[Email of the Week #37]: Drizly

By Chris Orzechowski

Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 4.25.03 PM

Have you ever royally screwed up an email broadcast?

At a certain point in your business, it’s bound to happen.

Most of the time, you might forget to include a link… or forget an important detail in your copy. So you have to send one of those semi-embarrassing “correction” emails.

I’ve done this.

In fact, half the time I look back on my emails and find a big whoopsie or two that I wish I could have back.

Luckily… my list is relatively small.

So if 2,667 people get an email from me with an incorrect link or a typo… the world won’t end.

But…

What happens if you’re a BIG brand with a shit ton of subscribers?

What happens if you have enough email subscribers to fill a few counties?

The ripple effect is stronger.

People talk.

Your mistake most likely gets amplified by social media.

Your mistake might even go a bit viral.

If that happens… you gotta pull a Don Draper.

If You Don't Like What's Being Said, Change The Conversation ...

Drizly recently had to pull a Draper.

It’s my understanding that an email went out with some liquid fields that weren’t so liquid… and some copy that was literally just Lorem ipsum.

Luckily for Drizly, they have some smart mofos at that company who knew that this wasn’t so much a mistake… as it was a MASSIVE opportunity for their brand.

Before their mistake email could get its pants on… their follow up email traveled around the world.

This is probably one of the best “we screwed up” emails I’ve ever seen.

And I think if you measure it’s viral reach… it’s probably one of the most popular emails of this type ever.

Drizly probably earned hundreds of millions of dollars in earned media from an email that couldn’t have taken more than 5 minutes to dash off.

Think about that for a moment.

Drizly turned 99 words into a viral sensation that exposed the world to their brand and built an instant bond with millions of new customers… many of whom had probably NEVER heard of them before.

That’s fucking insane.

THAT is the power of good copy.

I don’t wanna keep nattering on, this email is so damn good… I just wanna get into it already.

So…

Without further ado…

Let’s dive into this week’s Email of the Week!

This is the 37th installment of my Email of the Week series. (Catch up on previous episodes here.)

And in case you’re new around here, here’s how this all works…

The Rules For Email Of The Week

Each week, I go out into the wild to find a super-effective e-commerce marketing email… and I break down what made it work. My goal is for you to tune in each week, so I can teach you strategies and best practices YOU can use to make your own emails better.

I find these emails in my inbox, but I also accept suggestions from readers who have a remarkable email they’d like to share.

If you recently received an email that was so awesome it made your jaw drop, I wanna see it.

Forward it to me (chris at theemailcopywriter dot com) with a brief message about what you liked about it. If I choose to do a breakdown of the email you sent, I’ll give you a shout out and link to your site.

The only rule is… you can’t pick yourself.

Now then, without further ado, let’s check out the Email of the Week!

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Ok, remember the context here.

Drizly sent out an email rife with mistakes.

People noticed and started saying shit on social media.

So this was their response:

 

 

Now, there are just so many awesome things happening with this email.

Let me unpack them one by one.

Awesome Thing #1: The subject line.

That subject line looks like something Chris Orzechowski would send to his list… NOT something a national brand would send to theirs.

It’s shockingly… HUMAN!

It stands out soooooo well in the inbox, how do you possibly ignore it?

You can’t.

Especially if you opened their earlier email that they screwed up.

I actually sent an email to my list a few months back with the SL:

lol, Facebook

It got a SUPER high open-rate.

My only fear with writing this article and breaking this email down is now every copywriter out there is going to beat the whole “starting your subject line with an lol” thing to death.

Oh well.

Regardless – very well done.

The WTF is a nice touch, too.

You can imagine their team slapping their heads and laughing at themselves.

Also… it’s edgy. It’s not profanity but it implies it.

And it positions them as a brand with personality, rather than some boring, bland, corporate entity.

I thought it was an A+++++++ subject line.

Awesome Thing #2: Setting the context in the intro

I recently did an email challenge inside Copy Chief. We held a competition to see which writer could write the best version of a particular type of email.

I’d say the #1 piece of advice I had to give to writers in that challenge was: set the context.

What does that mean exactly?

It means you have to let people know WHY they’re getting this email in the first place.

