Author: Chris Pearson, Partner & Email Marketing Specialist at 3BM

Humans can’t go more than about three days without water (generally speaking). 

When I learned this little tidbit, I was surprised how we all live on the verge of “death by dehydration.” 

If someone catches a string of bad days, not getting water, they could shrivel up and die. 

That’s wild to me. 

So, I went in search of “hydration brands” that are doing things a bit different than most. 

In fact… 

This auto-delivery program offer is solid. 

So, I thought I’d break the email down for brands who want to offer a subscription, but aren’t quite sure how or why. 

Here’s the brand: 

Hint Water is on a mission to help you fall in love with water

Surprisingly enough, there’s a swath of people who dislike drinking water, even though it’s required to survive. 

So, Hint is here to make water not boring. 

Here’s what Hint says about when they started the brand: 

“Back when we started Hint in 2005, our motto was Drink Water, Not Sugar. Our mission to this day is to help people fall in love with water — fruit-infused water that is perfectly delicious and perfectly good for them — so they can live healthier lives.”

Rules: The Email Muse

Each week, I venture through the marketing wilderness to find highly-effective ecommerce sales emails… and I shine a light on what made them work. 

My goal with this weekly tangle with the email muse is to teach you strategies and tactics you can use with your emails.  

Where do I find these magical electronic pieces of mail? My inbox, mostly, since I’m signed up to lists that I want to be on. I also take suggestions from readers who have a stellar email they’d like to share. 

Did you get an email recently that made you smile, your eyes tear up, or flat out gut punched you? I want to see it. 

Forward the email to me at (chris at threebeaconmarketing dot com) with a brief note about what you liked about it. If I choose to break it down, I’ll give you a shoutout and link back to your site. 

And no forwarding me your own emails. That’s the only rule. 


Let’s get started.

Subject Line: Pain Point in a Question

Questions naturally evoke curiosity. Questions that target a pain point get the click: 

Pain points in question form get attention + affirmation from the ideal client to nod “yes” and click the email.

When you’re making a direct offer, it can get better opens and clicks when you’re direct, on-the-nose, and to the point. 

Clever typically loses to clear and concise. 

Branded Image Plus a Punny CTA

Humor is a great way to inject personality, even if it does risk offending someone, somewhere, at some point in time: 

The branded image plus punny CTA adds voice and personality to the email experience. 

While I tend to stay away from images like this in email (due to the “50kb per email rule” for images), this image and copy adds to the experience, since the rest of the email is a direct offer for the auto ship program. 

Hint includes a new product in this announcement for the auto-delivery program. “New” tends to get attention because humans are naturally drawn to the novel and new for a variety of reasons. 

I’d even test using “Do yourself a flavor… with THIS” as a subject line. And, I’d make it come from a person at Hint Water to make it more personal, as well as give the pun more weight, since it’s coming from a person and not a brand. 

In either case, I think this is one of the rare exceptions that an image like this actually adds to the email instead of distracting from the offer and message. 

Opening Line: “Hi” and Dives Right Into Offer

Hint Water wastes no time “throat clearing” in their email and dives right into the offer: 

Here, we have the “answer” to the question in the subject line with a simple formula. 

The easiest way to X is Y. 

Here’s how Hint Water uses it: 

Question: “Having a hard time drinking enough water?” 

Answer: “The easiest way to remember to drink enough water (and save more $$) is with


They add in the benefit that you’ll save money with the auto delivery program, which gives the subscriber even more reason to read the next line–and potentially the rest of the email. 

The remainder of this opening paragraph does a few different things. 

First, it offers the auto-delivery program as a subscription membership. It also mentions the new flavor “Hint+ Vitamin,” in case the subscriber missed that in the image. And, it adds more detail on how you’ll save money on this program–a per bottle savings. 

Second, Hint addresses the first objection: price. What’s this “too good to be true” subscription going to cost me because every subscription model costs money, right? Not quite. Hint states directly that their subscription model is FREE, as well as offering a “variety of members only perks and benefits.” 

This means, the customer gets a less expensive per bottle price, points awarded per dollar spent, and delivery of product to their front door. 

