How a Nashville landmark boosted email click rates 87%

McKenzie Gregory


The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the home of America’s music, safeguarding more than 2.5 million pieces of history, including countless recordings and photographs, stage costumes, musical instruments, and more. This landmark – frequented by locals and tourists alike – showcases the lasting significance of music in our hometown, Nashville. It also happens to be where we host our annual Marketing United conference, so you could say we’re pretty big fans of the place!

Here’s a look at how switching to Emma helped their marketing team hit their goals as an organization, prove the value of email marketing, and get some seriously impressive results in the inbox.

An internal team that operates like an agency

Since it serves as a museum and an event venue; hosts public and educational programs; is also the home of Hatch Show Print and Historic RCA Studio B; and operates multiple retail outlets and an e-commerce store, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has a somewhat unique marketing setup.

“Internally, we operate as an agency,” said Jill Moreland, Senior Manager, Marketing Services. "For example, all Hatch Show Print email would ultimately fall upon me, but another member of my team works with our Education team, so they’re creating those emails.”

This division of responsibility means several members of their the team (all with different skill sets) are working directly in their email platform… and that can present a bit of a challenge.



The right solution for every member of the team

When Jill first started working at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it quickly became clear that a new email marketing solution was needed.

“We were using a different email partner,” she said, "and it was extremely time-consuming for our team to build emails.”

With the support of upper management, she sought out a more efficient way to do things.

"I went on a quest to find us a better email provider, and part of what I was tasked with was, 'Ok, you can find us another email partner, but it has to be worth the time and financial investment.'"

What drew her to Emma? Our tiered account structure made it possible for their team to truly act like an agency and keep all their different brands in different sandboxes. Plus, the intuitive campaign builder made it easy for every team member to create emails, regardless of their experience level.



A new platform leads to a smarter strategy

As soon as the marketing team got started with Emma, they began to make some BIG changes to their email program, guided by their Client Success Manager, Arielle Chorney.

That's Arielle!

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing Emma team that coached, guided, and (sometimes) pushed us to make the changes necessary to achieve our email marketing goals,” Jill said.

Some examples?

1. Finding the right send frequency

Before switching to Emma, their team was locked in an extremely rigid send frequency: Every email from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was going out every two weeks, come hell or high water.

"Once we really looked at the databases, we realized that wasn’t the best move for us,” Jill explained. “For instance, we recently had a very big, prestigious educational program coming up. Teachers have to request bus stipends 8 weeks in advance, so instead of blasting them with the program information every two weeks, we sent them a dedicated invitation nine weeks in advance.”

That smart strategy worked out, big-time.

"Within a few hours of sending, we had a class of 175 students registered. For a program that has a capacity of 700+, that’s a huge chunk we were able to knock out by strategically planning the right email at the right time to the right people.”

2. Defining (and hitting) their goals

With so many different programs and departments, another huge step for their team was defining clear goals and making sure their email strategies aligned.

“When I started, our primary goal with our main list was to get people to buy Museum tickets,” Jill said. “After we did some research, we found out that most of those people lived out of state – so they wouldn’t be likely to drop in on any given weekend. We changed our goals to focus more on engagement, particularly with our robust content library.”

“Then, there are brands like Hatch Show Print, which are really more of a hybrid. We know people who love Hatch love history and they want to see behind the curtain, but it’s also our biggest seller of online merchandise. So we’re balancing the sales aspect with compelling content about what goes into the creation of these products.”

Balancing promotional emails with those focused on content has made all the difference for their results. In fact…



The results? Drumroll, please…

"Before this year,” Jill said, “other members of the team would look at a single email in the vacuum, but we had no institutional baseline to track mailing-over-mailing or year-over-year or by line of business. In part to  justify our transition to Emma, we needed to dig into reporting."

Utilizing all available info from the previous email provider, the Museum started a 2016 version to show the value. Here’s what the Museum discovered.

Since switching to Emma, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s:

·         Institution-wide average open rate increased 15.5%
·         Institution-wide average CTR increased 86.8%

Those are some huge numbers – especially considering the substantial size of their list – and Jill was thrilled to see the impact their new strategies had made on their overall results.

“Emma could have come in, sold us a product, provided great customer service when we needed it, and we would have been happy,” she said. "But what I love most about being an Emma customer is that they sold us a product and provided great customer service. But THEN they said, ‘Here are a bunch of things you didn’t even know you could do with email. Let’s help you make them happen.'”



Moving forward: Continuing to improve

“I’ve never been considered as much of an email expert as I am now,” said Jill, “and I lay that solely on Arielle and her ability to coach and make me sound like I know what I’m talking about. As we look at those numbers this year, it’s fantastic to finally be able to say with conviction, ‘We’re actually really good at email marketing.'”

What’s next for their team? Well, in the past few years, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has grown tremendously: their attendance has doubled! Jill noted that trying to keep a lid on the chaos by understanding their audiences better across the board is one of their primary goals for 2017.

“We’ve got to start tracking conversions,” she said. "Due to technical software things, once people click out of a given email, that information doesn’t speak to marketing. Marketing can know 10 people bought a shirt on a day we sent an email, but we don’t know if that’s just a coincidence. Getting a better handle on our marketing ecosystem beyond the inbox is our next step.”



We couldn’t be prouder of the Museum’s marketing team, and we can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for their email program! To learn more about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (and sign up for their email list), visit their website here.


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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