How switching to Emma landed one marketer his job

McKenzie Gregory


Over the years, our customers have shared so many incredible success stories. Hearing about their big wins reminds us why we love what we do, and it’s one of the best things about being part of the Emma team. But few of those stories hold up to one we heard recently from Brendan Williams, Email Marketing Specialist at St. Louis Public Radio: He literally owes his job to Emma!

We recently sat down with Brendan to find out how it all went down.


That's Brendan!



Tell us a little bit about St. Louis Public Radio and your role there.

St. Louis Public Radio is an NPR affiliate station owned by and licensed to the University of Missouri–St. Louis. The majority of our content revolves around news (local news, business, arts and culture, etc.), but we’re also where you’ll find national NPR programs like “All Things Considered."

I was brought on about eight months ago as an intern on our small, but mighty, digital team.


What did your role entail at that point?

Originally, I was doing a little bit of everything… and that included dabbling in email marketing.

We were using Salesforce Marketing Cloud to run our email program, and the user experience wasn’t working for us. It was difficult to do all of the things we wanted to do on a day-to-day basis, such as getting the right data,  retargeting emails based on subscriber engagement, and sending mailings with automation. Since we were on volume-based pricing, we were paying far too much money for a platform that wasn’t giving us what we needed.


So, what did you decide to do about it?

Other staff members and I recognized the need to find a less expensive, more effective email solution so I made it my mission to find and implement one.  It would help in a couple of ways: My internship was about to be over, and I needed a job. So not only would this save the company a ton of money, it would also free up the resources needed to create a paid position for me.


How did your search go?

I narrowed our choices down to MailChimp and Emma, and it immediately became clear which service actually cared about our success. Mailchimp sent me a generic email when I inquired, and that was it. An actual human contacted me from Emma, checked in regularly, and helped me figure out how to get serious about email marketing.

After that, I quickly made the decision that I was going to pitch using Emma to the station. They could use the money they were saving to create an “Email Marketing Specialist” position: For the money we’d normally be spending for the email platform alone, we’d have someone fully dedicated to managing the software, navigating the switch, and monitoring our engagement and conversions.


And then (drumroll) …

My direct manager was immediately on board with my proposal, but all in all, it took about a month and a half of bartering and explaining the value before the company accepted my pitch – both to switch to Emma and hire me on as Email Marketing Specialist. I was elated!


What have been some of your early successes?

We send a few different newsletters – a daily newsletter that’s a curated list of our top stories of the day, a weekly wrap-up of what our talk show covered that week, and our e-updates, which cover changes in programming and promote events. Our subscribers have already responded really well to these regular sends, and we’re super happy with our engagement rates.

We also recently used Emma as a driver of donations for a pledge drive, and it was a monumental success: Our goal with the campaign was $300,000 and we ended up with $376,000! The pledge drive was our first chance to try some new features, like A/B testing for subject lines, and we found it to be incredibly useful.


What do you love most about using Emma?

One thing that stood out immediately is your customer support. The chat feature within the app is a dream: That kind of immediate help makes me feel like I have an expert with me every step of the way.

I also love A/B Content Testing. It’s my favorite thing to show to my co-workers. They always think it’ll be so complicated, then I show them how intuitive the feature is, and their jaws drop!


Any plans for the rest of the year?

St. Louis is going through a massive leadership transition, as Mayor Francis Slay decided he wasn’t going to run again after his 16th year in office.

To explore his legacy, we’re doing a podcast called the "Millennium Mayor,” and we’re using email as the primary way of getting it out to people. This is going to be our first time playing with automation, and when someone signs up to receive the podcast, we’re going to send them an automated series. We can’t wait to see how it performs!



We’re so proud of Brendan’s tenacity and massive success, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of all the Emma love!

If you’d like to check out St. Louis Public Radio, visit their website.

To sign up for the Millennium Mayor podcast, fill out the form 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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