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How Email Marketing Increased Monthly Revenue Growth By 34%

Email newsletters helped us grow an extra 34% last month.

We sent twice as many email campaigns in November as we did in October.

This might sound like a lot yet most of our customers only received 1, or perhaps 2, extra campaigns.

How? Segmentation.

We’ve recently been sharing statistics and data that reveal the power of segmentation in our Marketers Email Conversion Course and in November we put together campaigns that put segmentation to the test.

Here’s how we used email segmentation to increase our monthly revenue growth 34%.

A targeted offer

In October 2012 we were featured on AppSumo. At the time this was a sensational boost for our brand – it’s something we are super glad we did.

So, by November 2013, the first of our active AppSumo customers were coming up for renewal, having to move from their previously discounted rate to a paid plan.

We thought ahead and thought that if we were to segment out active customers whose AppSumo trial period would end within the next three months we could potentially provide an offer that would give them increased value and get them to upgrade early.

We built a segment of customers that:

  1. Had signed up using an AppSumo coupon code,
  2. Were currently active, sending emails and logging in regularly, and
  3. Whose coupon was expiring within the next few months.

We recently released newsletter and named segments functionality along with a price increase. We made the decision to release these new features on the new pricing plans, which meant the AppSumo customers would have to upgrade to $99/month to get full access.

After analysing the customers in newly created segment, we knew that many sent relatively small volumes and were SaaS businesses just like us. We also knew (from communicating with these great customers over the last year) that many got a lot of value from Vero. We hypothesised that these customers would appreciate access to the new features at a reduced price and would therefore upgrade a month or two early, particularly if it meant they saved money in the long run.

We put together the following email campaign:

appsumo-secondary-segmented-email-marketing appsumo-segmented-email-marketing

Here’s the resulting statistics:

stats-first-email

Whopping 30% open and 14% click-through rates!

Even better, this original email led to an 8% conversion rate.

We didn’t stop there though. Putting together a follow-up email just before the offer expired, we emailed all of the customers that had not engaged with the initial email this follow-up:

appsumo-secondary-segmented-email-marketing

Again, the statistics are impressive:

stats-follow-up-email-marketing-series

As you can see the click-rate was down but this email helped bring the total paid conversion rate (on both emails) to 12%, which increased our revenue growth for the month an extra 22% alone.

Here’s why this campaign worked:

  1. We targeted a very specific segment of our customers.
  2. We provided the customers with value by saving them money and giving them access to new features that they could use immediately.
  3. We kept the two emails simple, focused on the copy and had a single call to action in each.
  4. We sent a follow-up email, highlighting the power of emails when used in series.

A reminder to lapsed free trials

We’ve written before about the Hail Mary email: targeting customers that have not interacted with your business for a period of time and giving them an incentive to return is a no-brainer.

You’ve spent marketing dollars getting these customers to your site, they’ve seen your brand and potentially interacted with people on your team so you’d be crazy not to spend a little more time and money working to convert them again.

Last month we segmented out customers that had:

  1. Previously signed up for a free trial but had never paid for an account.
  2. Had created an event or email in Vero, suggesting they had had some level of interaction with the platform.
    1. Had not been back to the site for at least 45 days.

We then put together a simple email that aimed to highlight what had changed in Vero recently as many of these customers would not have used some of Vero’s more recent features:

come-back-start-free-trial

Here’s the results from the campaign:

stats-start-new-free-trial

The campaign may have had a low click-through rate but the total send count was very high and a large number of customers signed up for another trial. Based on those that started a free trial, a high percentage converted to paid subscribers and we were able to increase our monthly revenue growth a further 12%, bringing the total increase in November’s revenue growth to 34% thanks to email marketing.

A side effect was also a number of direct responses that have led to demos and other conversations that will hopefully end in customers coming on board with Vero.

Needless to say this campaign is going to become part of our automated series of emails to customers that abandon their trials (it should have been already!)

Again, the power of this email is in the segmentation. By singling out a relevant segment of our customer database we were able to send an email that converted well, leaving space to experiment with other ideas to other customers.

A missed opportunity

We have recently been working toward a number of optimisations to improve our scalability. A task we have had to tackle is removing the data for outdated Vero accounts (accounts that customers may have uploaded thousands of users or events to whilst trialing Vero).

Mostly a house-keeping task to pave the way for some enhancements, we obviously didn’t want to do this without notifying users.

We created a new segment based on customers that had not responded the email in part two above. We then manually reviewed this segment before sending out an email letting customers know we’d be deleting their data.

Here’s that email:

account-deleted

As you can see, this campaign is too pragmatic. It doesn’t do much to sell Vero nor does it do a very good job of explaining why the trial accounts are to be deleted. We were in a hurry to complete this task (from a development perspective) and missed an opportunity to sell Vero to these potential customers.

Two things came out of this email:

  1. We had customers write back with interest. We could have done a much better job of explaining the new features in Vero and maximised the chance to encourage users to take up a second free trial or ask questions about what has changed in Vero. The subject of the email was no doubt effective, the content was not.
  2. There were some paying customers that had signed up with secondary or personal emails that our manual review didn’t pick up. These customers obviously got a shock when they received this email – which was completely unintended!

This is an example of why segmentation is so important. It’s also an example of why you should spend time considering the marketing opportunity in every email you send, whether it’s a newsletter, an automated campaign or a transactional email.

Every email counts and you will get this feedback directly from your customers.

What you should do next

We learnt a lot in November that we intend to incorporate every month from now on.

You can do the same. Think about your current customers and break out a segment you can target with an offer or segment-specific message that gets the customer back to your business and purchasing.

A 34% increase in a month’s growth is massive. This isn’t something that we think we’ll be able to maintain consistently but, if you can squeeze even an extra 5% out of your email marketing, you’ll dramatically change your growth curve.

  1. Come up with 2 segments you could target with a topical email.
  2. Setup your list.
  3. Put together a campaign that has a specific goal and make the call to action obvious.

What email campaigns have you run recently that have really impacted the bottom line?

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