Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Email marketing - what system to use?

At Sneaking Duck, we currently use Campaign Monitor for email marketing. So far, they have been great: Easy to use, reliable, reasonable cost, good feature set, great reporting. However, over the past couple of weeks we've been looking at how we could be more sophisticated and I'm not sure that Campaign Monitor has the features we need.

At the moment, we send 2 types of emails:

  1. When people join our list, we send a series of mails introducing our company
  2. When we have something interesting to share, we send updates
None of these mails are personalised, beyond using names wherever possible.

I would like to become more tailored. I'd like to send a different intro series depending on what actions the person has taken on our site. For example, if someone has put frames into the shopping cart, then I'd like to explain how we can call their optometrist and get their prescription. However, if they have a prescription but no frames in their account, then instead I'd like to let them know about our try at home service.

Additionally, I'd like for all emails to be personalised based on the exact frames they have looked at, and their prescription info.

It is easy to get all the information into Campaign Monitor, however the auto-email functionality doesn't allow us to do what we want without lots of manual work. I have asked their excellent customer service who advised they have put my vote on features to help.

I am very reluctant to move away from a company that has been excellent. However, I do need a system that does what I need.

Does anyone have suggestions on good alternative systems, of nifty ways of using Campaign Monitor?


  1. Look at Vero (http://www.getvero.com/) who are based in Sydney. Chris Hexton runs it (Michael Fox would know him). Or I'm happy to do an intro :)

    They do trigger based email marketing. They can set up automated emails based on customer behaviour (seeing a specific page/pair of glasses, abandoning cart etc). Very valuable and they are local Aussie startup kicking goals. Part of the Startmate program 2012.


    1. Second Vero. Very straight forward to use but can be very customised. Chris is very helpful and is able to suggest the most suitable campaigns to set up.

      If you wanted to take it a step further, I would suggest InfusionSoft. It is expensive to set up due to the lack of 'experts' around but for eCommerce it is the cream of the crop. (http://www.infusionsoft.com/) I think for both SOP and SD this could open a lot of avenues.

    2. Thanks both Ivan and Toby for the Vero mentions, very much appreciated!

      InfusionSoft is a great piece of software too. Hopefully in a few year's Vero will be 'the cream of the crop' ;)!

      I've spoken to Michael and Mike (Knapp) since and it's been great to hear the sorts of things they're up to with email at ShoesOfPrey and SneakingDuck. Speak (and see) everyone soon!

  2. That's where email marketing gets really interesting. Following up with cart abandonment, personalisation, and life cycle marketing. With life cycle marketing you can "grow & nurture" the customer along your funnel. You get different emails depending on which part of the funnel you are in.

    I'd be interested to see what solution you end up with. I use Mailchimp but we're not doing anything too different to what you are currently doing.

    I also like what the Buffer guys do when they email - they include a line saying "we'll be here for the next few hours and able to reply. We'd love to hear from you". I'll flick you the email.

    p.s. I use to work in email marketing at mailout.com.

    1. yeah life cycle marketing would be really beneficial now that Sneaking Duck is a 1 year old :) You guys will have a much clearer idea on the benchmarks for Customer LTV, repeat purchase frequency etc.

      I think fleshing out the customer funnel, figuring out the metrics for what an engaged customer looks like and using tactics like trigger emails, remarketing etc to move more visitors into that "engaged customer" category will be really beneficial.

      p.s Mixergy do some nice emails as well. One line with a link to 1 question surveys that help them profile you and therefore send better emails over time.. nice

  3. Check this post about Choosing an email marketing software. It explains what you should be looking for in an email marketing software. It also lists a few of the large players in the market.

  4. If you have all the customer-specific data on your backend, then I'd look at automating and sending the emails yourself via a delivery platform such as Sendgrid. Or via APIs available from Campaign Monitor or MailChimp.

  5. I've heard very good things about InfusionSoft

  6. I can recommend looking at Traction (http://traction-digital.com/traction/overview) It's a pretty advanced system that allows a high level of targeting/personalisation.

  7. Thank you all so much for the insight and suggestions here! I will be reviewing all the options this week and working out what fits our needs the best. It's really good to have some personal recommendations to go with. :-) Mark

  8. I havn't used it yet, but www.klaviyo.com looked good when I was looking for event driven email.

  9. More suggestions! So good - thank you, really appreciate your taking the time to help us. I will let you know what we decide to do and how it works for us.
    :-) Mark

  10. Email marketing is when direct messages are sent containing a commercial message to a group using electronic mail. This is mainly an advertisement to create new customers or alternatively, convincing current customers to purchase something immediately. This is now the trend in advertising business that I believe is effective.- www.mardevdm2.com

  11. I would like to become more tailored. I'd like to send a different intro series depending on what actions the person has taken on our site. For example, if someone has put frames into the shopping cart, then I'd like to explain how we can call their optometrist and get their prescription.
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