How can you take a really awesome brick & mortar brand and help them build a sustainable ecommerce business? It ain’t no easy feat, I’ll tell you that! It also can’t happen overnight, mostly like Rome. The power email marketing has to increase revenue though...it's uncanny!
How it went? Well, as with any effort this size, it was definitely an uphill battle that had its occasional downfalls, but if you follow our blog and/or case studies you know by now that we’re nothing if not up for a challenge.
doughp Case Study Highlights:
- Doughp’s set-up pre-CodeCrew
- How to fix a bad email list? (steps)
- Tier 2 - make it or break it. (stats)
- Break up & the sweet, sweet make-up.
- How do we increase email marketing revenue even more?
1. Doughp’s Set-up pre-CodeCrew
What were Doughp’s analytics before our time? Well, we’re not too sure in all honesty, and we didn’t want to bother Kelsey, the ball of energy that Doughp Cookie Dough’s owner is, with our nonsense. Google Analytics was not properly set-up for ecommerce tracking so our crystal ball can only see as far as mid-September 2019. We also knew that the trailing 8 months saw really small online revenue. Not even enough to justify hiring a company like ours, to be honest, but we did see A LOT of potential in the delicious dough that Kelsey’s brand had, and just how awesome her brick & mortar stores were doing. Kelsey, being the cunning entrepreneur she is, knew that growing her e-comm channel was a necessity to grow Doughp into a world-dominating business, so it made sense to push forward hard in this direction and get the ball rolling as quickly and deeply as possible.
So we set out to pour some gasoline on what Kelsey has built, but in the digital world. First thing’s first - the website. Their website was based on a platform called Square, and it was this weird mix of awareness-type and ecomm, doing a good job at being online but a poor job at ever being able to drive more eCommerce sales than those they were already tasting.We designed an absolutely kickass website for them and coded it from scratch for Shopify, just to be able to optimize it that much more.
That said, I’ll leave these screenshots here for you to feast your eyes on. Kelsey, never one to rest, is always looking for the next app or program that can help the conversion process, so the site may be slightly different since we last handed the keys off to the client. The website might have changed a bit between then and now, since clients are always on their toes looking for the next best way of optimizing things, so we wanted to make sure you get the best taste of our original ideation and execution from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Take a closer
look at individual
page layouts and
be inspired by
as the ideal solution
for every customer
Want to see what the site looks like now? Go ahead - check it out and enjoy for yourself just how wonderful of an experience the site is, even after the installation/modification of a few snippets since we last touched it: https://www.doughp.com/. Doughn’t forget to buy some Doughp while you’re there - it’s delicious in ways you never imagined a sweet treat could be.
With that done and dusted (jeez, it sure is easier said than done...let me track back). 3 months and a bit of round-the clock work later, putting in late shifts and weekend shifts together in a huge push of having a new home by the time the winter Holidays hit, the site was done. What a beaute! We celebrated, clapped and rejoiced as we were ready for stage two of our build-out - email.
2. How to fix a bad email list?
Jeez! There I go making things look a million times easier than they are again. All the while, our strategy team was hard at work on figuring out what to do with email. What did we have to work with? Around 25,000 contacts, and about 99 problems, but a list ain’t one. Deliverability? Uuuughh…! List quality? Ooooh! Dude... going back down memory lane isn’t as beautiful as we sometimes like to make it.
Open rates were ranging in the 14-18% realm, click rates were low and a big, BIG chunk of the list seemed flatlined, which is the natural outcome of less than perfect, in-store, lead generation tactics. So, how do you improve an email list that’s that bad? Here’s how:
- We started by running some re-engagement campaigns, in the hopes that we’ll be able to save some of those drowning contacts and whip them back into shape.
- Deliverability improvement by improving DNS settings and significantly improving messaging styling and content. As we always like to say...design is key for a successful email marketing program! After hearing from countless contacts on multiple client accounts just how much they love our design team’s work (when most companies are struggling just to get any kind of engagement from their list), it goes to be said that strong design really makes a massive difference on an email program’s efficacy.
