Sep 10, 2014

LoveKnitting Puts Automation to Work

LoveKnitting is an e-commerce company that sells patterns and supplies to folks who—wait for it—love knitting. The company is based in London, but their customers live all over the world and use several different currencies, so the small team has to work extra hard to get the right information in front of the right people. With so many different groups to send to, LoveKnitting takes advantage of marketing automation whenever they can.

Rolling out the welcome wagon

Saying hello to new subscribers is one of the easiest ways to show you’re thankful for their time and attention. LoveKnitting knew this, and wanted to offer theirs a small discount and free shipping on their first purchase. “An automated welcome email was the perfect solution," says Adam Pluck, LoveKnitting’s acquisition manager.

LoveKnitting’s welcome emails also help introduce customers to the wide variety of yarns, needles, and supplies the shop has to offer, including links to free patterns to inspire their next project.

Not only do these welcome emails make subscribers feel at home on the site, they help turn them into customers. Adam says a quarter of all first-time buyers use the discount code.


Activating the holdouts

Of course, turning a subscriber into a paying customer sometimes takes more than a welcome email. Reminding users of your shipping promotions, like free returns and free delivery, can help encourage them to take the last step between browsing and buying. Offering another discount may not hurt, either.

LoveKnitting sends a special series of emails to subscribers who haven’t yet made their first order. Using information collected at subscriber signup via a slew of MailChimp integrations (MageMonkey for their e-commerce site, MailChimp for WordPress for their blog, Chimpadeedoo for consumer trade shows, Twitter’s lead generation cards, and our CoffeeCup integration for other for paid channels like Facebook, Twitter, and display ads, as well as for specific marketing partnerships), they segment their list by location and send different series to their readers in the UK, US, and Australia. That way, they show the right currency to each audience and set up tracking for each group.

Tracking helps LoveKnitting determine which activation offers work, which helps them write better emails. “It helps us create more tailored campaigns, with different offers and wording," Adam says. "We chose to segment the list instead of using merge tags so it was easier to see results in Google Analytics and RJ Metrics.

Finding the right offer for these emails took some time. “We’ve tried different welcome offers: 5%, 10%, free delivery, and, most recently, 10% and free delivery," Adam says. "We expected our average order value to decrease, but it wasn’t as dramatic as we thought. It really helped our search engine marketing conversion rate, and when [free delivery was] combined with a 10% savings, we saw maximum benefits. We know that our delivery and overall service is great, so once they place their first order, we’re confident they’ll come back.”

LoveKnitting reminds customers about their unused activation discount 30, 60, and 90 days after signup. (Those time frames were originally chosen at random, but wound up matching their customers’ buying patterns.) If a subscriber hasn’t purchased after 90 days, they are segmented into a new group for later communications.

Before automating these welcome and reminder emails, LoveKnitting’s marketing team used to manually segment and send all of these campaigns each month. But not anymore. "They just happen in the background," Adam says.


Personalizing images with merge tags

LoveKnitting also needs to accommodate the different currencies of their subscribers’ home countries when they send emails about new products. Rather than segmenting and manually creating multiple campaigns for each update, they use merge tags to dynamically show different images for each user group.

"We show different content based on user location and other behavioral attributes," Adam explains. "It’s a real time-saver and means we do not have to duplicate campaigns. Combined with nested conditional IF/ELSE statements, it becomes a powerful tool for email segmentation."

With their small team, LoveKnitting has limited time and resources to spend on email. Using MailChimp’s automation, segmentation, and merge tag features helps them easily send relevant content to their customers right when they need it.