New subscribers can be a notoriously fickle bunch. On the one hand, they just signed up for your emails, so the interest in your organization is pretty high. On the other hand, they're not so loyal yet that a misstep won't send them straight to the ol' unsubscribe button. It's what makes that initial email experience so important. But it can be challenging to get it just right for organizations spread out over multiple locations, like YMCA of the Triangle, which is made up of 13 branches and three overnight camps.
With new members joining daily at each location, Director of Web Services Liz Stephenson and Production Designer Whitney Smith needed an email solution to welcome each one to the Y with a consistent, branded experience that keeps them informed about all the benefits of membership. Benefits like how it’s a great place for the community to come together to build a healthy spirit, mind and body (seriously, my membership card emits a small electric shock whenever I touch a cupcake). Happily for us, they chose Emma.
Mobile design that’s easy to create and easy to share
Each YMCA of the Triangle branch has a branch communications director who also sends email, so having an email service provider that’s easy for them to use is a big timesaver.
“Emma has a very intuitive interface, which is helpful to us and our branches,” said Liz. "It’s easy to figure out on your own what you need to do and how you need to do it.”
That also applies to the email design and campaign sharing tools. As the primary designer of YMCA of the Triangle’s emails, Whitney can design a custom template and share it with all of the branches. The branches can then easily update it with unique content for their members.
“I love that you can design and share templates with established areas where they can simply swap out photos and text,” said Whitney. “It’s so easy for our branches to update content with as little complication as possible.”
Liz and Whitney are also staying on top of the latest email trends for their branches, like the importance of designing for mobile.
“A lot of the traffic to our website is coming from mobile, so we’re excited about all of Emma’s mobile template options,” said Liz.
The fact that 80% of people will simply delete an email that doesn’t look good on their phone is something that Whitney takes to heart whenever she’s designing a new template.
“It’s great that I can preview how my design would look on screens of different sizes. I use that feature often to test out my new custom designs and make sure everything looks ok,” said Whitney.
Creating a great experience for new members with a welcome series
Liz and Whitney always keep the experience of their audience at the forefront of their email marketing. That’s why they created a four-part, automated welcome series for new members at each one of their branches.
They set up the series to send new members one email per month for the first four months of their membership to keep them involved with the YMCA community and help them meet their health goals. The series ends with an offer for a free guest pass.
“We want to make sure everyone gets the same great branded experience, no matter what Triangle location they join,” said Liz.
And based on the results, they’ve accomplished their goal and then some. The average open rate for the entire series is nearly 50%, a significantly higher rate than their standard branch mailings typically receive. Liz and Whitney have also done a great job of serving up content to keep new members engaged throughout the series. The click rate of the fourth and final email in the series is over 29%!
Those great results have inspired them to do even more with automated emails going forward.
“The concept of it is fantastic, and we want to explore how to use it even better and more efficiently going forward. It’s easy once you understand how it works,” said Liz.
Support, teamwork and lots of high fives
Liz and Whitney are obviously doing some awesome work with limited resources, but occasionally they have to reach out to us with a question. We’re more than happy to lend a hand.
“Customer support is the number one thing I like best about working with Emma,” said Liz. “Any time we have something big or small, you guys are right on the ball helping us out.”
We also love helping our customers explore new opportunities to do more with their email marketing.
“I’ve learned a lot from talking to the Emma team, and I don’t feel limited anymore with what we can do,” said Whitney.
Share templates to save time and control quality. For organizations and franchises with multiple locations, creating and sharing an email marketing template that can be easily updated with content saves a ton of time. Plus, it helps ensure a consistent experience for all of your brand’s customers.
Design with mobile in mind. The number one activity on mobile phones is checking email, beating out making phone calls and even playing Candy Crush, so it’s more important than ever that you design for the small screen first.
Welcome new subscribers in style. It’s not surprising that YMCA of the Triangle is getting great results from their automated welcome series. Welcome emails typically have 4 times the open rate and 5 times the click rate of other mailings. Learn more about setting up an automated welcome series in our free Automation Demystified guide.