My client for this project was a Series C-funded real estate tech startup. They have a service that allows residential renters across the country to split their monthly rental payments into smaller rental payments throughout the course of the month.
The company’s primary marketing channel was email marketing, but they had no in-house email marketing team. Their primary goal was to get their email marketing channel off the ground and manage the deployments to their leads throughout the country each month.
During this project, we sent around 1.2 million emails to around 650,000 leads in their database every month. What made me a great fit for this project was my background in high-volume email marketing. I have extensive knowledge of a number of different email marketing tools and platforms, allowing me to make a quick impact from the very start.
Understanding email marketing goals was the most appropriate first step. Given that email marketing was the sole focus of this project, it was important to figure out what the client was looking to achieve.
Questions that had to be answered included: Are there audience segmentation needs? What style of emails are we looking to send? When are we looking to send them? How many emails are we looking to send? What other supporting marketing initiatives might be running in conjunction with email marketing? There are a lot of questions to have answered before any work can really begin.
I would say that the most unconventional thing I learned through this process was the fact that email marketing was the sole marketing channel for this company. This put a lot of pressure on ensuring that the campaign could succeed on its own, without support from other marketing initiatives. That definitely presented a unique challenge, but we got it done.
Next, I identified existing available resources for email marketing within the company. Emails can be sent using a number of different platforms and it's important to understand what is available so that you can choose the right tools.
It turned out that there were some existing email platforms in place. We had an email developer on staff and an ESP in SendGrid. We had some analytics through a platform called Branch that we use to build tracking links.
We also had some in-house designers and copywriters. So we already had a solid foundation in place, now it was just about bringing everyone together for this new project.
Next, we had to align our strategy. We needed to figure out what our marketing goals were, and what we wanted to do to achieve them.
We had to understand how the timing of our emails related to the overall structure of the business. For example, we needed to know when in the month would be the best time to send emails in order to optimize for conversion. There was some historical data to help us reach conclusions, but essentially starting fresh meant that we had to be open to a lot of experimentation.
We had to make sure that our entire marketing team was on board, from contractors to the CMO.
The project planning phase is a critical component of any new marketing initiative. When we're changing the way that email marketing works within a growing organization, it's definitely a critical piece of the project.
We used an online project management tool called Asana to build out checklists for every step of the project. We built out the checklists down to multiple items per day for a variety of stakeholders. This ensured that everything had appropriate levels of dependencies and that we had some buffers built-in to ensure that the emails would be sent on time. The company had very strict deadlines of needing the emails to be sent five days before the end of the month and on the 1st of the following month.
We didn't want any last-minute hiccups. We didn't want any last-minute hiccups. So with any kind of project like this, where there's cross-team collaboration and a lot to get done, you need to be very detailed and very strict with your planning.
The email design stage is the point at which the email starts to come to life. We had a designer on staff who was going to be handling this portion of the project, and we also had some design work done by a branding agency that the company had worked with in the past.
We brought together all the information we had about our target audience, their needs, and our product to figure out what our design vision was. We had to work with the email designer to ensure that the timeline we presented was doable.
There are certainly a lot of compromises when it comes to email design. It's not like working with architects and engineers, where everything can be designed perfectly in a vacuum. We had to take the designers' vision and imagine how it would be handled by the HTML developer.
The HTML development phase of any email design campaign can be pretty daunting at the beginning. When you're starting fresh with a new template, you want to make sure that you're aligning as best you can with the designer's vision, but also keeping in mind that you're designing an email-friendly layout.
This involves keeping in mind all sorts of rules for different clients, wanting to make sure that we minimized the number of images overall and that we kept the amount of text high in comparison to images. We also wanted to make sure that colors were going to render properly on dark mode and that the CTAs were highly pronounced and stood out to the reader. We wanted to make sure that alignment issues were sorted out and that we had the appropriate backgrounds.
The main outcome was that the client generated $2 million worth of new customers in just 4 months. The client also gained a much clearer idea of how the marketing funnel worked and they were now in a good place to take email marketing channel ownership back into their own hands. They now have a bulletproof email strategy that earned industry-leaing open rates of up to 65%.
I found this project to be incredibly rewarding. Being able to drive so much revenue in such a short amount of time was an incredible feeling.
I also found the client to be very transparent and open to feedback, which was great. They were happy to receive suggestions and ideas and were open to changing things up once we had a better idea of what was working and what wasn't. I love when a client is very involved.