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Making long form email newsletters work: When a lot of information is a good thing


For a collective of talented artists like buyolympia.com, it’s easy to keep the interest of their current customers. The site houses everything from books to hand-screened shirts to hand-made wallets. The diversity of offerings, though, could be a potential issue when they send out their monthly e-newsletter. Thankfully, they do it with style and smarts.

Loyal customers are an easy target.

Whether a customer latches on to one specific artist or follows many, the interest in buyolympia.com’s products doesn’t usually wane. This works to the company’s advantage in a lot of ways. Having a loyal base of customers gives you more freedom for using heavy images and featuring lots of products. Most likely, they are accustomed to receiving this email, and therefore have turned on the images. Additionally, they are familiar with the diverse inventory, and expect to see a large range of products highlighted.

Keep the content fresh.

What I like about these emails is that I’m seeing something new every time. The opening copy always mentions new artists or new products from existing artists, with links that take me straight there. In this issue, they also make a quick mention of the upcoming holidays and a suggestion that customers think of the site for gifts. Also, each little section, devoted specifically to one artist on the site, features what’s new; there’s never anything I’ve already seen or read about in previous e-newsletters.

Don’t oversaturate. It’s obnoxious.

When a company has this many brands and a consistently changing scope of products, it’s tempting for them to send out communications on a frequent basis. Buyolympia.com is smart. They send out their e-newsletter only once a month. There are no other emails sent out in between. So each month, customers are treated to fresh, new products, and buyolympia.com is effectively put back on their radar.

Don’t talk outside of your brand.

Buyolympia.com has a very casual and fun voice. Though they represent many different artists and art forms, the branding is distinct and consistent. This carries through in their email copy. It’s descriptive, light and on brand. Plus, the click-through links for each product are unique and inviting, like the one for Nate Manny’s shirts: “You Know You Will Wear It.”

Encourage customers to pay it forward.

The one criticism I would have of this lovely newsletter is that there’s no option to send it on to a friend, or to recommend signing up. It would be great to have that capability, as I’m likely to forward this to friends who have similar taste, or who like supporting small-batch art forms.

Keep them excited by using exciting content.

In a nutshell, this email works on a lot of levels. It’s a clean design, the copy is a quick and fun read, and the content is a proven winner—fans of this site love to support it. Even if customers aren’t buying things on a monthly basis, it does a great job of showcasing a LOT of stuff. It’s a pleasure to see what’s new each month, to have clear direction on how to click through, and not to feel the pressure of too many emails. Though I am apt to delete most long-form emails that I receive, this is one that I will always open.

See the full email.