What Works in Plus Size Email Marketing (and what doesn’t…)

I haven’t worn pants in 5 years.

As you can imagine, a pants-less existence requires an almost unlimited supply of dresses and skirts. As a plus-sized person, I need to do a lot of shopping to get the right look and fit. Cute dresses don’t just fall out of the sky, you know.

While I don’t have a never-ending sartorial pasta bowl of plus size fashions, I do have an unlimited supply of emails from plus size clothing sites that I frequent.

Opening yet another email from one of my favorite plus size clothing sites this morning got me thinking: what actually works in plus size email marketing? What made me click on that email all nestled away in the Promotions folder in Gmail?

Let’s check out the contenders. Here are a few of my observations about several recent plus size email marketing campaigns from some of my favorite online retailers.

Lane Bryant – The Classic

Founded in 1904, Lane Bryant was a pioneer in the plus size clothing industry, offering clothes in larger sizes before most people knew there was even a market for that.

So how are they doing at email marketing?

Lane Bryant Plus Size Email Marketing

I’d say the answer is pretty darn well.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding their #PLUSISEQUAL campaign. Most of this controversy has to do with the lack of inclusion of various body shapes and types in their quest for plus size visibility. I understand this frustration, and yet I have to say, this campaign is sharp.

The hashtag has a feeling of unity and empowerment behind it. The header image is beautiful. And who could turn down a stunning landing page like this.

I want my marketing slick and eye-catching, so I immediately wanted to click on that image and see what it was about.

Isn’t that the goal of any effective email marketing campaign?

ModCloth – The Quirky Cousin

I’ve loved ModCloth’s aesthetic for more than 5 years now, ever since I started living a pants-free lifestyle. So when they announced several years ago that they were introducing a new plus size category, I was all over that email list.

Interestingly, I have yet to purchase anything from their plus size section. That might be a combination of price point, stock, or more factors, but they haven’t quite yet converted me into a buyer.

I wonder why that is?

ModCloth Plus Size Email Marketing

Their emails have that quirky style that I love, but I never feel like their target customer. Clicking on that header image takes me to this landing page which is full of great looks…

…but none of them are in my size.

I searched my inbox for ModCloth and the words “plus” or “plus size.”. Zero results. Which means ModCloth has never sent an email with Plus Size in it, or I’m just out of the loop.

Am I not in the right email list? Have they not segmented out their plus size shoppers? I definitely have an account that they could use to track my data and shopping habits since I completed a survey about bringing plus size clothing to ModCloth back in the day.

So what gives?

I decided to log back into my account and see for myself. To my surprise, there are a lot of ways they’re gathering data from customers: measurements, favorited items, curated suggestions. I haven’t filled out any of that information, so I guess I’m just Ginny Generic to them. Even so, you’d think they’d include one or two plus size emails in their generic email marketing, just in case.

Now that I’ve filled in some information, I’ll keep a look out and see if I receive more relevant email marketing.

Unique Vintage – The Old School Beauty

This is one of my very favorite stores. I love a good ’60s look, and they sell a wide variety of clothing inspired by different eras. Their plus size section is pretty great, as well.

When it comes to plus size email marketing, they’re almost there.

Unique Vintage Plus Size Email Marketing

Great image. Clean, classic style. Easy to see call-to-action.

But what’s going on with that awkward copy?

“Every body stun—at every size.” What does that even mean!?

The answer might lie in the subject line for this particular email campaign.

“The Secret to a Perfect Body.”

That’s a pretty great clickbait subject line. If I didn’t know better, I might be incited to go all angry Tumblr user and tell them off!

“A perfect body? That doesn’t exist! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!”And so on, etc.

Thankfully, the moment you open the email, you’re greeted with a body-positive ending to that potentially inflammatory statement.

Still doesn’t explain the rest of that confusing copy, though.

Gwynnie Bee – The Upstart

I’ve been a Gwynnie Bee member in the past (in the days of milk and honey) and I LOVED it.

A $35 per month subscription gets you 1 plus size piece of clothing at a time, but you get an unlimited amount of swaps per month. Genius idea originally touted as the Netflix of plus size clothes, back when Netflix was still the Netflix of Netflix.

Since then, Gwynnie Bee has been aggressively trying to win back my business. Whether that’s through custom coupon codes, curated clothing suggestions, or even emails that look like letters from their President asking me to resubscribe, I have to appreciate their hustle.

Gwynnie Bee Plus Size Email Marketing

This is an example of their awesome tailoring techniques. They know I was a former customer. They know I logged in recently, since this email arrived a day after I logged in. They’ve got this user data and automation workflow thing locked down.

Tempting, Gwynnie Bee. Very tempting.

Let me get this Digital Marketing job I’m after and I’ll get back with you.

