you can see real customers, instead of models, in the Fabletics clothing.

screenshot of fabletics email showing customers in their clothing

This is a powerful selling tool because customers can hesitate from buying a product thinking, “that looks great on the model but might not look so good on me.”

Email 5 

About twenty-four hours later Fabletics sends another email that once again creates urgency by using a subject line saying that the offer “ends tomorrow.”

screenshot of offer ends tomorrow email

The email adds social proof by letting the consumer know that 1.4 million other people are currently customers of Fabletics, so they can purchase with confidence knowing others like the brand.

Finally, they share easy to shop collections for the different customer persona types they engage with most. For example, they have a collection for Mat Mavens:

screenshot of mat maven collection of products in email

As well as a collection for Cardio Cravers:

screenshot of cardio craver collection in email

This once again addresses the choice paralysis option that Fabletics must feel many of their would-be customers face given their extensive product lineup.

Email 6

The final email in the automated series reinforces the primary offer of receiving 2 leggings for $24 (plus receiving 50% off everything else).

Urgency is once again expressed by telling the consumer to “Hurry” because the offer “ends tonight!” in the subject line.

The email ends with reminding the recipient of the primary benefits of shopping with the brand: 2 for $24 leggings, 50% off everything else, and free shipping.

screenshot of fabletics final offer email

The automated email series ends here, which makes sense because Fabletics has done their best to win over a new customer.

They started with an amazing offer of 2 for $24 leggings, upped the ante by offering a 70% off discount, helped the consumer find the right products for her lifestyle, and followed up five times over the course of a week.

At this point, if the consumer hasn’t joined she isn’t likely to take action anytime soon. Fabletics recognizes this and stops the email series so that they don’t end up sending a bunch of unopened emails that could potentially end up marked as spam, thus hurting their sender rating.

Key Takeaways

After reviewing the entire Fabletics automated email series there are a few key learnings we can take away for our own campaigns:

  • When a consumer takes the time to engage with your brand and provides an email address, earn the sale by sending an email with a special offer
  • If your first offer doesn’t convince the consumer to buy, try a different offer to get her in the door
  • Help address choice paralysis by making product recommendations
  • Leverage your existing customers to create social proof by using their pictures and testimonials
  • Don’t annoy consumers by bombarding them with emails forever – engage them frequently when they show interest, but then back off if that interest wanes

Now it’s time to put these tips into action. Your time to shine is coming, start preparing an outline for your own automated email campaign and then execute!

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