February 21st, 2020

How to make image-only emails work with Bellroy

Bellroy is an accessories brand based in Australia making tech-friendly carry goods, including wallets, bags, pouches, and more.


📋 TL;DR key takeaways from this episode:

1. Switch up the verbiage in the CTA buttons that relate to the product. Instead of adding all “Shop Now” buttons, Bellroy uses “Tote it,” “Wear it,” “Work it.”

2. Make CTA text and images large enough to read on mobile. If the CTA appears next to the product image on mobile, center align the image and place the CTA below the image to make it responsive and effective.

3. Repetition in variation maintains visual ethics so everything in the email feels like it's connected. For example, if you’re using shadows in the product photography, then use shadows in the CTAs.

Matt Helbig: What's up, Rob Hope? Matthew Smith?

Rob Hope: How are you doing?

Matthew Smith: We're here with Rob Hope today from Email Love. We've already done one episode, and now we're onto our second with him and appreciate you being here, man. Thanks. 

Rob Hope: Yeah, thanks for having me, man. Like I'm enjoying the series. Learning something from every episode, so yeah, just grateful for the invite.

Matthew Smith: Fantastic. Yeah. Everybody check out Email Love. It's fantastic to have more people celebrating what's happening in emails. So let's dig into this email that you helped pick out. This is from Bellroy. Why don't you tell us a little bit about it? 

Rob Hope: So when I first saw this email, obviously this, it says a lot about their product. It's just the photography is gorgeous. How they mix this sort of handwritten script fonts—arrows pointing in over the products, the shadows, making them everything pop out. love the design. I love it.

But the biggest thing for me where there's this call to actions, these actionable text "store it," "work it." This is a big statement, and I feel it's a bit of a masterclass in switching up your call to action buttons.

Big fan, and then, yeah, just their palette. The orange from the Bellroy reused perfectly throughout makes also that little handwritten fonts stick out. These great tones, the overlapping images like you've seen here, it's just a great looking email. Obviously there's a lot of images here used, not a lot of live text, but I feel like, it's remarkable the people subscribing, I mean, they could you go as far as saying they expect it and they just want to see beautiful product imagery. 

Matt Helbig: Lots of going on in this email.

Matthew Smith: Matt Helbig, what do you think? 

Matt Helbig: The all image thing is a bummer, but when you have these product shots and this gorgeous photography, you want to use images. So, I mean, this one stands out to me. If I got it in my inbox, I want to open it and check it out. This one has been one of our favorites too. Especially this header, the simplicity and use of color is nice. I'm not sure how I feel about the little shadows under the CTA or not. I think I like them?

Rob Hope: Old school, so old school.

Matt Helbig: I think in general is this one's pretty good. But I think the biggest thing for us has been that mobile view. The CTAs are scaling down small and might be hard to click on or tap on or something.

Overall, this one's pretty good, but I think they could maybe make it even better. 

Matthew Smith: Yeah, I agree. I think the way I would describe it is this is next level effective, great typographical design. It has all the right design system qualities—the design pattern. We talked last episode about design golf.

They did an excellent job of keeping their consistent design language very clear. Here's a heading, here's a subheading, here's the body text, here's the CTA, here's this little doodad. Trying to give you a sense of what's powerful in the image, boom, repeat it, boom, repeat it.

They've got all of these qualities that the design feels right. It's interesting. They have shadows here. I guess that they've used shadows in their photography, so they're doing what I call a repetition and variation within a design and maintaining that visual ethic.

So it feels connected. Everything feels like it's part of the same family, and that works well. That said, technically speaking, this needs improvement. So, for instance, this works right upfront. I can't read, "wallets, bags, accessories, and new releases" on mobile. I know that it's here.

But my eyes aren't fantastic. These glasses that I wear, man, I need them desperately. Even the text down here where it says, "set yourself up" the subtext. It's getting small. Again, I understand why people do this, but this is not difficult to find yourself having a template that allows for live text.

This is an image here, up top, but this could easily be live here, and then it can scale, and it can be responsive in email. Then the other thing would be, instead of having this be a side by side here, the opportunity is, you could keep it side by side, but make the image slightly smaller. But I think the image is one of the most important things here.

So if it were me, I would center align the image here, and then put tech kit and everything down below it. And even if you made it images, you still could make that responsive. Where that part comes down below and stays larger, and that would be much more effective. The ROI on this is. If we make an email responsive, do we get a better effect?

It doesn't make sense for people to like us to talk about cool ideas. Wouldn't that be neat to be responsive? That doesn't, who cares? Right. The point is, like, does it drive business? Which is what this person is trying to do, what this group is trying to do, and consistently we see that it does.

When you cumulatively do all these little things. They add up to higher return on investment, which gets people great gear and drives business. And so I think that's the thing that I would call out here, is there are some ways that they could improve this email to be much more effective.

But I do think from an email strategy design perspective, this is top 5% easily and really impressive. So thanks for bringing this to bear. 


You're in! Welcome to the family

Rob Hope: Just the context of the send as well as interesting because I think this is early January and they've like announced five products here, which are broad, covering their whole range.

We've got your tech kits, these backpacks, wallets, work gear. I quite like the timing of it because now in your subconscious being planted, their range. You're thinking of an upcoming birthday of a friend or even for yourself because the work year has come in, but you now are reminded that like, you know what?

Bellroy just covered it all. If I'm looking for something, I'm probably going to go to Bellroy first. I just quite liked the selection of products in this reminder email. 

Matthew Smith: That's well said. When you brought that up, another thing that caught my eye as we scrolled through here is that they do an excellent job showing all of the product lines they have. It's a perfect time of year to do that.

But also these are the things that I care about when I'm shopping. How long is this going to last and what do you guarantee about it? How quickly can it get to me? Can I make a decision like, Oh, this didn't work out after all, without it being a pain in the ass and like knowing about customer experience.

A lot of times when I start shopping online, I immediately try and find like I'm doing a find for returns and just to call this out is such a service to me. So I love that. What do you all think about these little doodads here at the bottom? Are they catching your interest? Are you reading them?

Rob Hope: I don't know what you asking me to do at that point. We talk about stay connected. my Bellroy. There's too many things to do in this email. I feel like as a reminder email in our product, it's keep it simple and even this footer, it's really busy. Social icons at the bottom. It's a repetition of what you've just said in the first column. with "stay connected".

If anything, I would end the email with a testimonial or something from like someone who I can relate to, like maybe an owner of an agency and he's like, when it comes to thinking of new products for my team, Bellroy is the first place I look at it, I mean, and then I would probably in the testimonial is just highlight one of the things here.

So "three-year warranty" or the "fast shipping" or the "easy returns". So then maybe he talks about the fast shipping, or something like that. Just a highlight of a feature. Strong testimonial to end it off. Clean. Done. 

Matthew Smith: I like that man. That's some good thinking. 

Matt Helbig: I would check out some other sends, too, cause I feel like their cadence is perfect.


Day 30. What’s happened so far?

When you first get into their product, they send a few welcome emails, and then if you purchase a product, they send some followup ones. So I think this is a brand to watch. I liked their use of color and branding. It makes each of their emails kind of stand out from each other too.

Rob Hope: Beautiful. 

Matthew Smith: Brilliant. Cool, cool. Well, happy Friday, everybody. Happy Friday, email geeks, and keep those submissions coming. We are working on some features, which we'll let people know a little more clearly when they've are not accepted. Why? So we know that's a big ask. Thanks for all your patience as we continue to work on this project. We appreciate everybody.

Chow chow. Talk soon. 

Matt Helbig: Bye.


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