How GoldieBlox is transforming the pink aisle, one email at a time

McKenzie Gregory


When Debbie Sterling, a Stanford-educated engineer, launched a KickStarter campaign in 2012, she had no idea what a phenomenal success it would be.

Her idea? To get young girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) with a construction toy designed just for them. Not only did she meet her funding goal – she doubled it. Now, GoldieBlox can be found on the shelves of over 6,000 retail stores, including Barnes and Noble and Toys “R" Us.

Much of GoldieBlox’s rapid rise can be attributed to its small-but-mighty marketing team, who jumped in with both feet to get the word out about the brand. And there’s no better place to see the fruits of their labor than in the inbox. Their email program is fairly new, but it’s incredibly robust and chock-full of smart strategy.

Want to see their grade-A work for yourself? Here’s a little peek into the GoldieBlox subscriber experience.



Get instantly hooked by a clever lightbox form

There are a few common sayings you’ll often hear around Emma, like “No, I didn’t eat the last donut” and “I celebrate Phil Collins’s entire catalog." But one we really take to heart is “Never market alone.” And Goldieblox’s email marketing is a prime example. With a little help from our integration partners at Privy, for instance, they created this lightbox-style signup form to rapidly grow their email audience.



It offers 10% off to site visitors 30 seconds after they land (or if they show signs of exiting the page – whichever comes first). It’s been a huge success; in fact, the lightbox outperforms their header and footer signup forms exponentially.

Since its launch, it's converted 3% of their overall site traffic and resulted in over 7,000 new subscriptions. The best part? It keeps their list growing with super minimal work on their part.



Receive a warm (and much-improved!) greeting

A fantastic example of how far GoldieBlox has come over a short period of time? Their very first welcome email looked like this:



It did the job... but the design was old, the CTA was unclear, and it didn’t give subscribers a very cohesive brand experience. Compare that with this gorgeous campaign:



It’s much more straightforward: You can effortlessly find the promised discount code, and you get an immediate look at some of GoldieBlox’s product offerings. Plus, it allows their team to collect data about what people engage with, so they can create targeted segments and send them the most relevant content going forward. Since switching over, their welcome email clicks are up 8%, and opens are up 6%!



Show the ladies in your life some love

Galentine’s Day (a play on Valentine’s Day made famous by none other than Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope) celebrates female friendships in lieu of romantic relationships. In this case, it provided the perfect opportunity for the GoldieBlox team to showcase their kick-butt female characters.

Comprised of just a header, hero image, some live text, and a CTA, this campaign was simple but incredibly effective: It directly contributed to 10% of their overall sales for the month!



Their team was also able to learn a few key takeaways from the results of this mailing and use them to inform their strategy moving forward. The biggest ones? Emails that don’t contain a bunch of squared off images feel less like ads, and their audience absolutely loves when they weave characters like Goldie Blox and Ruby Rails into their marketing story.



Get involved with an awesome mission

Organized by the National Board of Female Engineers, “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” Day gave GoldieBlox a chance to share their mission to their email audience. To celebrate, they sent out a personal letter from Debbie explaining how she was first introduced to engineering as a young girl.



The heartwarming story really resonated with their audience, and the open rate for this campaign was 10% higher than their regular sends – most likely a result of the from name,“Debbie Sterling, CEO of GoldieBlox."This email helped them nurture their pre-established advocates and introduce their values to people who weren’t as familiar with the brand.



Celebrate summer with all things bright and beautiful

Though GoldieBlox is fortunate enough to have a professional illustrator on staff, it took their team a while to really start incorporating those fantastic visual assets into their email marketing.



But when they did, the results spoke for themselves: That beautiful header got an unprecedented amount of clicks. Sure, the 30% off deal probably helped, but it proved that putting bright, eye-catching imagery and a CTA above the fold does wonders for amping up conversions.



Learn to code (via rockets and cupcakes, of course)



GoldieBlox just released their second app – Adventures in Coding: The Rocket Cupcake Co. It’s a story-driven experience that teaches girls as young as 4 the fundamentals of coding. Cool, huh?

Well, this part is even cooler – the app directly ties into their email program. Not only did their email announcement lead to 10% of app downloads, but when people enter their email address into the app itself, they’re added to GoldieBlox’s Emma audience. That segment also gets opted into a three-part date-based automated email series, the “Birthday Club.”



The ambitious project required a little help to get up and running, so our Technical Services team created some custom forms and did work on the backend to ensure it ran as smoothly as possible. Now, all of the info the GoldieBlox team collects through their Birthday Club form flows directly into their Emma account, and each new user is assigned a unique, trackable coupon code that’s sent through an automated email.

It’s a fantastic instance of email working in harmony with your larger marketing ecosystem, even outside the inbox. We can’t wait to see what kind of big results this campaign produces – and all the big things in store for GoldieBlox in the years to come!



We recently hosted a Q&A with Jayme Brown and Molly McDonald of GoldieBlox. You can watch the full recording here.


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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