November 27, 2023
Case Study

Marketing Case Studies: Real-world examples of 3 low-cost marketing strategies you can implement now


Consumers just got to reap the savings from Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To help you save money in your marketing budget this year or next, in this article we bring you marketing examples with results of low-cost techniques.

Of course, the lowest-cost technique you can implement right now to improve your marketing is signing up for a free trial to the AI Guild.

But in this article, we bring you case studies of three other ideas as well:

  • The email that took 30 minutes to set up that garnered $69,400 last quarter
  • The new marketing hire brought into a founder-led company who launched its first email campaign for prospects by repurposing current content
  • The in-house marketing team of 2 who catapulted their brand into 5 new industries by launching an eBook that required virtually no cost to create

Read on for examples from a small luxury jewelry business, early-stage start-up, and uniform provider.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

This article was distributed through the MarketingSherpa email newsletter. Sign up now to receive real-life examples of marketing success sent straight to your inbox to spark your next great idea.

Quick Case Study #1: How small luxury jewelry business got $69,400 in quarterly revenue with one email

Did you know that over half of people (51%) find online shopping cart abandonment emails helpful? Here's how one luxury brand that discovered a lucrative opportunity with this simple tactic.

BEFORE – Cart abandonment email

“Using Klaviyo to automate the process, we would reach out to potential customers that had abandoned their carts with an email that gave the customer a chance to jump directly back into their cart and complete checkout,” said Daniel Setton, Co-founder and CEO, Shiree Odiz.

The triggered email was sent one hour after a checkout was started but not completed. The sender is This is the main customer service inbox, and since most customers communicate before purchasing, it's a familiar address that gets delivered and noticed.

Creative Sample #1: Cart abandonment email, with subject line ‘This could have been yours…’

Creative Sample #1: Cart abandonment email, with subject line ‘This could have been yours…’

Customers were sent a unique link to complete the purchase. Since Shiree Odiz is luxury diamond jewelry brand, the team didn’t pressure customers into making impulsive purchases, as the team found that rarely works.

The email had a 41.4% open rate, a 1.4% click rate, and recovered $15,300 in the most recent quarter. However, from newsletter optimization, they knew the power of the follow-up and gave it a try for this email flow as well.

AFTER – Adding text-only email

With a simple tweak, the team appended another email to the journey. This time, rather than a designed email, they sent a very simple text email that appears like a personal message. “Using Klaviyo, we set up a 24-hour delay for the second email,” Setton said.

Creative Sample #2: Text-only cart abandonment email

Creative Sample #2: Text-only cart abandonment email

The team also included a relatively small discount. “We created a unique discount code in Shopify, ensuring it was attractive yet sustainable for our margins,” Setton said.

The email is signed by Setton and not Odiz (the co-founder and company namesake), because they don’t want it to look like a ‘one-person show.’ He told me, “As we also do with our blog posts, we alternate between ourselves on emails depending on the message – Shiree is around product, design and style, while I'm more technical and transactional.”

The second email also comes from ‘’ “The hello@ email just followed the flow we already had, so that it would chain up in a Gmail conversation, so it's easier for them to access the previous cart email with the product and checkout link,” Setton said.

This was especially important because there was no link in the email. They gave it a look and feel like someone had manually made the effort to write to the potential customer. Sometimes this resulted in replies that later converted, but usually customers simply checked out from the previous email using the discount code.

RESULTS – More revenue, much more revenue

While the online diamond jewelry brand’s initial strategy yielded decent returns, the revised approach marked a revolutionary shift in the ROI of this simple marketing tactic.

Even with a lower open rate (30.6%), the second follow-up email brought in an additional $69,400 in the most recent quarter, more than 5x what the team used to get with the single abandoned cart message. And it took only 30 minutes to execute.

“There are so many complex or high investment tactics that an online business can implement in their marketing, we've found that simple bottom-of-funnel 'low-hanging fruit' like these are the most attainable and effective. We really were leaving money on the table,” he said. “This has to be one of the least 'sexy', easiest and yet highest-impact tweaks we've ever done to our marketing funnel.”

Many marketers have become conscious about not sending too many emails to potential customers, and that is generally a good thing. But potential customers who add a product to a cart are not like your general list and likely have a much higher motivation. As this case study shows, sending a second follow-up email could result in higher sales. Marketers might consider a similar test in their campaigns.

Quick Case Study #2: How an early-stage start-up got off the ground with a sustainable, ongoing email marketing campaign that generates a 4% CTR

This next story might be particularly helpful for founder-led companies just looking to gear up their initial marketing efforts or for an initial marketing hire curious about how to get started.