- Our strategy team devised a way to approach the email program without eating too much into the budget of a client that was already spending on a complete website rebuild.
- We revamped the whole on-site lead generation program, and put a plug on facebook-driven leads since they were unfortunately pretty worthless, and were costing the client a pretty buck too.
The re-engagement campaign wasn’t as unsuccessful as we were fearing when we went into it, in all honesty. We did manage to retain a good percentage of that massively unengaged list and whip them into shape, and we cleaned the ~8k contacts that just couldn’t be saved because they were doing more harm than good to the overall program’s health.
Unfortunately, these low-quality lists that we removed ended up tanking Doughp’s deliverability to some of the lowest levels we’ve ever seen in a program, and had taken quite a long while to recover from. Intense segmentation, strategic sending and heavily throttled campaigns helped put Doughp’s email program back on the right track which we were able to start building back off of. Despite our best recommendations here, the client did want to make triple sure that we retain even the deepest sleep-walking contact in that list, so we had to drag that weight around for, probably, two months or more than we would have wanted to keep it.
Okay, now we’re back on the correct timeline, phew! We’re on Shopify now, and things are going better from an ecommerce perspective, with online sales growing at a good rate MoM. What next? Honey, pack your things, we’re moving! Off we went from MailChimp to a platform that could actually support growth, and the choice was made easy for us by the guys at Klaviyo and their kickass integrations. The trip wasn’t long or hard, thanks to Klaviyo’s robust connections, and no, nobody ever needed to ask “are we there yet?”, we all saw what happened to the one and only Ice Cube on that trip.
Once we unpacked our bags and settled in our new home - Klaviyo - we quickly got to redecorating the place with beautifully-styled and heavily dynamicised emails that would hit contacts at just the right time and provide the most personalized content possible. With what was still only a relatively small allotment of messaging included in Doughp’s agreement, we were able to leverage Klaviyo’s vastly superior dynamic content capabilities to craft emails whose performance continued to increase MoM while we ran our complex A/B test scenarios and picked winners.
This is how one of our email designs made for Doughp indulges all hip
Doughp customers into
buying a delicious piece
of edible & bakeable tasty cookie dough.
3. Tier 2 email marketing - make it or break it.
We were now at the 7 month mark, when the CodeCrew Guarantee kicked in. What’s that?! Well, it’s this NOICE mention we have in all of our contracts where - if the client’s program doesn’t see a solid ROI from us by the end of the 6th month, we work for them for free until they do. We can hear you through your screen now - “NOOOOO! Nobody does that! That’s bollocks!” ...Which is exactly why we do it. We put our money where our mouth is - why would you hire an agency of experts who don’t back up their word? We also know we’re too good to ever fail at this, it’s a good safety net to have. It’s like you’d second guess Steve Nash on netting a free-throw. It just doesn’t happen, the guy was in the 90’s percentile. Savage.
We were just scraping by the CodeCrew guarantee, so we decided we’d do one of two things, we either throw the free month in - since we were just barely making more ROI, or make her a wager. What we would do is work a month for free (completely) on our next highest offering - Tier 2, or - if we hit a certain sales mark, we’d automatically bump them to Tier 2 so we can provide that much more value.
Said and done and...what does that translate to in stats for us for the next few months? Well, here we go.
- The first three months of 2020 saw an email marketing revenue increase of 5x versus the full 2019 year (SAY WUT?!) yeah, you heard me well and good, boy! Don’t make mama say things twice.
- That also means that Q1 of 2020 brought in 17.65X more revenue than Q4 of 2020.
- March alone brought a whopping 2.5X email marketing revenue increase compared to all months since January 2019. Right…? Right…? That’s what I’m talking about!
We saw massive opportunities lying there. With a fixed list, that now had deliverability in the 99% range (versus the ridiculously low ones started off with), a new home for their ecomm as well as the email program, and a foundation of kickass designs, we set off to create a good few workflows and campaigns that brought March at the peak of revenue.
4. Break up & sweet, sweet make-up (spoiler alert)!
Break up & the sweet, sweet make-up (spoiler alert)!
