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Case Study: How Email Marketing Became The Highest Converting Sales Channel For Kent Brushes

Swanky’s data-led email marketing campaigns for Kent Brushes have proven extremely valuable when it comes to converting clicks into customers. This case study explores the overall email strategy we implemented, and dives into the specific campaign that increased email generated revenue by over 800%!

Written By
Catherine Partridge

The value of email marketing is hard to ignore. Especially when you hear stories about it becoming a brand’s largest revenue-driving channel  – like this one we’re about to tell.

Email marketing has been an integral part of Kent Brushes’ growth strategy over the last year, with one campaign in particular, their Black Friday series, driving a quarterly increase of 839% in email generated revenue!

So, despite some rather dubious murmurings that email marketing is dead, we’re here to show you that it’s very much alive and kicking. Let’s find out more about Kent Brushes, and then we’ll show you just how successful this channel can be.

Brand overview

Founded in 1777 before the invention of the train or the bicycle, distinguished hairbrush manufacturer Kent Brushes distributes to more than 50 countries across the globe, including the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Their products, which range from styling brushes and shaving sets to toothbrushes and beard combs, are available to buy directly from their ecommerce website. Their customers span all demographics, but their core audience is men and women aged 25-34.

With nearly 250 years of trading under their belts, Kent Brushes is a forward-thinking, innovative brand that has embraced digital commerce and continually brings new products to market.

Kent Brushes first engaged Swanky to migrate their store from Magento 1 to Shopify in summer 2020. Following the launch of their stylish new site, they joined our Growth Accelerator program for continued website development and strategic marketing services. Our focus has been on developing the brand’s pay-per-click (PPC) and email marketing campaigns, as well as creating optimised landing pages and blog content.

The objectives

Swanky’s email marketing strategy for Kent Brushes was focused on building effective, revenue-generating email campaigns that connected with readers and encouraged interaction.

The specific goals were to increase revenue, improve customer retention and increase customer loyalty.

Implementing an email marketing strategy

Swanky delivered Kent Brushes’ email marketing strategy through three main strands:

  1. Segmentation – delivering personalised content based on the audience.
  2. Email campaigns – generating increased revenue through targeted campaigns focused on important retail dates, such as Black Friday.
  3. Email automation – improving the flow of automated emails to create a more positive customer experience.

Segmentation

Personalisation is king, and this is more true than ever in email marketing. This doesn’t mean just substituting the customer’s name at the top of an email. Segmenting your email list allows you to create content that is more likely to appeal to each individual customer.

For example, for the brand’s Black Friday campaign, we used Klaviyo’s predictive segmentation to group users based on predicted gender. While the overall concept remained the same across all emails, we personalised the messaging and design for each segment, based on predicted gender, with a third segment for uncertain gender.

The results for each segment were very different. The email open rate for the personalised emails – at 88.9% and 73.7% for women and men respectively – was far higher than the open rate of the unpersonalised emails for uncertain gender, which was only 54.5%.

Although male recipients had higher engagement levels – with over double the click through rate of female recipients – and made more purchases, their spend was lower. Women engaged less often with fewer transactions, but had a far higher average order value.

We also segmented their email campaigns according to customer engagement. We believed that customers who’d engaged recently with the brand – in the last 30 days – were more likely to be receptive to further marketing communication, whilst emails to customers who hadn’t engaged in over a year risked being seen as spam, so were kept to a minimum. As well as adjusting regularity, we also tested the use of different messaging for more or less engaged customers to improve deliverability.

“The key to email marketing is to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. The ultimate goal would be for every segment to have custom content, custom design and custom product recommendations, as well as custom pricing or discounts.”

Stephen Rowley, Digital Marketing Manager at Swanky

By segmenting Kent Brushes’ customers, we were also able to provide valuable data on their customer base, comparing which age groups, nationalities or genders interacted or spent more. This data then informed all of Kent Brushes’ marketing strategy to better predict customer behaviour.

Email campaigns

Retail email campaigns are built around specific marketing dates, such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. They are one-off, time-sensitive campaigns that aim to drive revenue through advertising seasonal incentives.

