Practical Ecommerce

Email Case Study: Moosejaw Adds Personality to Email Messages

The challenge with an ongoing email program is that people are busy. Unless they have a need for your product or service, they aren’t necessarily going to open your email and purchase from you immediately. To stay relevant and keep email recipients engaged, some retailers are turning to clever brand positioning. This includes Moosejaw, the online retailer of outdoor gear.

In this article, I’ll review several email examples from Moosejaw. I’ll address how Moosejaw keeps email content fresh, so that recipients find value in opening and clicking through.

Keeping Recipients Engaged

Keeping your database fresh is vital to the overall health and deliverability of your emails. Major Internet service providers no longer look for spam trigger words in subject lines. They are going deeper, seeing if recipients are opening or clicking on emails from you. If not, then the message is likely to get “bulked” — delivered to the bulk or spam mail folder — over time. The lesson here is to keep recipients opening emails frequently enough so that you are getting into their inbox every time.

The emails from Moosejaw are very relevant — as well as funny, sarcastic and entertaining. The approach resonates with subscribers. Even if they don’t have an immediate need to purchase something, they do get value out of keeping up with the witty email messages from the retailer. In the example below, note how Moosejaw uses a misspelling to grab the readers and create a relationship that is candid and informal.

In this email, "Sale" is misspelled.

In this email, "Sale" is misspelled.

Changing up the Objective

Offering something of value and changing the overall objective of each email message is crucial. Presenting a similar discount each week with the same objective — to click and purchase — will become boring. Recipients will either unsubscribe or stop opening your emails.

Changing your objective each week will help keep your messages fresh. Cycle through different types of promotions: Contests, free items, events, or sales. Adding a personal touch about your company can also make recipients feel a bit more connected, encouraging growth on social media channels as well. In the example below, Moosejaw is communicating a twist on a clearance sale, where $2 of every sale is donated to charity.

This Moosejaw email promotes charities in Haiti.

This Moosejaw email promotes charities in Haiti.

Offering Value

Your customers are your livelihood. Offer them something in the way of value to make their life easier. In the below example, Moosejaw offers a free gift guide that has been produced by other customers, who suggest gifts of different values.

This email offers a gift guide with ideas from customers.

This email offers a gift guide with ideas from customers.


By giving your recipients a reason to open an email that is not just a solicitation, you increase the chances they will continually open emails from you. More importantly, you increase the likelihood that recipients will share with family, friends and colleagues.

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

Bio   •   RSS Feed


Sign up for our email newsletter

  1. Carlos Rivera August 10, 2012 Reply

    Email marketing ads are one of the toughest design challenges that I have come across. It is tricky to not overwhelm the customer with too many product photos, prices, or promotions. However, a warm and easy-to-read approach always seems like the best solution. Breathe!