Anna Daugherty inbound marketing

Brand Me: Why I’m My Most Important Product

I bought this domain name on a whim.

It’s too bad that annadaugherty.com was already taken, but whoever is camping out that domain name I wish you lots of luck and success.

So how am I going to use this site? Easy. To sell my personal brand.

Branding Yourself is Difficult.

Throughout the course of my career in email marketing and inbound marketing, I’ve come to learn a few things. But the most important thing I’ve learned is to be my own personal product, and to become my own best advocate.

When you craft yourself into a product, you completely understand your strengths and weaknesses, and it becomes much easier to sell yourself.

As a marketer, your brand is your business. In the bleep-bloop world of the internet, your name is your potential employer or customer’s first interaction with your personal brand. If the search rankings for your name return some rather unfavorable results, who knows what crazy assumptions your customers can have regarding your product.

Even if the search rankings aren’t full of mugshots, it’s still a great idea to claim your rightful spot at the top of the SERPs.

That’s why I’ve started this blog. My goal is to bring awareness to the Anna Daugherty brand, and to show myself off as an awesome inbound marketing specialist who can deliver results.

So Where Do I Begin?

The short answer is that I start at the bottom.

I’ve chosen 9 keywords that I would like to target for my own personal brand. In this blog post on choosing personal brand keywords, I discuss how to choose keywords for yourself based on your personal strengths and goals.

So how does my site rank for these keywords?

Search Engine Results for annadaugherty.net Ouch.

As you can see, my site currently doesn’t rank in the top 10 for any of my chosen keywords. Fortunately for me, the keywords I’ve chosen have a lot of leeway.

Keyword Difficulty for annadaugherty.net

According to this keyword difficulty tool, there should be little difficulty ranking organically in the search results for these keywords because, except for one, they don’t appear to be highly competitive.

With a little time, effort, and perhaps a bit of charm, I’m sure that I will start to see my website climb in the SERPs for my chosen keywords.

What’s My Competition?

I’ve decided that my top three personal branding keywords are “anna daugherty,” “inbound marketing kalamazoo,” and “email marketing kalamazoo.” These keywords most accurately reflect my current brand, strengths, and location.

My goal is for any recruiter or potential employer who searches these terms to come across my blog and think, “Gee, this lady knows her business.”

So let’s see what’s already out there.

Keyword: “anna daugherty”
Keyword ranking for anna daugherty Oh hey, that’s me!

Not a bad start. LinkedIn is an excellent way to show off my skills and accomplishments.

I would like annadaugherty.net to rank #1 for the keyword “anna daugherty,” but I will also accept a top 3 ranking if it means my LinkedIn profile is also there.

Keyword: “inbound marketing kalamazoo”

Inbound Marketing Kalamazoo

Right away I see a lot of potential for making connections with the HUG Kalamazoo inbound marketing group. They host meet-ups where I can network with other locals in my field.

I also see a profile for one of the managers of the HUG Kalamazoo inbound marketing group, Dan Moyle. This is a great opportunity to reach out to him to see if he has any tips or ideas to share about the Kalamazoo inbound marketing scene. If he has a blog, we might also have valuable content to share with each other.

Because there are several repeated results, gaining organic ranking for this keyword should be a snap.

Keyword: “email marketing kalamazoo”

Email Marketing Kalamazoo Hmm. This might be more difficult.

The rankings for “email marketing kalamazoo” return several marketing agencies. These usually have more authority, whether that’s from awards they’ve won or backlinks from their clients.

I see this as an opportunity to network, as well. Who better to market my personal brand to than a Kalamazoo agency that needs talented email marketers?

So How Will I Get There?

I know that the way to earn my place in the top of the organic results for my keywords is to focus on three things: content, outreach, and advocacy.

Content will be the easy part. I’ve got a lot to say about myself and my career path.

Outreach will also be pretty easy. I know my audience, and I understand the principles of respectful blogger and media relations, as well as how to use social media to leverage exposure for my content.

Advocacy might be the most difficult part of this entire experiment. One of the best ways to earn rankings is to secure authoritative backlinks from sites that believe in your content and want to share it with their readers. And right now, my site isn’t looking so hot in the authority department.

Domain authority for annadaugherty.net Double ouch.

Convincing high-authority blogs that my content is worthwhile will be where both my content and outreach come in handy. Add a little bit of charm into the mix, and I’m hoping that others will buy into my personal brand and start linking to me.

Once that happens, I should start to see my domain authority score climb, which in turn will affect my organic search rankings, depending on which content is linked.

Stay Tuned.

This blog post is just the first of many that will explore my personal brand. Stick around and follow me as I attempt to climb Mount Search Engine to earn my place at the top of the SERPs.

Are you looking for a Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids area email marketing or inbound marketing specialist to take your business to the next level? Email me at ajdaughe@gmail.com