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At Predica, we don’t just do IT. We try and learn new things too. For example, in marketing, we always look for better ways to engage with you, our readers and clients. And it’s always exciting to see something that works! Today, I’ll share details on some tools which helped us improve our newsletters and give us measurable results within months.
There are two reasons why I’d like to share our findings with you.
First, when you sign up to our newsletter or download our resources, you trust us with your contact information. In return, we want to be transparent about what we do with it.
Second, we’ve learned some things the hard way. Now, you can use these lessons to benefit your business, hopefully without having to make the same mistakes!
Last year our email marketing, admittedly, wasn’t getting much attention. We were sending a monthly newsletter with recent blog posts and not much else.
It was quite an impersonal approach, and consequently, the engagement wasn’t great. Our open rate indicator ranged from 6% to 15%, and the CTR was about 1-2%.
We knew we could do better, so we decided to embark on the road to better communication.
It all started with a larger marketing strategy which included 2 key decisions:
We calculated the cost of the necessary services and decided to focus less on tools but more on automation. Our goal was to gain more email subscribers and find ways to better engage with them.
Having reviewed and discussed the pros and cons of various solutions, we decided to use a marketing automation platform (user.com) and a platform for building custom landing pages (landingi.com).
The next stage was moving our data from the old platform to the new services. We exported our email base to user.com. Then, we integrated landingi.com with it using Google Tag Manager. This enabled us to gather new subscriptions from landing pages without a single line of code. How does it help?
Using events in Google Tag Manager, the information about clicks in emails or on landing pages is sent to user.com. Based on this data, we can adjust the messages displayed on our connected pages, so that visitors see content that’s relevant to them, and not e.g. repeated pop-ups.
After migration, we had a lot of raw data but were missing key parameters. The crucial information which we needed was whether the email address was actually valid or not. This is something we haven’t checked regularly before.
We had to review our contact base and build it again. To do this, we created a couple of emails (newsletters) which we have sent out.
The first email had a very low open rate of about 10%. This was quite obviously caused by us having a lot of email addresses which were not correct or active.
To verify the list, we built an automation, which, once a user opened the email, added them to a new list. Those users were also assigned tags, so we could later create segments based on which content respondents engaged with (e.g. a newsletter, event registration etc.).
A week after that first email, we were able to allocate respondents into two groups. We’ve sent another message but split the contact base into people who opened the previous email, and those who didn’t.
The first group, as we expected, was highly engaged with our content, and they were reading our emails. The open rate for this group was almost at 30%!
The second segment allowed us to expand the first. How so? Among those respondents, there were some who opened our email, so we were able to add them to the first group. This way, not only did we manage to validate email addresses, but also increase our open rate.
We repeated this process 5 times in total, gradually cleaning our contact list as we went along. In the end, our contact list reached over 2,500 valid email addresses and our open rate increased to a stable 30%. Here are some statistics from user.com do demonstrate it:
We have revamped our newsletter. It focuses more on current and relevant topics, featuring insights from none other than our CTO Tomasz Onyszko.
We send out new content twice a month, but at first, our open rate remained constant. We knew there was a way to get it higher than 30%, so we looked for some ideas.
The most effective solution was actually the simplest. We would release the newsletter under two different titles.
On the original send date, the first newsletter is sent to the entire list. Exactly a week later, we isolate the subscribers who didn’t open the previous email, and send it again, but with a new title.
The results were quite surprising. The first email achieves between 28-30% open rate. As for the follow-up email, it’s opened by approx. 16% of our subscribers (in terms of the total number). This means that both messages combined can reach up to 45% open rate. That is a good score!
If you’d like to check out the content for yourself, you can always sign up! 😉
In combination with the refreshed newsletters, we started using customized landing pages on landingi.com. They allow us to set up registration pages without coding, for various events – and we have a lot of those!
Because of the integration between landingi.com and user.com, anyone who signed up for our communications upon registration could be automatically added to the newsletter distribution list.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions over the recent months, we held quite a few events online, which also meant that people were more interested in electronic communications. As a result, we managed to get an additional 400 emails using landing pages.
An additional benefit of the integration between the two systems was that we were able to segment our contact list by event using tags. This enabled us to send relevant emails to attendees of each event, such as event reminders, links to broadcasts or any additional materials. In the future, it could also enable us to send invites to similar events, based on those attended previously.
Along the way, we have made some mistakes. Now I want to share what we’ve learned, so you can take it away and start building your own contact list at your organization, or better connect with your customers.
Over time, contacts may become inactive as people change jobs or email addresses. It’s important to stay on top of it. It won’t matter much if you have lots of email addresses if half of them don’t work!
Review and clean up your database regularly. Segmenting your audience is very helpful in this process. If emails frequently bounce or go unopened, the contact is likely no longer active.
Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your audience, but chances are that your respondents already get a number of them. That’s why it’s important to provide timely, relevant content.
In addition, consider creating materials which can be helpful in the long term, such as brochures or ebooks. They show that you’re willing to make an effort, and also provide a tangible resource for your customers.
Few things beat organizing a meetup or a webinar when it comes to checking in with your customers and discussing current topics. Through event registration you can expand your contact base as you reach new audiences. Plus, it allows you to interact with your contacts at various stages before, during, and after the event.
Start small – set up a live stream on social media, and see what happens. The results might surprise you!
This is pretty obvious, but it’s still worth repeating. And it’s not just about avoiding sending lots of emails. Think of the user experience on your website. We made a mistake of adding multiple pop-ups to some of our pages. This resulted in higher bounce rates or fake emails entered on sign-up.
Look out for these signs. Analyze your page activity after any change you make, and see how it impacts users’ behavior on your site. If it doesn’t work – they’ll tell you!
Our marketing automation journey has just started. Over the last few months, we have been trying out a new approach to marketing communication, and I’m happy to say that it works! The numbers speak for themselves.
Our newsletter distribution list currently counts nearly 2,700 contacts, with around 100 subscribers joining every month. And since we took on this new approach, we’ve barely had any unsubscribes!
The event registration pages have been quite successful so far, too. We’ve had attendees from all around the world at our recent events. You can check out one of them for yourself and sign up to our upcoming live session – just click the image below.
We are still trying out a lot of new ways to better connect with you, our audience. I promise that I will share our knowledge if again we discover something new and exciting!
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