Need’s Email Marketing Gets 80% Open Rate

Need’s logo

Need’s logo

Some email marketers have told me that you have to sell cheap with incredible discount rates to make sales with email marketing. I hear things like, “Open rates are very low these days, no matter what business you are in. For email to pay off, you need to make special offers or you’ll lose customers fast.”

Here’s a successful business that flies in the face of such nonsense.

“Men need not shop for fashionable wears,” is what Matt Alexandar’s Need is telling us. His curated shopping for men is taking off, with $500,000 raised in its seed round. Sales are good and engagement with customers via email marketing continues to out-perform the competition—with a cool twist. Need doesn’t sell at a discount, and they send members 1 email a month. Catherine Shu at TechCrunch:

“The result is that we have an enormous open rate (80% as opposed to an industry average of 12%), an enormous number of repeat customers, and a growing user base of tens of thousands per month. (In December, for example, we sold out within 20 minutes of sending our monthly email),” says Alexander.

Need treats their customers with exceptional respect. They serve them a limited selection of wears that are carefully chosen to appeal to their tastes as well as their appreciation for top quality goods.

But I think the secret sauce for the company is the incredible attention to minimalism in their identity and products. Need’s style has a sophisticated and mature color palette with a hint of tradition and adventure that feels lively yet relaxed. This is reflected in their content on their site, and the frequency of their emails.

They treat their products as limited editions (which they are) and take the time to appreciate them for a month before adding to the collection. They have the feel of a polished magazine on their sites. They embody modern web standards, such as highly readable layout and responsive design. Their brand has a voice, an old-fashioned camera, and professional design sensibility.

The next time someone tells you to bombard customers with email marketing—sell cheap, fast, and trivial products to suckers—then they are missing out on better business practices. Need is a shining example of what email marketing can do.

Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.