How to write the perfect Rewards e-mail, by John Lewis

Creating a rewards programme is one thing. Encouraging your customers to use it requires a whole separate set of email marketing skills.

So, when John Lewis dropped this perfect rewards re-engagement email into our inbox, we couldn’t resist breaking it down for you.

Click this link to download the full e-mail.

Here’s a 5-step breakdown of how to write the perfect rewards email, courtesy of the John Lewis marketing team (and our detective skills.)

Disclaimer: We haven’t spoken to John Lewis’s marketing team. This breakdown is an independent analysis from our digital marketing specialists.

  1. Begin your rewards email with context – what are you emailing your customer about?

The email subject line explains what John Lewis is emailing to their customer. It also explains why the email is crucial enough to demand their attention.

Let’s break the subject line down, phrase by phrase:

Adrian, = Who

You have 4 rewards = What

expiring soon = Why

The body of the email opens with the customer’s membership number. A short piece of text follows, reiterating the expiring rewards mentioned in the subject line and where the user can go to redeem the rewards.

This email wants the reader to take action, so everything we have seen so far is focused on that action.

When you build your perfect rewards email, define the call the action before you begin to write your email.

2. Next, provide reward redemption methods – how can your customer complete the call to action?

The email shows empathy by engaging in how the customer wants to complete the action. 

The email copy encourages the shopper to use the method that works for their needs; in-app or via the online browser.

It’s common for brands to push users to an app, but you have to consider the user’s needs:

  • Does the customer have a mental bias toward one channel over another?
  • Does the user have wifi access to download an app?
  • Is the user using a device that supports apps?
  • Does the user have the technical capability to use an app?
  • When and where is the user opening the email – will they have enough time to log in?

Offer multiple options to complete an action that suits users, whether at work on a desktop, commuting on the bus, or home on the sofa.

3. Continue to promise and deliver on your rewards – what will propel the user through the user journey?

The user has their ‘what and how’ information to redeem their rewards. The rewards email is switching focus to persuade the user to complete the action.

In the world of clickbait, it’s essential to build trust. You can do this by never over-promising and under-delivering. Be honest with how much value you can offer.

In this email, John Lewis sells itself appropriately by promising and delivering what is to come. 

John Lewis displays three offers with honest and accurate discounts. They don’t say, “Up to 50% off deals”. They share actual suggestions customers can believe and trust. 

These offers are likely specially targeted to the recipient’s age and gender. In this case, our recipient is a 30-something man. Men’s wear and kid’s toys? I think they know who they are talking to.

Give your customer a taste of what is on the other side of their rewards portal by sharing targeted offers in their reward email.

4. Add a sense of ownership and obligation to the rewards – how can you make the customer feel special?

As the email continues, John Lewis’s marketing team uses possessives to build a sense of ownership and obligation. After all, if something belongs to you, you should claim it. Right?

The email tells the reader the rewards are theirs. By doing so, they help the user think along the following lines: 

“These rewards have been picked especially for me. If they are mine, I should take what belongs to me.”

Use possessives and pronouns to tell the customer they are owed the action they need to complete. In this case, John Lewis owes the customer the rewards they need to claim.

5. End with clarity on the rewards portal – What do you want the customer to do?

At the end of your rewards email, you will have told the user:

  • What reward the email is referring to
  • Who the reward belongs to
  • Why you are emailing them about their rewards
  • How they can redeem their reward
  • What rewards they will receive after completing the action

All that is left to do is reinforce the core Call To Action.

Avoid overly fluffy brand or relationship-building language at this stage. Instead, provide clear friction-busting text that resolves any remaining concerns.

For example, clicking on an app is easy for some but anxiety-inducing for others. Clarify exactly how easy the process is and what they can expect on the other side. 

As we visited earlier, remember to provide multiple methods to complete the action that will work for the user wherever and whenever they open the email. 

We also have to give John Lewis some bonus points for the colour-coded steps that guide the user through the upcoming actions!

End your rewards email by answering any remaining questions the user may have to complete the CTA.

And that’s how to build the perfect rewards email in 5 steps! Mic Drop.

Interested in building a better rewards programme? Learn about Tyviso, the brand partnerships platform where you only pay based on how well it performs.

Published by Adrian Vella

He is the co-founder of Tyviso and COO. With 10 years experience in digital advertising, Adrian honed his skills primarily at online behemoth Yahoo!. Working across a range of specialties including, Search, Display and Native he twice received a CEO commendation and industry rising star at the IPA Media Owners awards. After Yahoo he gained further experience in Director level roles in Lead Generation, Affiliates and Influencer marketing, sitting on the industry steering group for the last. Adrian's goal is to enable all e-commerce brands to achieve risk free sales at a fixed cost.

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