Case Study

DIFF Eyewear sees 203% jump in email revenue thanks to new campaigns and content developed by Email Aptitude

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 Email Aptitude to drive return on investment for its email program -- building a stable communication channel that complements and reinforces social media messaging.

Performance Highlights

  • Within six months, email program optimized to become the most profitable marketing channel, up from the third-most-profitable.
  • Total email revenue increased 203% within six months.
  • New product launch email series achieves over 24% conversion rate.
  • Revenue from regular marketing emails increased 320% within six months.


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 Email Aptitude 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.

A Strong Foundation for User-Generated Content Earns Rewards

When Email Aptitude 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 Email Aptitude’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%.

Email Aptitude also helped DIFF diversify messaging content. While previously campaigns relied on discounts to drive engagement, Email Aptitude’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.

“Email Aptitude helped us make the most of one of our greatest assets -- an engaged community of social media followers -- to drive revenue and engagement,” said DIFF. “By backing away from discount-focused emails to a more diverse offering, we’ve been able to achieve a greater return on investment.”


New Launch Campaigns Drive Significant Revenue

As the DIFF and Email Aptitude 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 Email Aptitude 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.

“The series Email Aptitude helped us develop to drive new product sales has proven that adopting an ultra-targeted approach to an active, engaged audience is well worth the investment,” said DIFF.


Triggered Series Spur Sales

Product launches aren’t the only events on which Email Aptitude and DIFF are capitalizing. Since January, the Email Aptitude 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. Email Aptitude 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.

“Seeing our automated, triggered series make such gains has been very rewarding,” said DIFF. “We’re delivering better content to shoppers while building strong ROI.”


About Email Aptitude

Email Aptitude is a leading ESP-agnostic email agency, providing strategy and full-service management for some of the world's largest brands and fastest growing startups. The Email Aptitude team is made up of industry veterans and the new bright minds of email who work tirelessly to crush records for our clients.