Customer Spotlight: Hawaiian Isles’ Helpful Emails

As you know, the key to responses to your email marketing offers is a careful balance of helpful, relevant, interesting, entertaining, all-around saintly emails, written with the right audience in mind and tested for optimal performance.

Now, we could do the marketing-blog thing and throw that advice at you, wish you luck and go check our Twitter stream. But that’d leave you frustrated. So here, we’ll show you instead. A screenshot’s worth a thousand buzzwords, right?

One of our customers, Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee, really strikes the balance between helpful email content and relevant offers. And they’re not a huge intimidating company whose output you could never match. They’re a hardworking small business with an ideal email campaign.

So here I present for your perusal and inspiration:

A Month of Kona Emails

Day 1: Hawaiian Isles: Welcome to Our Newsletter

HI’s welcome email covers it all – sets expectations, requests whitelisting, invites feedback and provides an action to take (emailing questions).

Day 2: Hawaiian Isles: Brief Kona Coffee History

By describing the exotic locales of the coffee’s origin, HI’s not only educates its readers, it plays into the American culture code for shopping – reconnecting with life.

Day 5: Hawaiian Isles: Storage Tips

If customers don’t properly store their coffee, it may spoil quickly, giving the product a bad reputation. These tips keep the coffee fresh and delicious – good for the customer, good for the company.

Day 6: Bulk Sale on HCR!

After several informative messages, it’s time for an offer. HI keeps their recommendation simple and clear.

Day 8: Hawaiian Isles: Cleaning Tips

Like the storage tips, these cleaning instructions not only educate the customer, they keep the coffee tasting fresh.

Day 11: Hawaiian Isles: Brewing Tips

The same applies to the brewing tips – extra value, extra happy customers.

Day 13: Hawaiian Isles Email Newsletter: Island Chef’s Signature Series

Now that readers know how to care for their coffee, it’s time to offer them another chance to buy some. Framed as a signature series, it’s evident why this offer is special.

Day 14: Hawaiian Isles: All About Ground Coffee

Any readers who’ve ordered from the previous day’s broadcast can read up on some fun facts about their coffee while they wait for it to arrive in the mail.

Day 20: Hawaiian Isles Email Newsletter: 24 oz Big Bag Sale!

At this point, the follow up series is done, but subscribers still get weekly offers and sale alerts.

Day 27: Hawaiian Isles Email Newsletter – Double Your Kona Rewards Points!

They also get exclusive invitations and rewards, such as this offer for double reward points after a purchase.

Breaking It Down

So how are Hawaiian Isles’ emails so helpful? Well, they start by addressing this question:

“If you’re using my product (or service), what do you need to know to really get the best experience out of using this product or service?”

Then they answer the question that naturally follows, “What do you probably not know that, if you did, would lead you to buy more?”

There are a few things they can tweak to make their campaign even better, though:

  1. The intervals between emails are rather short. Spread out the follow ups, and appreciation for the helpful information will last longer. (Plus, what if I haven’t cleaned my coffee pot yet?)
  2. The design of the broadcasts and follow ups should match. It looks like HI started using a new template for their broadcasts and just hasn’t updated their follow up design yet.

Otherwise, HI shows an impressive level of thoughtfulness. Do you know of any other email campaigns that make you sit up and take notice?


  1. Tamala

    10/13/2011 12:23 pm

    This was great. Please share more! 🙂

  2. Rainer Fesel

    10/13/2011 2:00 pm

    I am impressed so far.

  3. A

    10/13/2011 4:58 pm

    some useful pointers

  4. Tiffany

    10/17/2011 2:41 am

    This is a really great campaign. I love their new format, but definitely agree that the info emails and the newsletters should match just to keep up with their branding.

    I’m a bit curious as to why they use such random intervals between the mails, bouncing up and down in the # of days between mails. I would think a constant number of days would be more effective in the long run. But I am definitely going to use this general format of sharing plenty of info and feeding in the offers to one of my own sites.


  5. Amanda Gagnon

    10/26/2011 2:08 pm

    Tiffany ~ Actually, I was observing the frequency of the emails as well, and it looks like the broadcasts do go out regularly on a weekly basis, and the follow ups are kept to within the first three weeks of sign up, starting out closer together when interest is higher and tapering off, which could work nicely.

    Glad you found the information useful, and good luck with your campaign!