Email marketing is a great way to grow customer relationships. But what does an effective email look like? In this article, guest author Kyle McLean shares an example of good email marketing—including tips to craft your own campaigns—through an examination of one of his favorite pizza shops.
Pizza Matador is a San Francisco Bay Area pizza company with a twist — it doesn’t have a physical storefront. Started by two longtime pizza delivery drivers, the company serves a narrow range of zip codes and specializes in a small selection of half-baked pizzas with high-quality, local ingredients. Their tapered focus looks like it’s paying off. At the time of this writing, the business is rated 5 stars and 4.9 stars on Yelp and Google Reviews, respectively.
However, while their delicious pizza is worth writing about, it’s the way that Pizza Matador markets itself that truly deserves applause. Since customers pay tips in advance when they order and drivers often leave the pizzas on their porch, the company must rely on its website, customer reviews, and email marketing campaigns to stay in touch with existing customers and win over new ones.
As I’m a regular customer, I’ve spent the last few years admiring how Pizza Matador communicates with me. After looking through my inbox, I’ve noticed a few angles they use in their messaging — many that marketers and business owners can use to improve their own campaigns.
In this article we’ll examine how Pizza Matador emails their customers without annoying or overly salesy messages so you can do the same with yours. They write concise plugs, tie their product to current events, and focus on their customers’ interests so their emails are welcome and relevant.
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As a regular customer of Pizza Matador, I do care when they’ve cooked up a limited-time, seasonal offering or have a change to their business, like an expanded delivery area. One of the themes they lead with in their emails is simply letting their customers know whenever they have something new.
However, what sets this apart is how well written each email is. They are enjoyable, concise plugs, not a boring pitch. Look at the write-up below (picture of pizza at the top of the email omitted).
Subject line: Prosciutto and Shiitake
Prosciutto & Shiitake
We know that many of you absolutely love the shiitake mushroom pizza- and for some folks it can’t get any better. For others, however, the addition of prosciutto takes this delicious combination over the top.
Add a nice bottle of hearty California wine and the rich flavors of this recipe become umami heaven. Yum! But make sure to order before 2pm because this pizza will mostly be available for pre-order only.
Voila! New product offering and a short email to match. Take note of how little wasted space there is. A simple subject line that at the least lets the reader know Matador has a new pizza. The first sentence identifies this new menu item as the extra step for mushroom pizza lovers. Then the message moves on to suggest a great pairing (wine) and a call to action that stresses a limited quantity (pre-order only).
That’s a quick description of what prosciutto shiitake pizza is, who it’s ideal for, a pairing you could try/preview of its flavor profile, and a strong call to action in just 71 words. It doesn’t waste the reader’s time, increasing the chance the full message will be read.
Lastly, it’s focused entirely on the customer — it fires off a few quick benefits of buying without dwelling too much on the company that sells it. This email doesn’t wreak of a sales pitch itching to be moved to the trash folder or marked as spam. A lesser form of email marketing, for example, would see this email written around how Pizza Matador dove into what was missing in their product line or how they could improve their mushroom pizza and how they’ve now come up with this wonderful new offering for their customers. That would be a harder sell and a less compelling story.
They’ve used the same technique to announce other seasonal favorites, like asparagus and pancetta, and also to let me know when they started accepting Google Pay.
Translating this to your business — make sure that, when you have new product or service offers, you send them to your customers in a quick, engaging format that is focused on the customer. Lead with the strongest point(s) and stop. Including your weaker value propositions is unnecessary and could make the message get discarded. And don’t forget to close with a strong, clear call to action.
P.S. You don’t have to go at it alone! Zak & Zu marketing offers a wide variety of email marketing services, where we can help you sharpen your email strategy, craft engaging campaigns, implement email automation, and more to grow your customer relationships.
Tie the product to current events
Pizza is a go-to food for parties, and Pizza Matador understands this well. One of the creative ways they reach out to customers is by checking in at relevant times to consider ordering.
