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A national magazine’s proven email marketing formula

What we learned from Garden & Gun

Kim Alexander leads digital marketing efforts for Garden & Gun.

Most email marketers fight a constant battle to attract and keep their audience’s attention. (Did you know that the average adult’s attention span is only 8 seconds? That’s less than that of a goldfish, friends.) 

Not Garden & Gun. The Southern lifestyle brand, anchored by its award-winning magazine, boasts a national audience of more than one million passionate and engaged readers. The G&G brand also has a vibrant online offering, including a blog, online store and email newsletter, Talk of the South. 

Kim Alexander, digital media editor for Garden & Gun, faces a different challenge: how to keep all those hungry goldfish, er, readers engaged with enough original content while also growing G&G’s audience. She turned to Emma.

“We are at heart a print publication, but we only print six times a year,” said Kim. “So we use email to stay in touch with our readers and drive traffic to our website.”


Never miss an opportunity to grow your list

The average email list will shrink by 30% every year, so it’s critical to find ways to continually grow your list. At G&G, a healthy email list has a direct effect on their bottom line. Kim explains, “We sell advertising space in our emails and offer advertisers the ability to create a sponsored edition of our newsletter, so our email list helps drive revenue.”

To increase their list, G&G collects email addresses across several platforms. They embed a signup form on every page of their website and blog, highlight Talk of the South in the magazine and give every new subscriber the option to opt-in.


Email design is part function, part form and all style

List growth is also about keeping your existing subscribers’ attention through relevant content and eye-catching design.

As an extension of their brand and magazine, Talk of the South provides subscribers with original, exclusive content each week. This not only increases the likelihood that their readers will open and click through to the website, but also that they will share it with potential new subscribers.

This poses a unique design challenge for G&G. They need to incorporate a healthy amount of content and reserve space for advertisers in an email that also meets the high-design standard that their magazine is known and loved for.

Until recently, Kim was the sole creator of G&G’s emails – and there are a lot of them – so she appreciates Emma’s customizable templates and custom design services.

“Emma really gets what our needs are which saves me a ton of time in creating emails that connect with our readers and look and feel very much on brand,” says Kim.


List growth + Great design = Results

Since partnering with Emma in 2011, G&G has grown their email list by nearly 40% and has open and clickthrough rates well above industry standard. Plus, traffic to their website quadruples after sending one of their emails. Now those are results that get your attention.


The takeaways

Know your audience. G&G has a highly engaged audience of readers that is hungry for new content. Because of this, G&G's emails are heavier on copy than most brand mailings. Don't be afraid to survey your audience and split test subject lines to identify their preferences. It'll help you enhance their experience and engagement with your brand.

Pay attention to list growth. Your email marketing is only as good as the quality of your list. Always look for opportunities to add subscribers by including a signup form across your brand's digital channels or by collecting email addresses at your store or events. Looking for more ideas to grow your list? We've got you covered.