What did Isambard Kingdom Brunel ever do for email marketing?

Bristol is home to some game-changing feats of engineering. From bridges to boats and planes to trains, we’re taking inspiration from some bits of Bristolian brilliance to help you engineer the perfect email marketing campaign.           

1. ss Great Britain

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ss Great Britain sets a great example of how to be revolutionary with your email marketing. By combining screw propulsion with an iron hull and by setting out to build the biggest ship in the world, Brunel really got the world talking. When the ship launched from Bristol’s floating harbour in 1843 she was described as ‘the greatest experiment since the Creation’.

Bristol Email Marketing

You might not need to push it that far with your email campaigns, but experimentation and innovation are key. Push yourself to come up with new ideas, and be bold enough to send them out to sea.

2. Concorde

Sleek, sophisticated and supersonic, Concorde was built in collaboration with France (the British team was based in Filton, in north Bristol). Working with others is a great idea if you want to shake things up and get a fresh view on things – think about how you could use guest writers and get new voices involved to get your email campaigns to fly.

And then there’s the plane itself. It used cutting-edge technology to offer an elite service. Passengers on Concorde were part of an exclusive club, and subscribers to your newsletter should be treated the same. Think about what you can offer them that a casual visitor to your site doesn’t get: think bonus content, special offers, links, webinars, a free lunch, anything.

3. The Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge – designed by local hero Isambard Kingdom Brunel when he was just 23 – is another inspirational bit of Bristolian engineering. It’s gobsmackingly beautiful and a symbol of the city’s love of innovation and unpredictability.

Bristol email marketing

And it’s this innovation and unpredictability you need to try and harness in your email marketing campaigns. Try and keep things fresh, mix up the content of your emails. If you usually just use words and a picture, try shaking things up with a podcast or a slideshare. We explained a few months back how effective video is in email marketing, so try that. Keep it fresh and your customers will keep coming back for more.

Lesser email marketing experts might use this as an opportunity to make a quip about keeping your audience in suspense, but not Winbox. Definitely not.

4. Great Western Railway

Ask a Bristolian what they think of the Great Western Railway and you’ll probably get an answer about leaves on the line or sweaty standing room only carriages on the 6.30 to London. That aside, it’s another piece of Brunellian brilliance that has its roots in Bristol.

Even though it might not feel like it when you’re stuck somewhere in Box Tunnel because of a signal failure, no train ever sets out on the GWR without a final destination in mind. The same should go for your email campaigns. Always be clear about what you want to achieve with your emails and what you want your readers to do once they’ve read them. Design your calls action meticulously, and think about the customer journey after they’ve opened that email.

5. Cabot Circus

The multi-award winning shopping behemoth that is Cabot Circus is another Bristol engineering example that divides opinion, but even if you’re not a Topshop teenager there’s no denying that the designers got a lot right. The magnificent roof and the airy openness of the streets are a world away from the claustrophobic cookie-cutter shopping centres of the ‘80s and ‘90s (The Galleries, we’re looking at you). This, together with the mix of options for shopping, eating and doing, keep people coming back for more – 18 million visit every year.

Bristol email marketing

And think about how the layout subtly gets visitors to pass by the maximum number of retail spaces (try getting to Showcase from Broadmead to see what we mean). Ask yourself how you can you get the mix of content right and create an experience for your readers that takes them exactly where you want them to go.

All these Bristol greats combine innovative design and bold thinking with meticulous attention to detail - and the same should apply to your emails.

If you're looking to construct your own perfectly formed campaign, contact Marc at Winbox – our Brunel of email marketing. And sign up to the Winbox newsletter and get your fix of insight, inspiration and email marketing expertise.