Email showdown: HelloFresh vs. Blue Apron

McKenzie Gregory


These brands are also facing off in our Email Showdown contest on Facebook this week! Simply vote for your favorite email for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. 

In the oh-so-trendy world of healthy meal delivery services, it really comes down to two major players: HelloFresh and Blue Apron. Each brand gets praise for different elements of their services, but when it comes to their marketing, who does it better in the inbox?

We’re putting their email campaigns head-to-head to find out.


The signup process (if you leave during checkout) 

Let's say someone begins signing up for HelloFresh, but ultimately leaves the page before they've finished.



Within minutes of leaving, they're greeted with this email in their inbox. It reminds them to finish what they started, lists off reasons why they should, and incentivizes purchase with a $35 off coupon. 


Blue Apron does something similar: If someone completes the first step of their checkout process... 



...but doesn't ultimately order, they're served up this abandoned cart email.

Similar to HelloFresh, Blue Apron offers potential customers a monetary incentive to complete their purchase. Their headline, however, does a slightly better job calling attention to exactly what they want you to do.

The signup process (for their email list specifically)

To capitalize their awesome content and nurture potential customers, HelloFresh embeds a signup form at the top of their blog, Fresh Times. Since it doesn't look like typical email signup forms, this one really stands out, and the place of prominence likely leads to a good amount of signups. 



Blue Apron, on the other hand, relies on a simple, email-only signup form on the footer of their website to help build their list. The value proposition is simple but clear – Get free recipes – and they even tell you the send cadence you can expect. It's fairly bare-bones, but it does the job.



The next few emails 

Regardless of how you end up on either of their lists, you'll ultimately get nurtured by a series of email campaigns. Here are a few examples of business-and-usual emails from both brands. 



1. A sales-focused campaign

This example showcases how HelloFresh approaches the purely promotional email – clean, engaging design, a compelling value proposition, and a clear CTA. I especially loved the scannable list format of this campaign, which looks awesome on mobile. 

2. A content-focused campaign

This example, on the other hand, showcases how HelloFresh utilizes content marketing in their email strategy. This email is completely centered around free, no-strings-attached recipes. They do include a CTA to buy in the footer, but for the most part, this provides pure value to subscribers regardless of whether or not they want to become customers. 

3. A social promotion

HelloFresh also does a fabulous job connecting potential customers with their other digital marketing channels, maximizing the number of touch points they can have with each prospect. Plus, the copy in this email clearly highlights the benefits that come with connecting with them beyond the inbox. 


Blue Apron 

1. A sales-focused campaign

The majority of the emails I've received from Blue Apron have looked like this: A promotion for that week's featured dish, a coupon for $35 off, plus a call to action to buy. I like that they keep it simple and focused, but heres the thing...

2. Another sales-focused campaign


... even alongside an absolutely beautiful, well-designed promotional campaign like this... 

3. ANOTHER sales-focused campaign

... and this engaging "Spin to Win" promo, I have a bone to pick with Blue Apron.

Their signup form said I'd "get free recipes," and 15 emails later, I haven't gotten a single one. In fact, I have yet to receive anything that doesn't click through directly to a signup form. 



The moral of the story here? The repeated use of the same promotion is annoying, sure, but that isn't what really bothered me about their email strategy: It was their form.

If it had said, "Sign up for exclusive promotions," or even just "Sign up for our list," I wouldn't be as put off. I was promised free recipes, I didn't get them, and that's just a recipe for failure in the inbox (no pun intended). That's why it's so important to set clear expectations on your form: Follow through on the promises you make new subscribers, or risk losing audience trust and loyalty from the very start. 


WINNER: HelloFresh


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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