BEFORE – Email ‘blasts’ on product updates

The team at Numeric was only using email to send product updates to existing customers.

Creative Sample #3: Product email

Creative Sample #3: Product email

They were happy with the engagement – 50% open rates – but anyone who submitted their email address after downloading a template or other content wasn't receiving any regular communication from the company. Their names were occasionally passed along to BDRs if they seemed qualified, but that was it.

Like many early-stage companies, the focus was all on product and understanding the customer base. The team was so focused on building a product they doing very little in the way of marketing it until they brought in their first marketing hire.

This spurred the launch of an email campaign to prospects, but the team had some key questions:

  • How do we make our first email marketing campaign not feel ‘spammy’ in a way that hurts the quality domain authority we've built for our product email?
  • How do we focus on providing value for our detailed-oriented, email-averse audience?
  • What key pillars should we include in the email such that contact from us is both predictable and delightful?

 AFTER – Email newsletter with helpful content

After asking those questions, they decided their first email marketing campaign should actually be an ongoing email newsletter. Which lead to another key question, since they wanted to create an ongoing newsletter that showed a strong understanding of the audience and had a value proposition – what would be genuinely valuable for all accountants to read once a month, so much so that they would encourage friends to share it?

They called the monthly newsletter The Ledger Line. You can see the first edition below.

Subject Line: 🤖AI Accounting Trends & Software Capitalization Template
Pre-header: AI will revolutionize accounting. But how exactly? Plus use our new software capitalization template.

Creative Sample #4: Newsletter

Creative Sample #4: Newsletter

The team determined the initial email newsletter would include:

  • A section on accounting news pulled from sources they know accountants pay attention to
  • A section on new templates and content from their team on technical accounting principles, highlighting their authority in the space and providing a ‘give’ to their audience
  • A section on upcoming events and webinars hosted by their team and others in the space
  • A section on top accounting jobs
  • A fun GAAP quiz – a pop quiz on technical accounting, soliciting engagement and providing a consistent hook
  • Calls to action. For example, “Register for Webinar” and “Read the Piece & Get Template”

Creative Sample #5: Zooming in on template portion of the newsletter

Creative Sample #5: Zooming in on template portion of the newsletter

Early on, the newsletter was powered by content the team had already produced in a fairly ad hoc manner. The CEO had direct accounting expertise and spearheaded the initial technical pieces.

Of course, they couldn’t rely on pre-published content forever. To scale while still producing quality content in a technical and complex field, they now utilize three sources:

  • A technical accounting firm
  • A group of super-users and friends of the company with accounting backgrounds
  • Team members with accounting backgrounds

These SMEs help freelancers with content prioritization, initial outline sketching, and then the review of the first draft and final content.

Since the first edition, they've focused on including other content types along with that consistent structure, providing readers with a consistent set of ‘gives’ and some changes month over month (including a video from their team, an interview with a CFO, a quick mini-content piece on a trend, etc).

“For instance, we recently featured a new accounting automation tool in our newsletter. Alongside this, we included a real-world case study demonstrating how the tool streamlined financial processes for a mid-sized company. This practical example, paired with an easy-to-download template, not only informed our readers but also provided them with an immediate solution to a common problem they face,” said Parker Gilbert, CEO, Numeric.

They’ve also engaged in A/B testing of subject lines. Here’s what they learned:

  • Could they make puns/joke a little? – Yes, but really only accounting puns
  • Were emojis fair game? – Yes, but only one per subject line
  • Do questions increase open rates? – Really no impact here

RESULTS – Opens and clicks

The newsletter averages an open rate of 42.81% and clickthrough rate is consistently above 4%. The email is the most substantial driver of traffic to new content and templates on the site.

“By focusing first on creating a newsletter that's valuable for all accountants, we both build our brand presence and extend our content reach, all targeted towards increasing the relative amount of voice share we occupy as an entrant into a competitive market,” said Tierney Pretzer, Growth Lead, Numeric.

Quick Case Study #3: Uniform provider’s eBook strategy generates 273% increase in MQLs

Enter five new industries with an in-house team of two? By taking an inventory of what they had (instead of bemoaning what they didn’t), this duo established their brand as a leader in uniform management, capturing interest in their target industries.

BEFORE – Scattered content, too reliant on aviation industry

SKYPRO was best known for providing airlines uniforms, crew shoes, and accessories in the aviation industry in Europe and the Middle East. The company wanted to expand to new sectors – ground handling, cruises, rail, retail, and hotels.