It’s also called: entering the conversation in your prospect’s mind.

It’s also called pacing and leading.

Whatever.

I wouldn’t say you need it in EVERY email… but if an email is getting sent because of a situation (either from an automation getting triggered… or from you addressing a question that arose)… it’s good to set some context.

They didn’t hide from their mistake, they met it head-on.

Remember, they didn’t have to do this.

It was a conscious choice.

And a good one.

It hooked people’s interest and kept them reading through the copy.

Very good technique.

Awesome Thing #3: They took the wind out of their hater’s sails.

Some people on Twitter were very not happy with the fact that Drizly used liquid fields amongst other “normally hidden” aspects of email sending.

I think people who got triggered over this should go stick their tongue in an electrical outlet.

Grow up.

Regardless, some people weren’t happy and “wanted an explanation.”

So…

Drizly gave them one.

They used a PERFECT joke set-up and punchline combo.

As you’re reading the copy… you’re getting close to their ‘explanation.’

And by the time you get there, you see their rationale:

My dog did it.

LMAO

How do you argue with that?

First of all, it’s funny as shit.

Second of all, what do you say back to that?

Nothing.

Game over.

Drizly wins.

They owned their mistake. And they did it in a way that made most people (myself include) laugh our asses off and LOVE this brand even more.

I personally can’t WAIT to order from Drizly again.

The first time I ordered Drizly, I got my buddy Patrick Kenney a bottle of Garrison Brother’s whiskey.

It was a painless and fun process ordering from them. And I was looking for another opportunity to use their service again.

This email accelerated that process. Because after reading this email, I’m looking for any excuse I can to give them more of my money.

That’s what happens when you use good copy in your emails.

Awesome Thing #4: They didn’t waste real estate.

99% of companies would have just sent this email and moved on with their day.

But…

The team at Drizly was smart enough to realize that you should NEVER waste good real estate. If you’re going to send someone an email… give them an opportunity to buy.

Not only did they do that… they created an offer around their mistake.

And they used a generic (and funny) coupon code that NEW customers would be able to use as well… probably because they new this email would get screenshotted and sent around to a lot of people who had previously never heard of them before.

All in all, this is an A++++++++++ email.

Definitely a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Well done Drizly team.

You guys deserve that big boost in sales and publicity.

Big Takeaways from Drizly’s Apology Email

  1. Make your subject lines shockingly human if you want to stand out.
  2. Set up your joke before you drop a punch line.
  3. Set the context at the beginning of your email.
  4. Every mistake is an opportunity to make more sales.
  5. Good copy sells. “Over-the-top” copy can earn you millions of dollars worth of earned media and viral reach, if done right.
  6. You don’t need thousands of words to make thousands of sales.
  7. Never write to appease the outrage mobs.

What You Should Do Next

  1. Subscribe to my email list so you can get ALL of the Emails of the Week delivered straight to your inbox, automatically.
  2. Leave a comment for me below and let me know what you liked about this email.
  3. Get some liquor delivered from Drizly! It’s a great service I’ve used myself.

Want articles like this in your inbox each week?

Join my list and get access to these articles, special offers and first dibs on new products I’m creating...

6 Comments

  1. Jeff Morse on May 29, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Lol this is great… takes some balls for a corporate brand to write wtf in their subject line.

    • Chris Orzechowski on May 29, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      you’re right… but it paid off big time. so awesome to see

  2. Sean Brison on May 29, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    1) The coupon code LOREMIPSUM and subject line. lmao!
    2) Insanely human.
    3) There’s always an opportunity to sell – even when you mess up. Own your mistakes and people will love you even more.

    Thanks for sharing this Chris!

    • Chris Orzechowski on May 29, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      insanely human is a GREAT way to put it

  3. Derek Doepker on May 30, 2020 at 1:55 am

    Genius. This is going into my records of one of the best examples of turning a mistake into a win.

  4. Dunstan on May 31, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Oh I just LOVED that email, Chris! “My dog did it”. Just perfect! 🤣

    I literally laughed out loud when I read that bit.

    Thanks for sharing and keep up this amazing work that you do in this Email of the Week series. It’s a pleasure to read and a HUGE education every time.

    Take care man

Leave a Comment