Youve got mail
Campaign: Growing Up
Client: KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions
Agency: Next Marketing
KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions (KHD) operates in the niche landscaping industry in Melbourne. Ken Hitchcock, the owner/operator, established the business about 10 years ago and the company has taken advantage of the use of emarketing as a way to be innovative.
KHD sent its first email newsletter over five years ago when it was an ‘attached pdf file’. The newsletters at the time were always well-designed, without spelling errors, and contained relevant information to the target audience, which made them a popular read and an effective way to increase sales.
As technology changed, KHD took the next step in email marketing and invested in a HTML template and is currently using an outsourced email marketing program. The ease of use of this system means KHD can send out newsletter updates more frequently and is in a convenient position to act quickly if a project or new product is ready for release to the market.
An example of an email marketing campaign that KHD has recently executed is a series of updates regarding a green roof project called ‘Growing Up’. This was an initiative from the Melbourne City Council, Committee for Melbourne. The project involved retrofitting a green roof to a building in the Melbourne CBD and KHD was heavily involved with a partner called Green Roof Technologies.
This project had an extended lead time of over six months and the challenge for KHD was to capitalise on the investment made during all stages of the project. The solution was an email marketing campaign that incorporated regular updates, including commentary, pictures and links to live video streaming of work in progress – content that was interesting, up-to-date and relevant to the target audience groups.
When it comes to marketing in a non-corporate industry, it is important to have a brand that will generate sales. It is fundamental for business owners to fund marketing activities with the distinct objective of getting an ROI.
While KHD operates in a niche market in Melbourne, it is still necessary to cultivate all areas of influence, from architects through to landscape builders, in order to be successful in the building industry food chain. KHD executed an email marketing campaign to make this task easier to manage.
For the ‘Growing Up’ project, the objective of the email marketing campaign was to facilitate a conversation about the project with the target audience during the pre- and post-launch period. With so many projects being completed, photographed and featured each day, it is important to lengthen the time a new project is newsworthy before it simply becomes another sales pitch.
At the end of the day, the ultimate goals for KHD were to drive sales, increase market share and to realise a dollar-return for any marketing monies spent.
For KHD, the strategy behind the email-marketing program covered three key areas:
- Being top of mind with the niche audience – for KHD, the niche market was the landscaping industry in Melbourne. Email marketing campaigns have enabled KHD to keep in touch with its audience on a regular basis in a timely and cost-effective manner.
- Tailoring marketing messages, where possible– while the landscaping industry is niche, there are several tailored segments within it. Segmenting the KHD email marketing database into target audience groups allowed for email updates to be sent with customised marketing communication messages.
- Positioning KHD as a top of mind resource – one of the challenges for the KHD target audience was to keep up-to-date with new projects, initiatives and products. By providing quality content in each issue, the email marketing program helped to ensure that KHD was on the list of resources that the target audience referred to.
One highlight of the KHD email marketing program was its ease of use and how little time it took to get campaigns into the marketplace. In general terms, the overall success of the KHD program was achieved by focusing on new and relevant content. Emails were only sent when there was something of interest to send. This ensured that the target audience database was less fatigued by low quality content. The text was punchy and pictures were used to ‘tell a thousand words’.
Getting back to the ‘Growing Up’ example, KHD promoted the launch of the project by sending an email announcement that outlined the scope of the job, and included pictures and acknowledged the other parties involved in the project. By supporting the other partners, KHD is now receiving job referrals from them. It was a gesture of goodwill that paid off.
Melbourne City Council also undertook its own PR activity, which increased the general awareness of ‘Growing Up’ within the target audience. Therefore, when KHD sent the communication piece, there was already a level of interest and the database was eager to know more about the project.
In essence, the timing of the ‘Growing Up’ email was perfect. KHD now has a flow of job leads. The cost to send an update was less than $50 and the original HTML template cost has been recouped from sales opportunities capitalised on from earlier email sends.
Another recent and successful addition to the KHD email marketing campaigns has been links/reference to video content available for viewing on the KHD website. These links have been highly popular and the number of times the videos have been viewed increases every time an email marketing campaign is sent out.
As mentioned above, the primary objective of the KHD email marketing campaign was to achieve a higher level of brand awareness that will ultimately generate sales. Each email campaign sent in 2010 has achieved this result. The bonus is that the program is measurable:
- 35 percent open rate
- 10 percent click-through
- 0.30 percent unsubscribe rate
- Two-week read life, and
- over 1500 subscribers and growing.
Since the launch of the program, email marketing has also led to better systems and procedures in-house for KHD, where contacts are now diligently entered into the CRM (customer relationship management) database. It is easy in any business to let such diligence fall away when things get busy. For KHD, however, a robust system is now in place to ensure that database details are kept up-to-date.
While this case study has highlighted the benefit of email marketing for KHD, it should be noted that the overall success of the KHD marketing program is attributed to having an ongoing pipeline of activity that is both above and below the line. The cost-effective and sales-driven nature of email marketing has certainly been a welcome addition to the mix in 2010.