Gone are the days of going to brick-and-mortar stores to bounce from mattress to mattress, spending hours choosing the perfect one for snoozing. Enter online companies like Casper and Leesa who allow you to order a mattress (and have it delivered!) all within the comfort of your own home. It’s recently been announced that even Amazon is getting in on the mattress business, which means e-commerce companies like Casper and Leesa need to ramp up their brand loyalty like never before.
Casper was started in 2014, while Leesa began delivering mattresses shortly after in 2015. While we could certainly spend days comparing their promised layers of memory foam, improved sleep-ability, and would be fine with taking an afternoon nap for “research,” what we’re discussing today isn’t even close to a snoozefest: Which online mattress company delivers the most in the inbox?
The sign-up process
Tucked at the bottom of Casper’s homepage, the email subscription form sits with the rest of their contact information. It’s simple and discreet and, while I’m thankful the sign-up process wasn’t too demanding, it did take me a moment to locate the sign-up form.
While the thoughtful phrase “free bedtime reading,” did seal the deal for me, I’m still not entirely sure what the bedtime reading will be or if it will be useful to me as a consumer.
After signing up, new subscribers are greeted with this email:
1. The welcome email
Subject line: Welcome to Casper!
Preheader text: Love sleep? Same.
What I noticed the most about this email was the brand continuity. From the color scheme to the subject line, I recognized Casper immediately, and the first email was extremely reflective of my time on their website.
Normally, I’d say the picture of the actual product should occur closer to the top of the email—what some would call “above the fold"—but here, it works. Casper does a great job of incorporating sleep and bedtime themes and turning them into a beneficial experience that speaks to more than just buying a new mattress.
Once the welcome email has been sent, new subscribers set up in a cycle to periodically receive other automated emails, like these:
2. The educational email
Subject line: Excuse us as we nerd out on sleep…
Preheader text: n/a
As a self-proclaimed content geek, I’m still thoroughly impressed with Casper’s use of words.
It can be difficult to strike a balance of lighthearted and informational in a product education email, but Casper does a great job of maintaining their approachable brand tone while also offering information.
I like that they provide a link to a video for a deep dive into the science, but also include an expert quote for email skimmers on-the-go. (The average email read time is 15-20 seconds!)
3. The FAQ email
Subject line: You have 1 New Message from Casper.
Preheader text: Let’s chat about it.
This FAQ-turned-live-chat = brilliant. The copy addresses exactly where the customer may be in their decision process, and tackles their hesitations head-on instead of waiting for them to approach Casper (or choose another mattress company).
However, the design and delivery of this FAQ is the real winner here. The live chat format is creative while remaining relatable, and really sets the stage for the Casper professionals to become trusted experts.
The emails in Casper’s marketing cycle are kind of like peeling new layers from an onion—each one reveals something new, yet you can still tell it’s from the same vegetable. Watch out for the constant-yet-inverted color scheme paired with the ongoing sleep “experience” they’ve created.
4. The seasonal shoutout email
Subject line: That extra hour, though.
Preheader text: Save 10% off any order with a mattress.
The end of Daylight Savings Time just so happened to be a surprisingly fun time to be one of Casper’s email subscribers.
If there’s any company that can use this “holiday” to their advantage, it’s mattress companies. And, not surprisingly, they were the only ones in my inbox acknowledging the time change, not to mention offering a discount code to celebrate! Win-win.
It’s no secret that inboxes are always full on national holidays and birthdays, but if you can find a fun way to grab a reader’s attention for a reason other than trying to sell them something, you’ve found your email marketing sweet spot. What can we say—humans love hearing from other humans!
Now that you’ve heard from Casper, allow us to introduce its contender…
The sign-up process
Leesa’s sign-up form was also found at the bottom of their homepage, and it was a painless process to enter my email address. While it would have been easier to find in a more prominent place on the site, I do like the mention of “updates and offers,” as it gives me a clearer idea of what to expect from their emails.
Although I’d usually advocate for gathering more information from a new subscriber—such as name, birthday, or location—I think both companies have made the right choice to stick to the basics.
Since they are an e-commerce website and don’t have a lot of need to send geographic-specific content, it’s better to play it safe and capture the lead than ask too much of a potential customer at this point. (Did you know that every field you add reduces sign-ups by 25%?)
1. The welcome email
Subject line: Sweet dreams await.
Preheader text: Better sleep starts with the Leesa Mattress GET $150 OFF LEESA
While Casper is all about illustration, Leesa takes a modern lifestyle photography approach. With an introduction right away to position themselves as a brand, Leesa also includes promises of “deeper rest,” “sweet dreams,” and “a sanctuary to wake up to.”
Their welcome email is powered largely by bright colors and cause marketing—They make sure to tell you the positive impact their company is having on the greater good. This is a strong approach for any company to begin with, and it’s a refreshing take compared to an inbox inundated with mattress facts right away.
After the welcome email, subscribers do get a chance to learn more about Leesa’s products as they fall into a regular email cadence:
2. The educational email
Subject line: 5 reasons your next mattress should be a Leesa
Preheader text: Since you spend a third of your life sleeping, finding the right mattress is a big deal!
Leesa’s product education email does a great job of helping recipients envision how their mattresses would fit in and improve their lives. I like how this email covers a variety of topics and points that may be appealing to different customers without being overwhelming. This is largely possible due to the very clear header that explains the purpose of the email, however, it could be better-supported with a clear CTA button at the end. You want to make sure your potential customers always know the action you want them to take next!
3. The CEO letter
Subject line: Hello from Virginia Beach.
Preheader text: N/A
Okay, the initial thought here is really great. Customers love putting faces with names and seeing the people behind their favorite products. I love that Leesa’s CEO shares about how he started the company, and it’s a genuine and heartfelt email.
Where this misses the mark for me is in the branding and design category. It doesn’t incorporate the same images I’ve come to expect from Leesa, and, not knowing that the company is based in Virginia Beach, I probably would have skimmed right past this one if I wasn’t on the lookout for it.
4. The holiday email
Subject line: No rest for the wicked? 😈
Preheader text: N/A
This subject line and gif was so clever that a few coworkers gathered around my desk while I was putting together this post.
When it comes to holiday emails, it’s easy to acknowledge the season, but turn it back into something related to your own brand? Now that’s what we call innovation. This was definitely my favorite post from Leesa, and I really hope they keep this kind of content up!
Send cadence and timing
When is the best time to send an email? It’s a question we get asked a lot, and the answer is simply: it depends.
Casper and Leesa show off this concept incredibly well, as both of them waited until the sleepiest hours of the day to send their emails—past 4 pm. I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely when I’m most likely to start dreaming about a new mattress. This simple-yet-brilliant tactic is the perfect example of bending “the rules” to fit your brand.
So, who takes home the prize in this email showdown? It’s worth acknowledging that neither company is sleeping on the job—from creative subject lines to unexpected holiday shoutouts, it’s definitely a tough call.
While I love the way Leesa sends thoughtful messages and utilizes cause marketing, their design choices and brand voice could stand to be a little more consistent throughout. A lot of companies are using lifestyle photography to showcase their products, and I’d love to see this brand really come into their own with a stronger sense of identity.
For Casper, however, their sense of brand identity is evident from beginning to end, and doesn’t vary from email to email. They excel with a signature design style, as well as a lighthearted-yet-thoughtful brand voice. I’d enjoy seeing them really maximize their efforts in the future by gathering more information about their customers and wowing them with segmentation and automation. Great job, team!
About the AuthorMore Content by Kaitlin Wernet