Thank you for joining us while we take a look at an amazing email marketing case study that came out of the journey we've been on with the sweet people from FinalStraw.
It's incredible how much you can accomplish when collaboration goes together with talent and strategy to turbocharge what the FinalStraw. team has masterfully created. Being able to join the movement that these amazing sustainability evangelists and their backers have created has been nothing short of a humbling experience.
We’re not only able to bring amazing results, but we’re also having a blast in the meantime. We are an email marketing agency, but you could easily say that we have a much more relaxed approach to being industry leaders.
FinalStraw Case Study Highlights:
- Intro - How we met FinalStraw and immediately hit it off
- Challenges we had to overcome and how we tackled them
- Did somebody say infographic? YES!
- More really utterly amazing stats.
- Evolving the brand’s design.
- We already did so much.
- But planning on doing so much more!
- Outro - delighted to take this journey with FinalStraw.
1. Intro - How we met FinalStraw and immediately hit it off.
It was a cold, stormy night…. Wait. Wrong story.
It was a lovely February afternoon when we here at CodeCrew first met Emma. What started as a cold email to a Shark Tank rockstar whose first words to us were “I literally never respond to these cold emails but I appreciate you taking the time to actually review our system. Your email certainly stands out in a sea of bs.” has flourished into a heck of a relationship, and we’re just getting started! But I digress…
Emma is one of those people who can spot BS a mile away and won’t think twice to set you straight if you’re crossing the line, and this is exactly why we hit it off so well so soon. Being a team whose sole missions are to make our clients more money than they know what to do with as well as being amicable, you really could say that our companies are two peas in a pod.
With absolutely incredible quotes from her such as “Code crew is amazing, I am blown away by their talent. I feel so lucky to have found them. Not only are they creative geniuses, they are kind and responsible humans.”, it’s no wonder why our SOs keep telling us that our egos are larger than the moon (and it’s no wonder why we had to include it in FinalStraw’s case study).
2. Challenges we had to overcome and how we tackled them
This all being said, as with any journey worth taking, there were some challenges that we as a team had to overcome. Casting discretion to the wind with the sole goal of creating the best possible designs and strategy for FinalStraw, we rolled up our sleeves and dove right into action.
After analysing the email program that FinalStraw had at that point in time, we used the data that was coming in to identify a couple of key factors we needed to structure our email strategy on. With these key findings in mind, we went on to craft a program which doesn’t just attend to the areas of improvement that we found, but also to the holistic nature at which each of these challenges would need to grow in order to turn into a sustainable program, rather than one focused on short-sighted wins.
Great engagement and below-par conversions
The first one that really caught our eye was how amazingly engaged their followers were. I mean, like, it was staggering to see really, with open rates ranging from 30% to 70% (yes, seven-zero-percent - crazy, right?). That said, while click rates were in a good neighborhood more often than not, actual conversions were pretty low, which immediately lead us to analysing the design, customer behavior and devices used. As with any company which sees high engagement yet low conversion, the interest is definitely there, but the structure and content of the email need to be optimized with best practices in mind.
We immediately drew the conclusion that for desktop devices, we needed to have much clearer calls to action and a better design flow that would not only deliver the message loud & clear but also entice the users to act upon it. It was already clear that the subscribers were hungry for the top-level information FinalStraw has been sending them, there was just that one last step that we needed to get across the line, which came to be resolved through a combination of more focused segmentation, and most importantly, a clearer design strategy/structure.
Mobile-first design for mobile-first users
The second and arguably most important takeaway we noted after analysing their program was that their subscribers are undeniably active folks. The amount of emails that were read on mobile was just so much more than desktop that the choice was really made for us - designing mobile-first layouts was an absolute must, and a focus on mobile design will be key to reaping huge rewards for FinalStraw.
FinalStraw, having built its brand styling upon fun, playful, and cute design, had a new direction in mind and we were right there to help build their new, modern, and if I do say so myself, AWESOME design styling that shows exactly why FinalStraw is the Final (get it? haha) word in environmentally-sustainable badassery (more specifically, reusable straw badassery).
