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From May 7th, 2018

Lessons Learned from Peloton’s Email Team

An Interview with Emily Rusch, Email Marketing Manager and Matthew Culbreth, Senior Designer, about Peloton's email strategy.


Before we talked with the Peloton team, what really stood out to us what how well they’d designed their emails. The transition from inbox to every other platform is visually seamless — and we’re always impressed with that kind of attention to detail.

Peloton’s emails aren’t just a pretty face, though. Their products may be designed to pump you up, but chatting with Emily and Matt, we learned how well they use email to keep the energy high even after a work out. From effective reengagement campaigns, using email to trigger social interactions, and segmenting class preferences into the most relevant info for members, they’re definitely on point across all aspects of their email game.

What are some of the most successful ways you’ve used email to interact with your customers?

We measure the success of an email through traditional email metrics (open rate, click-to-open, unsubscribe rate, and read rate) as well as if the recipient goes even further to engage with Peloton outside of the email inbox.

Our members are extremely engaged with their friends and favorite instructors on the Peloton Bike and App. Email has allowed us to engage with and support our community in other meaningful ways. First, by personalizing our emails with content that’s specifically relevant to our members, like weekly workout schedules and monthly activity recap emails. We also use list segmentation and triggered sends for things like local showroom events and our onboarding series to ensure all members are getting a tailored experience.

The first email in our onboarding series is an instructor quiz that goes out to members while they wait for their Peloton Bike to arrive. With an average 48% click-to-open rate, we are able to provide members with engaging content that will keep them excited about receiving their bike as well as guiding them to the best first-ride experience possible.

What is the hardest part of designing for fitness? How do you think that it differs from other industries? What are your unique challenges?

We think of ourselves as fitness powered in equal parts by technology and community, and we want to deliver on this promise in our work — by immersing our members, and potential members, in how the Peloton experience feels like. We also want to use technology to bring our members together and celebrate their achievements.

These features allow us to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the fitness industry, but they do introduce new communication challenges for us as a brand. Onboarding our members is a priority for us. Since their experience is only just beginning with the delivery of their Bike, we created a series of emails that helps guide our members through everything their Bike can do and all the different types of content we offer in order to make sure they get the most out of their experience.

Peloton emails really stand out with their visual design and imagery. Do you feel like it’s been worth the effort to build something that so nicely matches your brand?

About two years ago, we took a look at all of our emails across our different channels and wanted to see if there was a way we could both consolidate them visually, and push ourselves to improve the design experience overall, while getting our emails to feel more elevated. We also wanted to create a system of responsive elements that could be used across all our emails in various ways to give ourselves maximum flexibility.


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One of main things we wanted to do was to match our emails as much as possible to our existing design guidelines for web. Regardless of whether our members are viewing our emails from their phones or laptops, we wanted to make sure that no image, headline, or body text appears too large (or too small) in any context.

We created responsive components with device-specific sizing and spacing built in that we could then use across our email ecosystem. Building out these reusable components allows us to display multiple types of content while maintaining design consistency, and helps us avoid surprises when we test our emails across all devices and email clients.

By creating this design system, we were able to both create a better experience for our members, and increase member engagement. Since 2017, we’ve consistently achieved better performance than consumer product and technology industry benchmarks.

How do you segment the customer list?

We look at workout data: what type of ride that you do, do you ride in the morning or evening, the days of week you like to ride, etc. We use the workout history to try to send people the most relevant information to them. Then we also look at how long you’ve been a Peloton member, if you’ve used the Peloton app, if you’ve ridden the bike at one of our commercial locations.

What are some of your most successful strategies for retention and engagement?

Some examples of triggered campaigns we have for retention are what we call our Peloversary — when you’ve been a Peloton Member for a year, we send you an email. And that performs really well, people share on Facebook, and are really excited about it. We also have what we call our century club. When you reach 100 rides, you get a badge on the bike that is your century club badge and then you also get a free t-shirt. For that, there’s a triggered email that goes out once you’ve hit 100 rides and there’s a code to redeem the t-shirt.

We also have what we call Official Peloton Member Page which is a closed Facebook group, with over 80,000 people and it’s constantly growing. It’s the most active community we’ve ever seen. People are incredibly dedicated; helping each other. Seeing that trend, and knowing how people are clearly on Facebook and interacting with this page, we’ve added “share to Facebook” from our email.

Have you run any tests that have proven valuable for actionable change, like any small changes that you’ve kept in your emails that made significant impact in retention, quick through, or service developed customers?

One thing that we introduced almost a year and a half ago, is adding a cross-sell to many of our emails. So, you’ll see them normally in scheduled emails — if we’re launching a Boutique collection or we have a new feature or a new instructor, something like that. It has been really helpful, especially I think in the “Your Weekly Schedule” email. We have a visual further down (past the intro copy), and we tie that to the intro copy, and it really grounds what we’re trying to say. We’re also very conscious of how many emails we send to our Members, so we’ll use cross sells when we don’t want to send a dedicated email on the topic, but we do want our Members to be aware or reminded of the cross-sell subject.

Is there a book, podcast, or TED talk or something that has really impacted you lately or that you would recommend people check out?

Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational has a lot of gems in it. I use insight from that book to determine how many rides we should feature in the regularly scheduled email — because we used to have probably 15 rides that we would feature. The click through rate was really horrible, and it was just a mess. Now, we do three live and three on-demand. So, using the rule of three from the study that he did with jams and the supermarket. When you have an abundance of choices, you’re not going to make good decisions. That book has helped a lot with thinking about how to guide people.

Lesson Learned: Peloton knows how to bring itThey parlay their data into what’s most useful to members. They get people engaged with CTAs and links to social. And they see the value in both pretty pictures and seamless design.


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