“Upon taking on the role of marketing Director in the midst of the Covid crisis, I encountered a significant challenge. The company, heavily reliant on supplying uniforms to airlines, faced a considerable setback as the aviation industry suffered during the pandemic. It was evident that diversifying into other sectors, such as rail, private security, cruises, hotels, schools and others, was crucial for the company's long-term market positioning,” said Priscila Picinini, Innovation & Marketing Director, SKYPRO.

However, the content on its website primarily revolved around aviation uniforms, which posed a challenge in effectively conveying its value proposition to the new target industries. Creating an entirely new website to serve these new sectors was not a feasible option due to time and cost constraints, and what content the company did have was scattered across various platforms such as the website, blog, sales collateral, institutional presentations, and videos.

Adding to the challenge, all marketing operations are handled in-house. After COVID-19 severely impacted the company’s business operations, cost reductions forced the marketing department to reduce team members, with only the marketing director and art director remaining.

After – eBook compiling scattered content

Marketers often fail to recognize the value of existing content and tend to create new content from scratch instead. However, SKYPRO's marketing team took a different approach. They realized the potential in consolidating and organizing their existing content.

This strategic move allowed them to repurpose the content effectively, ensuring no valuable information was wasted, overlooked, or duplicated. Moreover, the team categorized and analyzed the content, aligning it with specific personas and marketing funnel stages (top, middle, and bottom) to maximize its impact throughout the customer journey, which can be lengthy in this particular niche market.

The cornerstone of this content repurposing was an eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Uniform Management.” The team realized that there weren’t any structured resources to help companies with the complex processes involved in managing employee apparel and footwear.

“Rather than trying to create industry-specific content, the approach was to work on the premise that uniform managers across diverse sectors share common goals and challenges. After conducting a deep analysis of personas and interviewing internal staff and prospects, the premise was confirmed. While customized content for each sector would have been ideal, it wasn't an absolute necessity in this case,” she said.

Creative Sample #6: Table of contents for eBook

Creative Sample #6: Table of contents for eBook

The team conceived the eBook chapters to serve later as a structure for a pillar page about ‘uniform management’ and focused the eBooks content on carefully picked SEO keywords to optimize its search engine results when it was converted into a webpage. In addition, rather than fully redesigning the site, which was impossible due to time and financial restrictions, the team integrated this pillar page into their pre-existing WordPress blog.

Even small customizations, like varying e-book covers, can be effective

In order to spread the word about the free eBook, the team focused on LinkedIn ads. Even though the eBook’s content was the same regardless of the sector, each advertisement had a unique cover image that was specific to the industry that was being targeted (aviation, ground handling, cruises, hotels, and security), which enabled more effective connection with the target audience.

Creative Sample #7: Customized covers for different sectors used in LinkedIn ads

Creative Sample #7: Customized covers for different sectors used in LinkedIn ads

Different parts of the eBook content were shared across their social networks, used in press releases, transformed into infographics, and featured in articles for LinkedIn and the company’s blog. This re-use allowed the small marketing team to efficiently produce various content types.

RESULTS – MQLs from newly targeted industries

The eBook was launched on October 18th, 2022, and required virtually zero cost for the eBook itself, other than the team’s time.

Through October 18th, 2023, the eBook alone generated a 273% increase in marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) compared to the cumulative MQLs generated from fairs, ads, the website, social media, and email in the preceding 365-day period. Among these MQLs, 39% originated from the airline sector and 61% came from the newly targeted industries.

The website had a 50% increase in users and new users and a 32% increase in sessions.

Of course, part of the campaign that did required a cost was the eBook LinkedIn Ads campaign. It produced the following results:

  • 145,674 monthly impressions
  • 786 monthly clicks
  • $13.14 average CPM
  • $2.30 average CPC
  • 1,850 monthly engagements
  • 1,035 monthly social actions

The eBook also generated earned media – and thus links. For example, Onboard Hospitality magazine dedicated an entire article to the eBook’s launch.

“In terms of marketing, I saw an opportunity to break away from the traditional product-centric approach in the industry and instead adopt a customer-centric strategy. This involved redefining marketing not just as a sales tool but as a means of addressing and solving customer problems. To implement this shift, we made a bold move by sharing our expertise in uniform management, moving away from keeping it exclusively in-house. While this customer-focused marketing approach might be more typical in other industries, we were among the first to apply it to the uniform market, striving to set a new standard for how marketing is approached in our sector,” she said.

Related resources

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Small Business Marketing Strategy: Get ideas for conversion optimization, social media strategy, and lead generation

Marketing Strategies: 3 proven customer engagement strategies to try (examples with results)

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