After a few iterations, some trial & error, and getting closer with each design, we collectively struck gold and haven’t looked back since (except to ensure that our designs continue to meet and exceed FinalStraw’s expectations, of course). Sure, an updated design is a fantastic way to assert your brand’s character and really set it apart from the competition, but what else came of this process? I’ll let the stats speak for themselves:
3. Did somebody say infographic? YES!
- In only 3 and a half months, FinalStraw’s previously highest-grossing email was beat by nearly 2.5x in terms of revenue
- FinalStraw’s best month all-time had been bested by nearly $20,000 in revenue.
- In the same 3 and half month span, FinalStraw saw $6,000 more in revenue than their previous 11 months, combined.
- FinalStraw saw an increase of 410% in terms of units sold within the period of March - May vs their trailing 3 month period of December - February.
- FinalStraw saw their best ever month in May, grossing over 50% more revenue than their best month ever.
- 1310% ROI for the same three months
4. More really utterly amazing stats.
- In 3 and a half months, FinalStraw’s email program netted more revenue than they had earned in the previous 11 months. More specifically, in the course of 6 email sends, FinalStraw made over $5,000 more than they had in nearly a year’s worth of emails.
- In those same 3 and a half months, FinalStraw’s email program saw more than a 50% increase in revenue over their previous 3 months.
- FinalStraw’s highest-performing email since partnering with us saw them net almost 2.5x their previous highest-grossing email.
- When compared against the previous 3-month period before connecting with us here at CodeCrew, FinalStraw’s first 3 months saw a whopping 410% increase in sales. (Cue ego inflation)
- In terms of revenue, May was their best month ever by roughly 50% when compared to their next-best month since FinalStraw’s inception.
- 1310% ROI for the same three months period
5. Evolving the brand’s design.
With FinalStraw being laser-focused on evolving the brand’s overall design and moving towards more of a web-related design that speaks so much more vividly to the actual straw’s design, look, and feel itself; we went straight to work! Seeing as the FinalStraw’s design and construct are cutting-edge and super pleasing to the eye, we wanted to make sure that the evolution of FinalStraw’s email design peacefully coexisted and organically evolved with the product’s design itself, never being a nuisance or behind the curve with their overall program.
When working with a crowd as amazingly engaged like all of the truly incredible, environmentally aware and forward-thinking folks that follow FinalStraw’s constant updates with relentless determination, doing anything to harm what’s already been masterfully created by Emma and her impressive crew was nothing if not shooting one if the foot. We indeed needed to start modernizing the design bit by bit with each new marketing send, making sure that elements from the old get recognized in the new and that the progress is natural.
Approaching design with the entire program and product in mind, we knew that there was so much amazing content that we could leverage to move forward at a rapid pace while still retaining all of the elements that FinalStraw’s customers have come to know and love.
“Working together with Emma to rethink some of their designs and create a whole bunch of emails has been one of the most rewarding things we’ve had to do in the last couple of months. We’re not only able to bring amazing results, but we’re also having a blast in the meantime. We might be an email marketing agency, but you could easily say that we have a much more relaxed approach to being industry leaders.” - Alexandra Marin, CodeCrew’s Director of Design.
I’ll spare you the details and add some examples of what we started with and how we worked together with FinalStraw to come up with designs that are worth putting on the wall - if only the wall could play gifs -, setting as your screensaver, and heck, even adding to your Christmas cards.
6. We already did so much.
Ok, enough with the metrics for now - there’s still so much more to be said, and so little room before one of our co-founders threatens to cut me for running over the character limit.
Now where were we? Oh, that’s right - challenges.
It ain’t easy being ahead of the pack, but here at CodeCrew we’re not about monkey business. In fact, we so abhor it that we fully migrated FinalStraw from MailChimp to one of the many other ESPs that we work in and recommend, Klaviyo, in less than 1 month (let’s see your lesser email marketing agency do that!). Oh, and this was during MailChimp/Shopify’s widely-publicized breakup, so all of the fun that comes with that can be factored in as well. With a close-approaching deadline and our sights set on an ESP that allowed us to get granular on contact data, understand client behavior and activity, and have a better grasp on segmentation, we started hustling and never looked back.
Looking back, (whoops, I legitimately just said we never looked back like 2 seconds ago… well, this is awkward) not only did we migrate ESPs, but in the same 1-month period, we crafted a detailed action plan that we implemented which covered:
- Creating the correct workflows that could turbocharge what they were already doing well in the eCommerce space,
- Getting FinalStraw 100% compliant with GDPR/CASL international law,
- Solving GEO-IP issues and identifying customer locations,
- Fixing a bad list merger and recovering vital client information
- Cleaning their list with our proprietary list cleaning program in order to achieve a smaller sending cost for FinalStraw.