For each of Kent Brushes’ campaigns that we worked on, emails were scheduled in several waves, aimed at catching customers’ attention at the optimal times. This included an initial teaser before the sale, which helped to increase users’ engagement with the brand, a launch email to promote products (which often has the highest conversion rates), and a “last chance” email before the sale finishes to build a sense of urgency.

We also re-sent emails only to those people who haven’t opened them the first time, using a different send time and different subject line to trial the impact on conversion rate.

Email automation

As well as designing and executing specific campaigns, we helped Kent Brushes to develop their automated email process. These emails are triggered for customers based on certain rules being met. For example, a new newsletter sign-up may automatically receive an onboarding email that welcomes them to the brand.

Our email marketing experts implemented a robust testing plan to optimise performance of Kent Brushes’ email automations and further increase conversion rate. The team tested elements such as the subject line, the main copy of the email and creative design to find patterns and analyse which approaches produced the best results.

We also tested for optimal send times with the help of our technology partner Klaviyo. The software suggested optimal send times based on its own tests, information in Kent Brushes’ account, and data from other Klaviyo users. We could then pick out new patterns of behaviour and optimise our emails accordingly.

The value of Kent Brushes’ ongoing communication is also seen in the impact on conversion rates. Our reporting showed that whilst most purchases were completed within one visit to the site, some transactions had a time lag, with a small amount taking over 28 days from the user’s first interaction until completion. In these cases, a well thought out automated email strategy was key in maintaining customer engagement and resulting in a conversion.

Optimising email content

Emails serve multiple goals, from building community and loyalty to driving sales through incentives. They can be highly stylised and include a range of content and formats.

For the product launch of Kent Brushes’ Pure Flow range, we created a visually stunning email designed to reflect the innovation of their new product range. The campaign was an opportunity to really show off products in an artistic way through email. This method of storytelling through design aimed to honour Kent Brushes’ traditional British manufacturing heritage whilst conveying the brand’s modern appeal.

Kent Brushes’ Christmas email took a slightly different approach, focusing more on brand communication rather than sales KPIs. For a brand with so much history and legacy, they recognised the importance of making customers feel included in their brand, building loyalty and long-term relationships with those clients. The email therefore adopted a more personal tone, with a personal message from their CEO. In line with this, Swanky designed the email to have a more informal, less stylistic feel, to reflect this sentiment and make the email message appear more personal.

Testing and data

At the core of all our email marketing projects is data. We let the numbers do the talking, learning from our data and using A/B testing to continually improve.

Using Klaviyo’s analytics, we’re able to analyse data from each email campaign to optimise future strategies. We report on what went well, what didn’t go as expected and what we want to do next, in order to consistently drive impressive results and adapt to customer behaviour.

This measured approach ensures that our clients are spending their budget wisely and helps to achieve a good return on investment (ROI).

Results

Email has proven an extremely valuable channel for driving revenue for Kent Brushes. Whilst the brand’s site traffic predominantly comes from organic search, email marketing generated a far higher conversion rate. In fact, from July-November 2020, it was the highest converting channel, driving just under 10% of total revenue.

Email marketing proved particularly successful during specific campaigns, with our Christmas and Black Friday campaign performing extremely well across all metrics. For example, over the BFCM weekend, returning users had a 45% higher conversion rate than new customers and generated 20% more revenue. The Black Friday campaign meant that in November, emails generated over 24x the revenue of preceding months, demonstrating the impact of specific campaigns on overall revenue.

Swanky’s email marketing services

Swanky’s ecommerce experts are well-versed in planning and implementing bespoke email marketing strategies, including welcome series, cart abandonment flows, post-purchase emails and more. We carefully craft optimised email campaigns that showcase your unique brand story, drive engagement and boost sales.

We’re also a Klaviyo Platinum Advisor Partner, which means our clients can benefit from our priority access to the Klaviyo leadership team, as well as enhanced support. This platinum status demonstrates our abilities in delivering seamless, one-of-a-kind customer journeys across email marketing campaigns, resulting in sustainable growth and increased ROI.

To find out more about how our dedicated email marketing experts can help unlock your ecommerce potential, contact us today!

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