New Focus on Product Innovations and Give-Back Business Model Help Fuel Rapid Growth
To make the most of email marketing, brands need more than a list and the means to message to them—they need to deliver the right content and offers at the right tempo to the right audiences.
Working in collaboration with Elite SEM, Bombas transformed their email strategy from “batch and blast” to sophisticated one-to-one marketing that effectively showcases the brand’s extensive line of socks and unique charitable mission. With a focus on relevant and eye-catching content, implementation of best practices surrounding promotions, and optimization of email marketing technology, Elite has helped the Bombas team triple their email revenue and lay a strong foundation for future growth.
Randy Goldberg and David Heath were work colleagues at a new-media startup when they came across a thought-provoking statistic: the most sought-after items at homeless shelters in the US were socks. The would-be entrepreneurs recognized that not only were socks a product category long overdue for innovation, but building their brand using the give-back business model popularized by TOMS also had the potential to solve a real problem.
Goldberg and Heath spent two years on product research and development to define a set of unique technical advances that would give their socks a performance edge. They then partnered with non-profits across the U.S. to provide a conduit for giving away a pair of socks for every pair sold. A successful Indiegogo campaign in 2013 raised close to 10 times their goal in a month, fueling the initial launch of Bombas. Sold exclusively online at bombas.com, Bombas passed the half-million-dollar revenue mark before an appearance in the fall of 2014 on the network TV show Shark Tank, which brought still further exposure, as well as seed funding from retail entrepreneur Daymond John. Follow-up TV appearances have produced successive waves of high-profile PR and spikes in sales.
But Goldberg and Heath realized that if they wanted Bombas to be more than a startup phenome and grow into a brand with long-term prospects for success, they needed to provide a strong foundation for selling through the online channel—and that included a professionally-run email strategy that optimized their technology platform to deliver relevant messaging to followers and customers.
“We’re driving more sales than ever through email, without sacrificing the trust of our audience.”
David Heath | Co-Founder, Bombas
Strategists at Elite SEM quickly earned a relationship of trust with their counterparts at Bombas, and dove into optimizing the brand’s email offerings at every level. Thanks to responsive communication and proactive guidance, the Elite team is fully integrated with the Bombas team.
Sustainable Subscriber Growth Lays Groundwork for Success
Elite SEM helped Bombas further optimize the list by classifying subscribers according to their brand engagement, and optimizing the cadence of messaging for each segment. Such segmentation and automated triggered messages have been easy for Bombas to set up using Bronto Software, their commerce marketing automation platform and an Elite SEM partner. As a result, avid brand followers receive more emails than before, while attrition is kept to a minimum. The unsubscribe rate plummeted 88% in 2015, even as monthly volume has grown by an average of 137% year over year.
Content Focus on Unique Brand Attributes Drives Revenue Growth
Improving email engagement with relevant content has played a role in sustaining subscriber interest and driving sales. Elite’s strategists formulated new email designs that put an emphasis on images over text, and used email content to spotlight Bombas’s research-driven product innovations and social mission. The eye-catching content has resonated with subscribers, helping power year-over-year improvements in the monthly open rate by an average of 8.5% and monthly conversion growth by 125%. Revenue per delivery has doubled thanks to the improvements in content quality and presentation, and overall revenue for the first half of 2016 tripled compared with the same timeframe in 2015.
In addition to improving overall email content and messaging, Elite SEM collaborated with the Bombas team to initiate a targeted series for new subscribers and new customers. By spotlighting the brand’s strengths to new followers, including its “one for one” charity contributions, Bombas forges lasting brand ties that have paid off in sales, with revenue per delivery for the new contact series continuing to increase.
Technology Optimization Boosts ROI
As Bombas has grown its strength in the email channel, Elite SEM’s involvement has gone beyond supplying creative for campaigns. Armed with a deep understanding of the technologies powering Bombas’s email service provider and related third-party partners, Elite has helped the Bombas team make the most of their vendor relationships and boosted the overall return on investment in the email program.
The Elite SEM team has assisted the Bombas team with deployment of several marketing modules targeting audience segments, including cart abandonment messaging delivered through Bronto, win-back emails for customers who haven’t made further purchases in a given timeframe, and, most recently, browse abandonment emails to entice back shoppers who considered items, but left the e-commerce site without adding them to the cart. In the six months since launch, monthly revenue from the win-back series has tripled, and conversion rates average 17%.
Elite SEM is also playing a critical role during Bombas’s e-commerce site re-platforming, assisting with technology integration to ensure a seamless transition that will maintain the existing continuity between site and email messaging.