A pretty damn good offer, if you ask me. 

But, Hint isn’t done laying it on the customer yet…

The Offer Deets and Terms

Hint Water gets even more specific on how the customer will save when they join the auto-delivery program: 

You’ve probably heard this: 

The specifics sell. 

In most cases, the more specific you can get, the better. Why? We want to give the customer something tangible to grasp onto, either in their mind or in their hand (or both). 

This means that when we’re talking about something ethereal like price or concepts or ideas, we want to give the customer a way to insert this suggestion into their own lives. It gives the customer a “reality” they can actually see in their mind. This makes the offer more “real” to the customers instead of “white noise” with the rest of the market. 

Hint Water gets super specific with: 

  • A percentage off discount per case
  • How much members pay per case compared to non-members
  • The $1 reward points program
  • Being able to mix and match flavors to your heart’s desire
  • Members save on exclusive flavors and smashups
  • Be the first to know about new drops
  • Unlimited free shipping with every 3-case order

This subscription model is doing two BIG things for Hint Water.

First, it’s increasing Average Order Value. This means customers are spending more per order, which means the brand is widening margins with every single purchase. 

Second, Hint Water is accelerating the customer’s time to target Lifetime Value. If you know how much each customer is worth to your brand on average, it means you can estimate how much you can spend to get a new customer into the business –and your rate of return on that investment. 

Here’s why knowing lifetime value is important. 

While 99% of brands are focused on reducing their Customer Acquisition Cost, the smart brands are increasing their Customer Lifetime Value (aka how much a customer spends with your brand over their time with the brand). 

This is because if you know you can get $300 out of a customer once they’re in your brand, you can spend $300 to get them. 

And, if you’ve ever done math, the more you can afford to spend on a customer, the more likely you are to beat out your competition for market share.

You can quite literally buy your competition out of the market. 

If your competition can only spend $50 to get a customer, but you can spend $300, that means you’re able to keep your doors open for longer. Your competition will eventually go under because something like 90% of businesses close their doors after 10 years.

And, the added pressure of you buying up market share from your competitors makes it even more difficult for them to keep their doors open. 

Business is not a finite game, it’s infinite. 

The 10% of businesses that stay open know how to play the infinite game. 

Being able to spend more to acquire customers helps keep your doors open and your brand alive. 

Objection Handling: Shipping, Delivery, Flexibility, and More

Hint Water addresses the main objections directly after sharing the details of their subscription program: 

With every offer comes objections… 

Address the objections. These are the reasons people WILL NOT buy unless you give them a reason to buy. 

The “reason to buy” is simply addressing the objections customers have to handing over their cold hard cash (or credit card). 

The BIG objections Hint Water addresses are as follows: 

  • Frequency of delivery
  • Control over delivery dates and time
  • Flavor choice and flexibility
  • Managing orders online vs. over the phone
  • Cancellation

If you’re a customer of Hint Water, then this offer is a no brainer. It gives you all the great flavors you want WITHOUT the hassle of having to get it at the store yourself OR reorder online every time you need more product. 

As a subscription member, you also get exclusive access to the new Hint Water drops, which makes the customer feel like an insider. Any time you can make someone feel special for being a part of the “in group,” it typically increases money spent on a product and time spent with the brand. 

Ultimately, the customer gets a discount for making it easier on themselves to stay hydrated. 

What You Learned

Here’s the tl;dr of what you learned today: 

  • Clear and concise typically out performs clever. 
  • When making direct offers, don’t “throat clear.” Get to the offer. 
  • Use this formula to tie your offer to solving the customer’s pain: “The easiest way to X is Y.”
  • If you want to future pace with the above formula, do this: “The easiest way to X is Y, so you can Z.” 
  • Specific typically sells more than vague. Get specific on how the offer benefits the customer and gets them the outcome they want. 
  • Being able to spend more to get customers is an advantage not many brands can leverage. Use it to your advantage to gain more market share. This starts with increasing AOV and CLV. 
  • Handle objections directly. Objections are the reasons customers WILL NOT buy, so you can’t ignore them if you want to sell. 

Now what?

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