An E-mail Example To Emulate

How do you organically grow a list to over 1 million subscribers? Daily Candy did it by delivering an exceptional e-mail user experience, staying 100 percent true to the brand and ignoring standard success metrics. There's a lesson here for your e-mail program, regardless of your audience or product.

I first learned about Daily Candy as most do: from a friend. I was traveling to New York and wanted to know where to find those hidden treasures only insiders know about. My friend introduced me to the brainchild of Dany Levy, who began by sharing tips with her friends via personal e-mail. Daily Candy now has publications in eight cities, as well as national, kids, travel and deals editions.

I continue to subscribe to Daily Candy, even though there is no Milwaukee edition (imagine!), because it is such a good example of effective e-mail marketing. What do they do right?

Copy. Each Daily Candy has a distinctive voice that is witty, entertaining and irreverent. CEO Pete Sheinbaum explains how the company achieves this goal with so many editions and writers in the mix: "We invest the time and effort to train people in the Daily Candy way. Maintaining a consistent voice is a corporate mandate."



It's a team effort. Each article is touched by three to five staffers to ensure consistency and fidelity to the Daily Candy voice, while recognizing that "we can't please everyone."

Creative. Each e-mail contains original watercolor art--no stock or "make it work" photos. The same artist has been creating the Daily Candy look for over six years, so the look and feel is consistent, even though the visual elements are new for each e-mail. Visuals support the brand and reflect the audience. Characters are stylish and interesting, but accessible. The candy elements are never too sweet.

Content. Daily Candy principals consider themselves publishers, not marketers, so the focus is on providing quality content in an entertaining way. They know that to serve their audience, they have to uncover information that can't be found elsewhere. This is achieved by developing a pool of freelance resources in each market. A strict policy against paid inclusion ensures that the focus is on the reader, not the advertiser.

Editorial and sales departments are integrated at Daily Candy. Editors work with advertisers to develop messages the Daily Candy team knows will resonate with their audience, rather than filling in blanks on the media buyer's spreadsheet. While demand for Daily Candy ads exceeds supply, it is limited in order to be "careful with the user experience."

While enjoying response in "multiples of industry standards," the focus is on the brand, not on the numbers. Delivery is monitored by subscribers who complain if they don't get their Daily Candy. One million loyal subscribers, built through word of mouth and a single-minded devotion to the brand. Now there's an e-mail program to emulate.

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