Brooklyn arts and culture company, Kill Screen, had been operating as a magazine and a website for two years when their team decided they wanted to do more with their email marketing. Instead of simply republishing content they’d made elsewhere, they hoped to find a new way to connect with the modern gamer—a person who’s often too busy to read a longform essay but still wants fun games to play on the regular.
"From the beginning, we’ve been focused on ‘bringing games to culture and culture to games,'" Kill Screen Director of Business Development, Tom Gregorio, tells MailChimp. "We have lots of interested friends who stopped playing games somewhere along the way to adulthood, or perhaps never even started, and the most common question we get from them is, ‘What should I be playing now?’ It was clear most of them weren’t reading the deep dives we publish on our site, so we needed a quick, digestible piece of weekly content to answer that question.
What they came up with is Playlist, a simple, weekly email that highlights a handful of new games worth playing. For each title, there’s a screenshot, a quick review, a link for download/purchase, and a recommended-if-you-like style blurb explaining what type of person might enjoy the game and in what situation—in line at the post office, all weekend on the couch—that person might play it. It’s a quick, fun read that’s easily scannable.
"Email made perfect sense because Playlist was designed to help capture the segment of our audience that doesn’t typically read gaming websites anyway," Tom says. "It’s the perfect, bite-sized bit of Kill Screen to suggest to an interested friend."
Perhaps most helpful is the little timer icon and pithy phrase they use to indicate how much time is required to play each game. Options range from "Three measly seconds" to "One solid domestic flight" to "Months. Maybe years." This little detail is a pretty helpful one, especially since some of Playlist’s readers aren’t hardcore gamers. "Games can be such a time-consuming process: 20, 50, even 80-plus hours to play some of the big titles that are released each year," Tom says. "We wanted our readers to know what they were getting into before making that commitment. We try to keep a good mix of titles and platforms, especially mobile, so there’s something for everyone every week."
Best of all, Playlist is a low-maintenance-high-ROI property for Kill Screen. "Without even doing much in the way of marketing, Playlist has become one of our fastest growing audiences," Tom says. "We put a widget at the top of our site to encourage signups [see above], and constantly recommend it to folks interested in Kill Screen as a great place to start. It’s given us a great opportunity to expand our reach while also offering a value-add for our readers. We’re really against spamming our readers with marketing emails. Instead, people sign up for Playlist because they actually enjoy the content. Which is a win-win for everyone."