Today, I’m pleased to have Cuddledown as the subject of our “5 Questions” series designed to share experiences and advice from our most successful Silverpop customers. For those not yet familiar with Cuddledown, it’s a family-owned company based in Maine committed to making and selling the finest in home furnishings. The quality of its products, combined with its devotion to great customer service, makes it the premiere source for all things cozy.
[caption id="attachment_2007" align="alignright" width="138" caption="Matthew Morse, eCommerce Marketing Strategist, Cuddledown"]
Matthew Morse, Cuddledown's eCommerce Marketing Strategist, has agreed to tell us what Cuddledown has been up to, including its recent successes implementing a segmentation strategy as well as the benefits of making your emails more "human."
1) Welcome Matthew! Cuddledown recently tested a segmentation strategy. What motivated you to start segmenting your emails?
I would say the big factor in pursuing various segmentation strategies for our email program was to leverage opportunities to improve the message relevancy and personalization of our campaigns to increase engagement, allowing us to increase the variety of email messages distributed without raising list fatigue and churn.
2) Can you tell us a little more about the type of segmentation that you have pursued?
We’ve focused primarily on segmentation strategies surrounding prior purchase history of product categories as well as purchase recency. For example, sending sleepwear-focused messages to previous sleepwear purchasers or purchase follow-up emails to pillow purchasers in which we market complementary products as well as including care instructions for the product.
3) What was your greatest takeaway from your segmentation testing? How have you implemented it into your current program?
The takeaway from our segment testing so far is, as expected, that we’re receiving better results from customers receiving more relevant messages. For the most part we’ve seen better open rates, click-through rates and demand per email generated from our segmentations of previous category purchasers. We have had some mixed results with unsubscribe rates, but usually the more targeted the content is to the purchase history, the more favorable the unsubscribe rates.
Once we determined through our testing that segmentation was a viable strategy for us, we decided to make it part of our holiday email strategy at the end of 2010. By emailing our list more often on a more frequent basis and creating special offers for certain segments of our list, we helped grow fourth-quarter direct sales by 53% over the previous year, while website visits rose by 42% and conversions improved by 3%.
[caption id="attachment_2009" align="alignright" width="438" caption="Using Humor in Email: Cuddledown't International Pillow Fight Email"]
4) Cuddledown has been successful in conveying your brand through humor and humanization in your emails. Can you give us examples of how you weave these qualities into your emails?
We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to better connect with our customers. Using humor in our campaigns is something that keeps the content fresh and unique and provides fun ways to interact with our customers that can also be leveraged by social channels. For example, this year we created a campaign for International Pillow Fight Day where we created a short video about Pillow Ninjas that were unleashed to provide a pillow beating to various employees who incorrectly answered trivia questions. We used email and social channels to promote a pillow discount that was supported by the video content.
In regard to humanization, we use a lot of employee and employee children in our photo shoots, which I believe helps with the humanization of our brand by providing more of a natural look and feel to the imagery. We also try to relate to customer emotions with relevant news topics such as the bed bug epidemic that struck last year. We used that opportunity to respond to those fears and market our products that would help address those problems and hopefully put customers’ minds more at ease.
5) What’s up next for your email program?
We have a lot to learn with segmentation strategies, so we will continue to test and optimize from our results. In the short term we’re working on an abandon cart program and working on initiatives to promote list growth.
We’ve also recently launched revised order confirmation emails through Silverpop Transact that are starting to provide positive results.
I recently attended Silverpop's Client Summit where I learned a lot about leveraging the features of Engage 8.3 and also heard about customer successes with email marketing that we can benefit from at Cuddledown.
Thanks Matthew, it was great seeing you at our Client Summit!