It’s only been a handful of months since all of this had been done, but we’re already seeing incredible results and so many wonderful wins.
The most important win though is Emma and FinalStraw’s trust, really, we’re not just saying that to be sappy. We now also have been entrusted with not just email, but brand-related creatives for website and social as well, which is absolutely incredible and something that we don’t take lightly at all. Having started our relationship with the sole interest of turbo-charging FinalStraw’s email marketing efforts with the best we can provide, we were (and still are) incredibly grateful and proud to have become a partner for more than just the channel that we initially got together for, but for their other marketing efforts as well.
Being entrusted with so much more means that there’s that much more reason to continue performing at the highest level possible, while ensuring that every single aspect of marketing that we do for FinalStraw doesn’t just meet and exceed their expectations, but aligns as closely as possible to every single piece of marketing content across all channels. Having the ability to be part of this larger marketing design process, we’re proudly able to provide more and more value to FinalStraw with each passing day, and we’re so giddy to be able to know that we’re part of this awesome team that’s doing so much for the sustainability of this planet. Needless to say, we’re the most fortunate email marketers alive since we’re able to use our work for such a positive global mission.
7. But planning on doing so much more!
The past is incredible, the present is absolutely amazing, but what we’re most giddy about is the future. Looking forward, we’re beginning our long and enthralling journey of not just sending one-off emails, but building out a comprehensive, complex, highly-targeted series of automated workflows whose rewards will be exponential compared to the wins we’ve already had together. Can you feel our excitement through your computer screen?!!? Probably not, but it’s there in spades!
Although automated workflows are commonly seen as “set-and-forget”, the implementation is just the beginning. The fun part really starts shortly after we have each of these flows built out, where we’ll begin an ongoing process of constant formulating hypotheses, creating A/B tests from these, and tweaking to the point where our SOs nudge us to see a doctor for what appears to be borderline OCD. It’s not. It’s just pure, unencumbered enthusiasm and passion for what we do and the clients we serve.
Why didn’t we start with those? Well - that’s a silly question. If you’re not clear on this, I think you should scroll back up to point 5, do 10 push-ups, read it again and if you still don’t get it - repeat until you do! Jokes aside, we wanted to make sure that the brand design is fully evolved before going any further, much like how Charmander was the sweetest Pokemon out there; but nowhere as fierce as Mega Charizard - which would you rather have on your side when trying to win a match?
Aside from that, we wanted to make sure that we do some A/B testing to nail down what works best in terms of design and layout before moving forward with winners that we could take forward and create some highly converting workflows. Essentially, we wanted to make sure that we were putting the horse before the cart, not the other way around. Although the cart will be stronger than the horse in the long run (hey, carts evolved into cars. Horses evolved into… well… more horses. Sorry, we’re not as good at coming up with idioms as we are email content), it first needed the horse’s support to get itself going and reach its maximum potential. Phew, ok, done with terrible idioms for now.
8. Outro - delighted to take this journey with FinalStraw.
As with any success story, there are countless individuals that contribute to making a dream come true. With FinalStraw starting out as an environmental warrior’s mission to rid the world of single-use plastics one straw at a time, which she is absolutely doing in the most amazing of ways, FinalStraw has grown into an absolute phenomenon. Having been one of the greatest recent successes on Kickstarter, there’s a strong demand for reusable alternatives to the (unfortunately) tried-and-true single-use items that we’ve come to take for granted.
With the tides turning in favor of the sustainability movement, FinalStraw isn’t just a leader in the recyclables space, but a thought leader in the fight against waste. As much as we like to say that our work here at CodeCrew is impressive, we can’t help but be humbled by the incredible things that FinalStraw is doing, and can only be grateful to work with such a company as FinalStraw and such an absolute sustainability-warrior as Emma.
We’re so excited and grateful for where we stand now, where we’ll be in the near future, and where this wonderful partnership takes us years from now. FinalStraw is an incredible story, but yours is ripe for the writing too - come join us and we’ll not just treat you like family, we’ll make you a buttload of money in the process.