For example, here’s our next email marketing example, which was sent on the day of the Academy Awards.
Subject Line: Get your pre-orders in for the Academy Awards!
Get your pre-orders in for the Academy Awards!
Well, there’s no host, and apparently they have a penchant for giving the trophy to the wrong person, but, hey, it’s still the biggest night in show biz!
So if you’re planning on going Matador while watching the Oscar’s tonight, we suggest that you place your orders before 2PM.
Days like this can get a little crazy.
Like the previous example, the subject line can do the plug all on its own, in case the email is skimmed, and the message is to the point. The tone, especially at the introduction, is light and conversational. The call to action at the end starts with, “So if you’re planning on going Matador,” which softly suggests a sale by making the customer aware that it’s hard for the company to fill orders on Academy Awards day over an off-putting hard sell like “order now, pizzas selling out fast.”
It also reaches out with something locally or nationally relevant, much like how people break the ice with talking about the weather. This makes the email read like a tip from a friend rather than a sales pitch from a company.
Other event-related subject lines Pizza Matador has used in the past include “Get your pre-orders in on a rainy Friday” or “Get your pre-orders in for Game 1 of the Warriors’ Playoffs!” (the local basketball team).
In your email marketing campaigns, take advantage of current events to deliver timely messages that resonate with your customers here and now.
Put the focus on customer interests
Sometimes Pizza Matador will send an email based on customer interests rather than an announcement or tie-in. The example below is about their ingredients.
Subject line: A Few Words on Ingredients
A Few Words on Ingredients
Generally speaking, pizza restaurants don’t list the ingredients of their dough. It’s not because they have a secret recipe, we suspect, but because their recipe contains ingredients that they’d probably like to keep secret.
If we’re curious, however, we can look to a popular pizza dough sold in local “healthy-food” markets to see what is commonly included in such recipes:
Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, soybean oil, vegetable mono and diglycerides with ascorbic acid and dextrose (corn), salt, yeast, l-cysteine (vegetarian).
Yes, we all consume such ingredients on occasion, as it’s usually hard to avoid them. But those aren’t exactly the type of foods one might find inside an old wooden cupboard out in the Italian countryside.
What’s inside Matador dough, on the other hand?
extra-virgin olive oil
That’s it. All good stuff. All stuff that your great-great-grandmother would have used to make bread.
Also, if you’re curious, this is what’s inside our tomato sauce:
extra-virgin olive oil
No sugar. No fake oils. No modern inventions. And, to top it off, we still cost less than the competition.
Our pizzas are our passion. We hope that you, and your family, enjoy the simple, natural, ingredients that go into them.
This email takes a longer form than the previous examples. It’s a piece of branding moreso than a specific product pitch. It’s of interest to Pizza Matador customers because it’s based around their concerns. One of the drawbacks to ordering pizza can be how unhealthy some ingredients are, and ordering from a business that doesn’t have a storefront could turn some people off as to what’s in the pie.
The write-up here overcomes those objections by contrasting what you generally find in a pizza – such as preservatives – with the purity in Pizza Matador’s product. However, it doesn’t lead with that at all. It starts with a little story about typical pizza ingredients and by the end highlights the difference in theirs.
Now, how does this apply to you? Like Pizza Matador, there should be room in your email marketing campaigns for the occasional piece of branding and/or an email that addresses customer questions or concerns. Think about FAQs your customers have or problems they encounter and how you meet them with your product or service. Then craft a similar message as this and find a place for it between your announcements and tie-ins.
In addition to making tasty pies, Pizza Matador understands how to communicate with customers. When they send an email, they draw a quick and relevant connection between their pizza and why they’re reaching out. They don’t overstay their welcome in my inbox as they are enjoyable to read and the perfect length. They take advantage of local or national events or respond to customer-centered concerns to keep in contact and nurturing toward sales.
Have fun using this breakdown of Pizza Matador’s email marketing best practices in your business to send with confidence.
And if you know another good example of email marketing campaigns, share it with us in the comments down below!