The Hipster Email Marketing Handbook

Hipsters. They’re elusive, yet they’re everywhere. They defy definition, but you can often tell when you’ve spotted one. They’re an American sub-culture of fashion stereotypes that embraces what’s obscure and makes it cool, and they have plenty of inspiration for email marketing.

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Being “hipster” is often described as a state of mind: An independent attitude, vintage style, a sense of irony. Believe it or not, these pillars of Hipsterdom can improve your email marketing in engaging your subscribers.

Here are four ways to draw some inspiration, whether you’re into labels or not:

Indie Cred

If there’s one thing hipsters are known for, it’s their love of independent art, music, film and fashion. The more obscure, the better. Building indie cred is the first step in forging your hipster identity.

You probably don’t want your email campaign cloaked in obscurity. Instead, take the idea of building “cred” and apply it to your reputation as an email sender. Sender reputation is the indie cred of email marketing and it’s not measured in vinyl. Reputation is influenced by your list, complaints and how well your subscribers know and trust you.

Email Marketing Take-Away:

Build a good reputation and keep it that way by cleaning up your list and engaging your subscribers with relevant content.

Vintage Trends

For the hipster, Grandma’s closet is the cutting edge of fashion. It’s all about the vintage.

Vintage can also be the cutting edge of marketing. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer new and interesting ways to start conversations with your audience, but email is still the best way to build relationships that keep the conversation going.

The Be Relevant! blog indicates that email’s effectiveness is a matter of a passive versus active audience. Someone who takes the time to deliberately request information from you by filling out your web form is already more engaged in your brand than the passive Facebook “liker.”

Email Marketing Take-Away:

Integration with new media is good, but don’t abandon what works for you just to follow the next new trend. Sometimes old but proven is most effective.

A Sense of Irony

You don’t need a pair of horn rimmed glasses to embrace a hipster’s sense of irony. In your campaign, irony can mean doing things that might go against traditional marketing sense.

Smart Insights recently debunked standard advice on subject line length, the best time to send emails and what to do with inactive subscribers. What works well for one marketer might not make sense for your own campaign.

Could sending a plain text message grab your subscribers’ attention better than HTML? Or improve your reputation with a prominent unsubscribe link? Some marketers think so. The point is to test and do what makes sense for your subscribers, which may not always follow intuitive advice.

Email Marketing Take-Away:

Doing what makes sense for your campaign sometimes means going against popular advice. Use tested methods that bring you success, which might not always follow expert opinion.

Living in the Moment

A part of the hipster mindset is being present in the moment, living in the here and now. There’s not much thought for the future, it’s all about being here today.

Kind of like your subscribers.

Your subscribers’ time is valuable, leading to an emphasis on relevancy in your emails. Send content that matters to them to keep them engaged once you’ve captured their attention. We’ve offered some advice in the past on ways to keep your emails timely.

Relevance can increase loyalty and trust. The more you can offer content that speaks to your subscribers’ needs and interests, the more responsive they will be with their valuable time.

Email Marketing Take-Away:

Relevance and timeliness equal valuable content. Your subscribers are living in the moment, and so should your emails if you want to keep them engaged.

Going Mainstream

If you want to put a label on it, being hipster in your email marketing is about reputation, relationships, relevance and sometimes bucking trends to do what works.

Do you stick to the mainstream in your own campaigns or take a more indie-inspired approach? What works best for you?

One Comment

  1. kathrine bocsh

    7/8/2011 12:34 pm

    vintage trend and sense of irony are really amazing points shared and thanks for it