November 25, 2009
Improved list quality and list growth can sometimes seem like competing endeavors for emailers. See how one sports eretailer set out to clean up their list and discovered how to add thousands of names along the way.
This process also birthed a mobile marketing program. And they did it with just two emails that provided a 40% lift in clickthrough rate.
Last summer, Greg Moser, Web Director, Nytro Multisport, and his team were charged with turning their increasingly stagnant email list into a highly relevant, targeted email program. They also had fallen woefully behind most retailers when it came to the emerging channel of advertising to mobile phones and handsets.
"We had a whole lot of old email addresses from the last 10 to 15 years of business," Moser says. "We had little other data than the email address. And we had the desire to begin mobile marketing because we had just launched a mobile version of our Web site. We wanted to do text messaging. We knew the only way to do it was have people subscribe."
The only problem was their house email list of tens of thousands of names had become weary of stale messaging.
The team spiced things up with a pair of sweepstakes-driven campaigns designed to grow their list while incrementally segmenting their audience.
In a careful one-two fashion, they ran these campaigns:
Campaign #1. Run sweeps/learn more about current subscribers
Even without much backend data, Moser could extrapolate from anecdotal takeaways and sales sheets that their database had two key consumer segments:
o Cycling-only enthusiasts
But they didn’t know which subscribers belonged in those segments, or for that matter, where they lived.
In August, to encourage people to provide more information, they sent an email that promoted a chance to win one of two high-end road bicycles. The email campaign was supported by the following aspects during the sweepstakes’ 40-day run:
- Display ads via select cycling-oriented sites.
- Facebook and Twitter posts, which announced the sweepstakes and its winners.
In order to enter the contest, registrants had to enter the following information on the landing page:
o Full name
o Email address
o City/state/zip code
o Bike of choice
o Opt-in check boxes for email and mobile alerts
Moser says that one of the prize bikes was a favorite of tri-athletes and the other was more likely to be purchased by a road cyclist. This is why the team gave registrants a choice about which prize they’d prefer.
"Some people won’t come out and tell you right away if they are a road cyclist or a tri-athlete," Moser explains. "Through that kind of bike selection [in the registration process], it was meant to give us more of an idea of what kind of enthusiast he or she really is."
Campaign #2. Segment list and test creative
Next, Moser and his team aimed to use the information gained from the first campaign in a more targeted effort.
- They separated actives from inactives and added them to the new names that ended up entering through the display ads or through viral email pass-along.
Moser says the second campaign went to just half as many names as the first.
"It was definitely something that was the next step, something that built off the first campaign, in terms of being able to target our audience."
- This campaign, which lasted 45 days, included the same push of display ads across cycle-oriented sites that the first effort did, as well as the modest Facebook/Twitter promotion.
- The email portion of the campaign mirrored the creative style of the prior effort. Here are the key elements conjoining the two emails’ look-and-feel:
o A landing page that included checkboxes to join the mobile list and email program
o Subject lines similar in style and character length
o A red-colored top navigation bar in the email body
o An image hyperlinked to the landing page underneath the navigation bar
o Two smaller boxes showing other offers or advertisements
o A forward-to-friend feature
- The only major creative difference was how the first message utilized a suggestive picture of a young woman as the top image, while the second email showed a well-known female cyclist in action. Would a sexy image trump an action image when it came to clickthroughs for this athletic audience?
Moser and his team saw outstanding successes and intriguing takeaways from the campaigns.
The open and clickthrough rates for each campaign were significantly higher than the brand’s previous averages. And the list growth was considerable for the email program, showing that there was likely a viral effect in conjunction with a healthy performance by the display ads.
Results from the first campaign:
- Open rate increased 112%
- Clickthroughs increased 6%
- 9,877 new people signed up for emails
- 2,318 opted in for text messages
Results from the second campaign:
- Open rate increased 142%
- Clickthroughs increased 40%
- 10,045 new people signed up for emails
- 3,634 opted in for text-messages
Moser says the improved performance of the second campaign indicated a significant advantage -- higher relevance. In this case, sex didn’t appear to sell, as the action-based image handily surpassed the suggestive image in terms of clickthroughs.
He also lauds the lead-gen production (almost 20,000 new names) from the two sends.
"We more than doubled our subscriber list overnight."
The campaigns boosted the mobile marketing program, building the team’s mobile list to almost 6,000 names, with just a small number of emails and a few weeks of targeted banners.
"It was definitely a success," Moser says.
The winning nature of the second campaign also led to a recent spin-off email that could help Moser and his team take the next step in turning email and mobile sends into something other than list-building or viral efforts.
In the message, Nytro offers an exclusive, limited time $1,900 discount for preorders on a new bike model premiering this winter. The only reason Nytro’s promotional idea passed muster with the bicycle manufacturer -- at risk of upsetting its other retail partners -- was because the effort could be highly targeted via email due to the first two campaigns, Moser says.
"So at the end of the day, the whole thing started as lead generation," he adds. "But it’s probably going to create sales for a very targeted product."
Useful links related to this article
Creative Samples from Nytro’s email and mobile list growth campaigns
10 Proven Low-Cost Tactics for Boosting Email Opt-In Lists
How to Optimize Your Email for Mobile Subscribers: 3 Simple Tactics, 2 Tips
ExactTarget: The team’s email service provider