Trek Bikes is the largest U.S. manufacturer of bicycles and related products. While Trek may be best known for its bike ridden by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, much of the Wisconsin-based company’s growth stems from more mainstream consumers.
Trek relies on e-mail marketing campaigns to communicate with its customers for notification of new Trek bikes available at local retailers, drive traffic to the Trek website, and to communicate with Trek dealers. “Our email campaigns play a pivotal role in driving traffic to our website as well as keeping our customers informed of new products and specials,” explained Marc Richards, web services manager for Trek. “We needed an email marketing partner who could ensure successful delivery and provide valuable insight to new strategies we can implement to help boost our deliverability and conversion rates.” Also, considering the importance of its email marketing programs, Trek could not afford to risk making a bad impression with potential buyers because of inconsistencies in their e-mail design.
Trek collected an extensive list of email addresses during the 2005 and 2006 Tour De France races and website contests. Trek began their email-marketing program by using an in-house solution, over time this proved to be too cumbersome a process given their growing list size and need for list management. After a year of working with an in-house solution, Trek began working with an ESP, but was overall not pleased with their provider and the service that they provided
In early June 2007, Trek was faced with one of their largest product releases, the consumer release of the highly anticipated all-new Madone bike. Trek designed an overarching marketing campaign, which combined email marketing along with print and paid search campaigns. In order for the product release to be successful, all marketing campaigns must work in sync.
Trek knew they needed to switch to a provider who could better fit their growing needs. Soon after they found Bronto, “We were very happy with the price and service that Bronto could offer us,” notes Casey Kohner B2C e-commerce manager. Casey mentions, “Customer service greatly improved when switching to Bronto. We ended up paying less for better services; it was a win-win situation.” Casey goes on to point out, “With our previous provider we were basically handed the program and offered little customer support. With Bronto, we received solid customer service, and we love working with an application where multiple Trek employees can use without difficulty.”
Today, Trek primarily relies on Bronto to help drive customers to the Trek website (found at www.trekbikes. com). In addition, Trek uses Bronto to send branded communications to targeted customers informing them of new products and/or promotions such as its new “Project One” process for purchasing customized Trek bicycles. Monthly email newsletters and other campaign-specific emails have proven to be a successful and cost-effective method of communication with Trek contacts.
Best Practices in Action
In order to promote their well-recognized brand name and image, Trek has worked to produce an email marketing format, which best represents their brand. “We’re very vigilant with regards to our brand and how it appears to our customers,” says Web Art Director Ken Soliva. “We realized the issues with our messages and have begun to address them proactively.” Trek worked diligently to exhibit outstanding email marketing practices through:
- Linking sent emails to an online version
- Balancing text and images
- Allowing plenty of space to surround the image and text block
- Including important messaging above the fold, the top third of the email
- Including a call to action with a promise rather than the typical click here trap
- Always including their physical address and a clear unsubscribe link
Through these techniques, Trek consistently delivers a very professional image, which helps to insure their consumers make the connection between Trek’s recognized brand name and the email they received.
To assure the best email delivery possible Trek employed a double opt-in email acceptance process. “Given the state of email marketing we were adamant that we needed to assure that our delivery list is clean and that our users are truly interested in receiving our mailing,” notes Kohner. As part of a strategic overall campaign, Trek sends out various email campaigns including Trek University, Dealer Newsletters, and product emails segmented by brands including the Fuel, Lime, and All-new Madone bikes.
Bronto’s comprehensive analytics and reporting features help Trek understand the effectiveness of email campaigns as it provides insights into how email drives website traffic and ultimately conversion to a sale. Based on this information, Trek can adjust their email campaigns to ensure increased open rates, deliverability, and response rates.
One prime example of Trek’s success using Bronto was evident in the product release of the all-new Madone bike. “We dedicated a good portion of the campaign to email marketing and saw fantastic results. Customers would print out the email featuring the Madone bike and bring it to their local stores. We couldn’t have asked for better results,” stated Kohner. By utilizing email marketing, Trek’s all-new Madone email campaign generated:
- 50% Clicked to Open Rate (Percentage of contacts who clicked on a message out of those who opened the message)
- 36% Open Rate
- 18% Click Through Rate
In contrast, the industry average for the e-commerce/retail sector is 13.9% open and a 3.7% click-thru rate, confirming that Trek’s email marketing campaign is a top performing and crucial piece of their overall marketing strategy.
Trek has since recognized email marketing as the easiest and fastest way to get information into customer’s hands. Since the product release campaign, Trek is still shipping the all-new Madone models to fill dealer orders as fast as they are produced.
Other Trek product releases have generated fantastic results including a 99.7% delivery rate, 70% open rate, and a 43.1% click through rate. Casey notes, “I’m a numbers junkie, and with the Bronto reporting tools I can easily see how our campaigns are performing. By organizing email campaigns for 4 releases, it was very clear that email marketing was the highest performing marketing element.”