What next? Well, this part of the story is a bit unfortunate, but if you’ll ever work with us you’ll see that we’re uber transparent people so we’ll spill the beans here as well. Doughp started working with a social promotion agency that also happened to do email (an over-statement. They emailed us to ask for help less than a week after taking the account) as a side-gig. While they admitted to Kelsey that their emails wouldn’t look nearly as good as ours (her words, not mine), they made her an offer that was some $1500 cheaper than their spend with us, so she decided to dump us and take a chance with them. We were distraught! So much hard work, seemingly down the drain. Our beautifully aBreak up & the sweet, sweet make-up (spoiler alert)!mazing case study, poof - gone.
Why didn’t we counter and be flexible? Well, it’s quite easy. We felt that our job of proving ourselves was done. We came from literally zero, to where - as of 4/15 the program we built (with no interaction as of yet) has workflows trekking well over 6.5X more revenue than the program did for the wholeness of 2019. On auto-pilot. Not bad, if I do say so myself. What more can we do, really?
It’s true that we also know our value quite frankly. And we know that our designs alone rank us in the first 5-10 US email marketing agencies. When you top that with over 20 years of cumulative experience from the strategy to the technical aspects of only email marketing, and the fact that we merely charge half of what the other email-specific agencies charge, this was a clear no-go for us. For some, it makes sense to save on a package deal, but for others, the value and higher ROI from a specialized agency is a natural choice.
We take pride in only doing email marketing. Does that sound silly? Well, to tell you quite frankly, we’re now a team of 15 that’s handing email marketing for some 8 paying brands and a handful of non-paying NGO’s as part of our attempt to be ‘emailing for a sustainable Earth’, and it’s a huge handful every other day. I can’t imagine how some agencies think that with a team of 10-ish, they can do a million different channels. It’s impossible, it really is, at least if you plan on doing any of these channels well.
You can only be really good at one thing at a time to tell you the truth. Unless you’re this juggernaut of an agency with some 150+ employees, of course. Even then, we see way more value in having a team be laser-focused on doing one thing perfectly, especially when that one thing also happens to be the highest ROAS-driving marketing channel out there.
Did we make up with Kelsey? To tell you the truth we looked up those guys she was ready to work with and saw what they were doing. We had some internal bets that within 3-5 months we’d be talking again, especially since we were still around the ESP while they started making changes and we were honestly shocked to see some of the decisions they were making. Goodbye, best practices!
20 days. What?! It took 20 days to re-sign Kelsey on Tier 2. Again...WHAT?! We told you before, Kelsey is a really smart cookie (see what I did there?!). There was no way that she could go without us for longer. Seeing that by late April nothing in her email program was changing for the better, and having had a couple of campaigns run extremely late by sloppy work and really difficult client-agency collaboration, she had seen enough. It just so happened that she knew exactly what she needed to do to get her email program back up and running towards a better-than-ever direction. Call these guys.
How do we increase email marketing revenue even more?
We already know what to do here, we need to do a deep-dive audit and see exactly how much got broken. We’re a week in and have already been fixing things left and right. We need to fine-tune a couple of older flows that we were planning on improving, we have plans on building around 3 new ones while we continue to shell out these amazingly beautiful, high engaging one-off campaigns.
Need us to have a look at your program and see if we can help? We’re good boys and gals, you’ll have fun working with us, just drop us a line.
Enjoyed this case study and you’re curious if it’s a one-off? Heck no! We build a case study for each and every client we have - successful or not. Some of them are published on the site, but ask us and we’ll send you all of them for you to feast your eyes on them and decide if we’re a good fit or not. We’re an open book - ask us any question you ever have, challenge us, we’re never one to beat around the bush and you shouldn’t accept an agency that does. Your success is our success, so we’re always more than happy to share our knowledge, wins, and even losses whenever they happen. The higher the increase in revenue email marketing brings you, the more kickass case studies we have. Get in touch with your future email marketing experts today.
Or read our case study on Final's email marketing program.