Email Marketing Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, there was an email marketer who

fairy tale book

Once upon a time, there was an email marketer who knew he could do more. He had a sign up form on his website and a great-looking email template designed. He sent out a monthly newsletter to his entire email list, and even had a couple of follow up messages created. But his list just wasn’t growing as quickly as he wanted. And he wasn’t making any sales. He knew he had the basics down but thought to himself, “If only I knew how I could do better!”

Just before Halloween, he found a dusty old book of email marketing fairy tales on the very last bookshelf of the very last room of his local library. He took it home and carefully read each story as they contained important morals to be learned…

Goldilocks And The Three Emails

Goldilocks enjoyed shopping online, especially for gifts. With her mother’s birthday coming up, she set out to find the perfect handmade sweater her mother would love. Goldilocks visited three websites and didn’t purchase anything, but she did sign up for emails from each site and hoped she’d be notified when new sweaters were made. The very next day, three messages were waiting in her inbox.

The first two websites had sent emails announcing sales on all sorts of other winter garments. Hats, gloves, scarves. Everything but sweaters. Goldilocks deleted these email right away. Then she opened the email from the third website. It introduced their brand new line of women’s sweaters, with each one lovelier than the last. Goldilocks excitedly chose one, ordered it and scheduled delivery for her mother’s birthday.

Email Marketing Moral: Sending targeted, relevant emails your customers want makes them very happy.

What You Can Do: First, design your sign up form to include some custom fields where you can collect personalized subscriber information. Then, segment your subscribers into groups based on their preferences. Finally, send emails directly to those groups with only the information you know they want to hear about.

The Three Little Pizzerias

The three Pigg brothers each owned their own pizzeria in a small college town. And they constantly competed with each other for customers. With homecoming weekend approaching, they each knew this could mean huge crowds and lots of business.

Andy Pigg drafted a quick email announcing his restaurant’s specials. He realized after it sent that he forgot to include his coupon. Bob Pigg also promoted his restaurant with an email though he hadn’t sent anything to his subscribers in a long time. Many of his emails bounced back to him. But Carl Pigg was calm and prepared. For his restaurant, he carefully constructed a series of emails on his most popular template design. He created a new sign up form for his website so he’d be ready for new customers. He also sent himself test messages to make sure everything looked good.

And on homecoming weekend while his brothers’ restaurants sat empty, Carl Pigg’s loyal customers brought in lots of family and friends. Carl’s business was busier than ever, and he even gained new subscribers – and fans – by directing new customers to the brand new sign up form on his site.

Email Marketing Moral: Hard work and planning ahead are the fundamentals of (email marketing) success.

What You Can Do: Make sure you’re prepared by planning out your emails and testing everything. Beforehand, test your sign up forms and broadcast messages so you’ll be ready to use the best versions. Also, preview and test all of your emails before you send them out to make sure they’ve got everything you want to include, all links are working properly and your messages look great.

Hansel And Gretel’s Gourmet Gingerbread Houses

Hansel and Gretel had a small store called “Gretel’s Gourmet Gingerbread Houses.” To increase business, Hansel decided it was time to start email marketing. He wanted as many subscribers as he could get. So he promised lots of free things on his sign up form: a free gingerbread house, a free ebook on the history of gingerbread, free tips and tools on creating houses. And since his email subject lines promised they’d be included, people would open and read his messages. But when they did, they’d see they could only get free items with a purchase.

Lots of subscribers signed up but didn’t stay on Hansel’s list for very long. They also marked many of his emails as spam, which blocked them from getting into other people’s inboxes. So Gretel took over and changed their strategy. She removed the false offers from the sign up form but kept the free ebook, which she actually sent when someone joined the list. And her email subject lines announced only what the messages really contained. Subscribers stay engaged, and sales began to climb.

Email Marketing Moral: Earn trust by only making promises you’ll keep.

What You Can Do: Starting with your sign up form, be truthful about what your subscribers will get. If you’ll be sending advice, or notifications of special sales, let them know. To get more subscribers, consider creating an incentive but make sure you deliver. And don’t make false promises in your email subject lines either. If you want more opens, try optimizing your messages instead.

And The Email Marketer?

He paid close attention to all of the morals and implemented everything he learned. His business grew by leaps and bounds. And his email marketing campaign lived happily ever after.

What Morals Have You’ve Learned From Your Campaign?

Do you have lessons your email marketing has taught you? Any tried-and-true tricks that you had to learn the hard way? Leave a comment and share them with us below.



  1. Emily

    10/29/2013 9:45 am

    Thank you for these fairy tales, they’re priceless! 🙂 I enjoyed your stories enough that I’m going to have to incorporate a little bit of your style into what I write.

  2. Mark Madere

    10/29/2013 4:01 pm

    Well written Rachel. You just proved that fairy tales can come true… with the right effort!

  3. Adam Morgan

    10/29/2013 4:45 pm

    Rachel, I really enjoyed the teaching style you used in this post. I have some work to do, when it comes to segmentation. 🙂

  4. Carol Bentley

    10/30/2013 5:59 am

    Brilliant story-telling Rachel! A fresh way of delivering important email marketing advice.

    May I share this article on my blog? With a credit and link to you of course- I know my readers would love it.

  5. Dare

    10/30/2013 7:52 am

    Hi Rachel,

    You are a damn good writer, orchestrating and infusing storytelling with marketing tutorial lesson.

    I absolutely agree with the two below morals:

    1. Sending targeted, relevant emails your customers want makes them very happy.

    2. Earn trust by only making promises you?ll keep.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Randall Magwood

    11/1/2013 11:36 pm

    Great post Rachel. The morals definitely stick out. I’m a traditional email marketer, but these 3 insights have inspired me to do more with my email marketing efforts.

  7. Rachel Acquaviva

    11/4/2013 4:05 pm

    Thanks, everyone – I’m glad that you enjoyed this post!

    Carol, you may certainly share a link to the post, or an excerpt from it, on your blog. I hope your readers learn some valuable email marketing lessons from these stories!

  8. cesar cipres

    11/8/2013 10:40 pm

    This make sense just follow the rigth steps and people like you guys

  9. nikmoon

    11/10/2013 10:35 am

    So many thanks for such a kind pleasing post. I got some important tips.

  10. Ivan Widjaya

    11/12/2013 9:54 pm

    Really nice way of relating e-mail marketing to fairy tales. It makes it more interesting to read. We e-mail marketers can learn from this so we can craft exciting stories for our subscribers. I learned a lot from this. In the end, it is all about right targeting.

  11. Jolie Cameron

    11/25/2013 2:32 am

    I honestly appreciate your blog.The blog gives valuable information on E-mail Marketing.

  12. Rishikesh Somshetti

    11/30/2013 2:07 pm

    Rachel, many people think that just putting/buying a list, getting a designer to make a email template is all that s needed to make campaign successful. You have set them all thinking!

  13. BeyonceJustice

    12/2/2013 2:23 am

    Great review on Email Marketing Fairy Tales.