Practical Ecommerce

Newsletter frustrations result in new target audience

Last month I noticed declining subscriptions across my three email newsletters.

To offset the reduction, I decided to revise my signup popup box. I’ve used popup discount offers on other retailers’ websites. So I decided to do the same on mine: offer a discount to new email subscribers.

I asked my developer to revise the popups on both websites — My Wedding Décor and My Event Décor — to include a 15 percent discount for subscribers’ first orders.

That shouldn’t be too hard, I thought.

The developer needed to write code to access a unique, one-time discount coupon for the three newsletters — one each for brides and wedding stylists on My Wedding Décor and one for event planners on My Event Décor.

MailChimp vs. discount codes

The unique, one-time discount codes would come from three CSV files. But my developer was unable to do it. MailChimp, my email-marketing provider, lacks the capability to apply unique discount codes from an external CSV file.

MailChimp offered us three choices:

  • Manually type the discount code into each new subscriber’s contact details after signup. This defeated the point of automation.
  • Use the same code for each subscriber — i.e., “NEW15” — which meant it wasn’t unique. Subscribers could apply it repeatedly, which would reduce my margins.
  • Integrate with Coupon Carrier, a MailChimp’s app, which would trigger emails with unique codes to new subscribers. The cost would be $30 per list per month for 500 codes — subscribers — or $100 monthly per list for 5,000 codes.

None of these were acceptable.

Justuno

I searched the Shopify app directory for coupon-code apps and discovered Justuno, which after a 30-day free trial charges $19 per month for 10,000 subscribers, $49 for 25,000 subscribers, and $99 for 50,000 subscribers.

This app enabled me to create a popup with a unique code and link it to the MailChimp newsletters.

However, My Wedding Décor had two newsletter signup boxes linking to MailChimp — the bridal one and the stylist one. Justuno couldn’t link to both.

The bridal newsletter provided couples with up to 33 months worth of wedding planning information — 999 days is the longest time frame that MailChimp newsletters can be scheduled automatically.

It included links to products where possible. But mainly the newsletter was designed to help couples plan and execute their weddings. This included choosing their reception venue, having kids at their wedding, wedding cake alternatives, transport considerations, delivery-fee insights, and centerpiece theme ideas.

I rarely asked for the sale, in other words.

The stylist newsletter, on the other hand, is purely product-driven. It informs stylists about my latest products, even on My Event Décor, as stylists often work on both bridal and corporate events.

My Event Décor’s newsletter grew organically by 12 percent since the start of 2018, while the stylist newsletter for My Wedding Décor grew by 3 percent before I applied Justuno’s popups.

Seventy-five percent of the My Wedding Décor bridal newsletter subscribers have now married. I no longer send them automated newsletters, apart from the rare promotional email.

Further, only 3 percent of these subscribers ever converted into customers.

Stylists, not couples

Thus it was not a hard decision to stop sending out the bridal wedding planning newsletter.

I am now targeting wedding planners and stylists on My Wedding Décor. My next task is to reposition the website away from couples.

This requires:

  • Rewriting product descriptions.
  • Deleting certain products and therefore checking for broken links on blogs and social media.
  • Repackaging products from single to multiple units.
  • Sourcing new products of interest to stylists.
  • Not renewing wedding directory entries aimed at couples.

I have a few wrinkles to iron out with the stylist newsletter offer through Justuno. But I have been delighted with the results. Since implementing Justuno, subscriptions to the My Event Décor have grown by 32 percent. In 10 days.

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