With an industry-disrupting distribution model and a humanitarian mission, DIFF Eyewear has an approach that resonates with social media audiences. To offer another avenue for engagement, DIFF partnered with Tinuiti to drive return on investment for its email program — building a stable communication channel that complements and reinforces social media messaging.
DIFF Eyewear began when co-founders Zachary Gordan, Chad Dime, and Chad Jernigan decided to upend the sunglasses industry. By offering its premium eyewear direct to consumers online, DIFF eliminated multiple tiers of middlemen, enabling pricing that’s significantly lower than the competition. Social media promotion has fueled brand recognition and word of mouth buzz; since launch in 2014, DIFF has partnered with celebrity influencers to build an engaged audience of more than 300,000 online followers
Another core tenet of the business has been charitable donations. From the outset, DIFF has partnered with Eyes on Africa, an organization that provides vision care and eyeglasses in rural African communities. Following the model established by TOMS shoes and Bombas socks, DIFF has pledged to donate a pair of glasses for every pair of sunglasses sold. To date, the company has donated more than 150,000 pairs of glasses to those in need.
DIFF’s direct-to-consumer, online-first business model relies on maximizing every interaction with brand followers. While the co-founders built the business in part on their social media expertise, email marketing required outside assistance. DIFF partnered with Tinuiti in January of 2017, and since then email has jumped from the third most profitable marketing channel to become the top channel for communicating with brand followers and driving sales.
Increase in Email Revenue
Increased Conversion in Product Launch Email Series
Revenue Growth from Regular Marketing Emails
A Strong Foundation for User-Generated Content Earns Rewards
When Tinuiti entered the picture in early 2017, DIFF had already laid a solid foundation for building email engagement. A large social media audience was interacting with the brand, and key endorsements from celebrities and social media influencers further boosted DIFF’s signal. In addition, DIFF had built its email list using a lightbox signup message that clearly described subscriber benefits — thereby gathering qualified traffic genuinely interested in the brand.
With Tinuiti’s help, the DIFF team began to build on that foundation. In tandem, they developed a campaign calendar that slowly increased messaging cadence, giving email subscribers more opportunities to engage with the brand. As a result, DIFF has demonstrated relevance to subscribers and substantially grown its list, increasing the number of emails delivered 121% between January and May, while unsubscribes have decreased by .03%.
Tinuiti also helped DIFF diversify messaging content. While previously campaigns relied on discounts to drive engagement, Tinuiti’s strategists helped the DIFF team take advantage of their rich trove of user-generated content on social media to develop content- and product-focused campaigns. Sumptuous new lifestyle photos from DIFF and user-generated images showcasing how the eyewear paired with a variety of looks, has proved a potent combination that drives engagement as well as preserving revenue margins.
New Launch Campaigns Drive Significant Revenue
As the DIFF and Tinuiti teams collaborated on new campaign types, one area in particular received special focus: new product launches. With DIFF frequently introducing new designs, colors, and lenses to a fashion-forward audience eager for fresh looks, the Tinuiti team proposed development of a launch campaign that would help build excitement and anticipation.
Existing subscribers and social followers signing up to be specially notified when a particular new product launches are sent preview messages highlighting features and benefits, helping spur word-of-mouth buzz. Subscribers are also given exclusive access the night before the official launch date, spurring strong sales. One recent rollout saw the 8,000 followers signed up to receive launch updates outspend the 300,000 general email subscribers when it came to orders of the new product. Overall, the new launch campaigns have achieved a 24% conversion rate.
Triggered Series Spur Sales
Product launches aren’t the only events on which Tinuiti and DIFF are capitalizing. Since January, the Tinuiti team has helped DIFF’s marketers introduce new triggered campaigns to engage shoppers at key points throughout the customer lifecycle.
New subscribers who have not yet bought receive a new tailored “welcome” series that encourages first purchase and further engagement via social media channels and highlights top picks based on best-selling frames. Those who’ve added items to the shopping cart without completing purchases receive a revamped series of abandonment messages encouraging them to return to the site to consider the product they’ve left behind, as well as alternatives.
Tinuiti and DIFF also refreshed post-purchase messaging to encourage shoppers to return to the eCommerce site and social media to share their experiences wearing DIFF eyewear, and to consider further purchases. As a result of the improvements and new welcome series, subscribers receive more relevant messaging than ever — and are rewarding DIFF with purchases as a result. Revenue for the triggered emails increased 142% between January and May. Two to three new event-based triggers are planned for rollout in the next quarter.