Hyper-relevant Messaging: Uber's Email to SF Last Weekend

As everyone from San Francisco knows, there was a lot going on in the city last weekend.  There were probably more people talking about how much there was going on, than there were people who talked about each event or ended up going to them.

Based on all the buzz about the buzz, it was cool that I got an email from Uber telling me to prepare for the weekend.  I signed up for the service last month, but haven’t used it yet, and this brought them top-of-mind for me.

Uber’s email was a smart idea because it achieved a few things.

1. Solidarity

The email was relevant on a city level, but more importantly, it felt personal because it joined the conversation on a trending topic that was simultaneously taking over my Facebook newsfeed.  It showed that Uber was on the pulse of the city’s happenings, not just as a service-provider, but as part of the city itself.

2. Trust

It also showed that Uber was anticipating a spike in demand and planning accordingly.  People want to know that the products/services that they spend money on are reliable and worthwhile.  With this email, Uber reinforced their competence and reminded users to trust their service.  It’s good to have someone a few steps ahead of you on your side.

3. Relevance

It was a chance to provide messaging to users in a timely and appropriate way.  The email was positioned as helpful tips, meaning, “You should read this if you want a smooth ride experience in the midst of crowds of tourists and traffic.”  Answering the question of “What does this have to do with me?” gets people to read the email.

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My minor feedback for improving the email is to list the advice.  "There will be massive demand this weekend" is a statement, not a tip.  

Also, use the Rule of Three, instead of lumping disparate items of #2 and #3 into one line.  

So the improved version (latter half of the email) would look like this:

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1. Be aware that surge pricing will be in effect.

Due to the massive demand this weekend, surge pricing will be in effect….

2. Give your driver a call.

If you need to contact your driver, just….

3. Request away from crowds.

 It will be much easier to find a ride….

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I still haven’t used Uber yet, but they did a good job on this communications piece.  What are some opportunities for your brand to reach out to customers in a hyper-relevant way?  

UncategorizedWes Kao