Creating an Email Strategy that Burns Bright

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The Goal

  • Deploy email as part of building a new brand.
  • Work with strategy and managed services to create email campaigns.
  • Seamlessly build the list and market based on acquisition source.

The Approach

  • Contract with Bronto managed services for strategy and email execution.
  • Use Pop-Up Manager and text-to-join strategy to acquire customers.
  • Help engage them with a welcome series, cart recovery and post-purchase email campaigns.

The Result

  • Quick development and execution of email campaigns.
  • List growth averaging 2% a day.
  • Welcome and cart series convert at 4x that of promotional emails and post-purchase messages convert at 6x that of promotional emails.

Creating an Email Strategy that Burns Bright

Startups have a difficult choice to make – spend precious marketing dollars hiring staff to execute on programs or allocate the budget to experienced vendors and spend valuable time managing the process.

Disruptive Enterprises Chief Marketing Officer Todd Cantrell chose the latter, but without losing precious time. The company’s new KetoLogic brand’s email program is fully executed from strategy to campaign deployment by Bronto. Cantrell describes the relationship “as like an extension of my marketing team. I can draw on the skillset of a team that has worked with many other companies.”

The results have included a welcome series that drives half of email-generated revenue and a list growth strategy that has helped the subscriber base grow 20 times over in just the past six months.

Out With the Old

Prior to the switch, Masterson spent what he considered to be way too much time building out workflows. He also couldn’t see how items featured within an email were performing. He said he didn’t even realize how much of the latter mattered until he gained that functionality in Bronto. “It’s helped me be so much more strategic about what we feature in our emails,” he says. “Before, I could only see how a campaign performed in terms of overall product order amount.”

And the workflows opened numerous possibilities to segment his list with each group’s interests in mind. He could build segments in his previous platform, but it was time-consuming. So the professors that wanted just informational emails about when they needed to place their book orders were kept separate from the promotional list that offered specials on Duck football shirts. But further segmentation based on other categories, such as alumni or students, were harder to create.

“I used to program all the workflows myself,” Masterson says. “With Bronto, the user interface is really easy. For example, I can set up workflows that automatically add new subscribers without having to touch the code, which is great.” And when he brought a new person on to work solely on email, the Message Editor played a key role in helping the person quickly and easily build the emails themselves, until his new colleague became more proficient in HTML.

Helping People Lose Weight

KetoLogic markets nutritional supplements, meal replacement drinks and electrolyte powders that support people on ketogenic diets – an eating plan low in carbs and high in certain types of fats. The diet is gaining in popularly among people trying to lose weight because it can quell hunger. It is also used by people with certain medical conditions.

When Cantrell joined the parent company (Disruptive), it was using a bare bones email provider that offered few service options and a platform that didn’t allow for sophisticated segmentation, automated abandoned cart emails or personalization. Cantrell said he knew he didn’t want to buy email from a provider, and then hire an agency to build and send the emails through that provider. “I didn’t want to deal with a fragmented customer service experience,” he said.

He worked with Bronto at a previous company and signed on. When the KetoLogic brand was launched, he chose to add strategy and managed services to plan, build and deploy their email campaigns. “You can go it alone and try to figure it out and it takes twice as long. Or you draw on the knowledge of a team like Bronto.”

Building a Brand

At this stage in KetoLogic’s brand life, email’s role in driving revenue is small, but setting it up is key to retain customers acquired through other channels. Because the diet doesn’t (yet) have the name recognition of programs like Atkins or Weight Watchers, Cantrell’s strategy involves television ads and a robust social presence. Email helps educate purchasers on the lifestyle diet that the products support. Cantrell knows from previous roles that email provides that connection to customers who have engaged with your brand.

Building From the Ground Up

When KetoLogic’s email program consisted of a list with less than 600 subscribers, Bronto’s Managed Services team set out to craft the channel with an eye toward measuring what works and what needs tuning. Their strategist looked at the best timing for a pop-up message on the website to acquire subscribers and created a form that didn’t ask for too much information, but enough to help with segmention. For the television ads, KetoLogic uses Bronto’s text-to-join function to display a text number that leads to an email signup. And for customers found through social channels, Bronto’s Socialite solution helps feed subscriber information into the contact database. The results: The list has averaged a 2% daily increase in the first five months, and it grew by 32% during January, the favorite month to start diets.

To help engage the list, Bronto’s strategists and creative team built out an automated welcome series, a multi-touch abandoned cart email series (for those that add products to their cart, but don’t buy them) and post-purchase refill reminders.

The welcome series converts at a rate 4x times that of promotional emails, and post-purchase messages convert at 6x times the rate – with revenue per email of $4.49. Click-throughs on all messages average 22% and are consistent across the various campaigns. The welcome series is also personalized depending on the acquisition source – pop-up, text-to-join or a content download.

It was the cart recovery results that made Cantrell a believer in the value of using Bronto’s Cart Recovery instead of the basic cart abandonment options packaged with most ecommerce platforms. Cart recovery tracks abandoned carts from the moment a customer carts an item. Many cart apps only trigger a message after a person begins the checkout process.

KetoLogic’s abandoned cart emails convert at 4x the average for the promotional messages with order values as high as $184, a 42.7% open rate and a 20.8% click rate.

Staying Connected with Shopify Plus

KetoLogic is on the Shopify Plus ecommerce platform, which Cantrell says works out particularly well as Bronto has a robust connector. “The implemention with Shopify Plus took less than 30 days giving us a seamless connection between our email and commerce platform,” Cantrell says. “I know the team at Bronto gains a lot of automation options because of the connector, so everything gets done more quickly.”

Cantrell said the first few months of launching the brand and building out the email component were very fast paced. And at every stage, the Managed Services team delivered. “They’ve given us unparalleled service and met every deadline, even getting work done well before the deadline. We cranked through a ton of stuff and Bronto delivered.”

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