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5 Questions: Halley Silver of King Arthur Flour

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by: Karen Marchione (@kmarchione)
28 February 2012

Not many companies can say that they were founded when George Washington was president. Nor are there many (or any?) similar companies that can say they reinvented themselves through the Web and online marketing tactics, including email. In today’s blog I’m interviewing Halley Silver, King Arthur Flour’s director of online marketing, on what has made King Arthur so successful online in recent years. Halley began at King Arthur Flour as a project manager for the Web and quickly took on management of online services, which includes King Arthur Flour’s website, email marketing, paid search, SEO, social media and video.

If you could describe King Arthur Flour in three words, what would they be and why?

[caption id="attachment_3425" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Halley Silver, director of online marketing, King Arthur Flour"][/caption]

We have a sort of "mantra" here that we often use to describe both our mission and our goals: "Inspire. Educate. Bake." I think that sums it up well.

How does King Arthur Flour differentiate itself in the inbox?

We never, ever send an email without some sort of engaging content. Usually, that takes the form of a recipe. But sometimes there is another slant—for example, one of our bakers is going to be blogging from the Coupe du Monde (the "world cup of bread baking") next month, and we're planning to feature that in one of our emails.

One of the greatest things about email marketing is that you can so easily test ideas. We probably run tests once or twice a month. It allows us to keep evolving, improving and safely freshening up our emails so they remain engaging and our subscribers look forward to seeing them arrive in the inbox.

How does King Arthur Flour incorporate personality in its email marketing?

We try to make sure that the featured content always comes from a person, and we always include the contributor's signature. We'd like our recipients to feel like they’re getting an email from a friend. In our email marketing, our goal is to keep a friendly, helpful tone and always encourage baking.

How do you integrate social media and email? What have been some of your favorite examples?

I think my favorite example was from our cookie-decorating contest last year. We asked subscribers to decorate a snow globe cookie, and then post it on Facebook or our community. We then chose the winners and used the winning photos to send out a "Merry Christmas" email on Christmas. We also featured the winners on our home page and posted a blog featuring the winners and some of our judges' favorites. The whole campaign just felt really positive and friendly, and we were amazed by the entries we received!

[caption id="attachment_3428" align="alignright" width="570" caption="King Arthur Flour's cookie-decorating contest merged email and social media into a feel-good campaign."][/caption]





At the end of 2011, King Arthur Flour was featured in a Google Chrome commercial. How did KAF become featured in the commercial? And what makes King Arthur Flour a “220-year-old start-up”?

Some sort of crazy luck or fortune led the GOOD Corps (the agency that produces the Chrome ads) to discover our company and our story of how we use the Web and Google's business tools to help grow our business. They wrote a short blog post about why they chose our company.

I think that even though our company has existed for centuries, we manage to stay true to our traditions while having a start-up mentality, especially where the web and technology is concerned.

For more information about King Arthur Flour, visit

Related Resources:
1) Client presentation: “Humanization of Email Marketing Content” (King Arthur Flour and Moosejaw)
2) Case study: “King Arthur Flour Increase Email ROI 150% with Better Targeting
3) Blog: “Holiday Tip: Make Your Emails Shareable and Shareworthy


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