How the Gamecocks use dynamic content to rally fans and boost ticket sales

As the Chief Marketing Officer for University of South Carolina’s Athletics Department, Eric Nichols knows what it takes to develop a winning marketing strategy. He’s responsible for the branding, ticket revenue, and business generation for all 21 sports teams at South Carolina. So whether it’s connecting with alumni, building relationships with boosters and fans or sharing news of the latest big win – Eric does it all.

Eric also leads the Athletic Department's email marketing efforts. When asked about his goals for their email campaigns, he said, “Our goal with email marketing is to develop a one-to-one relationship with our fans, who all have different interests, from football to equestrian sports."

Different goals, one message

Eric knows that his target segments all have different goals and that they expect content catered to their individual needs and interests. But he also knows that there is some information that needs to reach all of his audience members, like game dates and competitors.

Introducing: Dynamic Content

That’s where Dynamic Content comes into play. Dynamic Content is a powerful feature from Emma that allows you to send unique, personalized content to each one of your subscribers based on the data you store about them — all from a single email.

So in one email, Eric is able to share universal information that applies to everyone and include additional content that’s targeted to specific audience members. That way everyone gets exactly what they need.

For instance, this recent mailing needed to be tailored for two groups: those who had already purchased season tickets and those who had not (but had been season ticket holders in the past). For past season ticket holders who had not yet purchased, Eric knew that one more easy opportunity to dive back in would give them just the push they needed, so he gave those folks a one-click way to purchase tickets for the new season. And for current season ticket holders, he provided content that only Gamecock Club members have access to, like advance ticket purchase opportunities and the ability to purchase more than their priority on tickets.

How the email looked to past season ticket holders who hadn’t purchased yet:



How the email looked to current season ticket holders:



As you can see, Dynamic Content is super adaptable – it works with whatever data fields you’re capturing from your audience, whether that’s purchase history, relationship to the university or favorite SEC team (Go Gamecocks!)*. And it helps marketers like Eric stay in total control – it only displays the content you tell it to in response to the data fields you assign.

The scoreboard

By using features like Dynamic Content, Eric has been able to consistently produce winning results. The University of South Carolina Athletics Department averages an impressive open rate of 46% and click rate of 24% on their emails – and their audience is over 147,000 people!

Eric also makes sure to keep his email marketing in line with all of the current best practices. For example, he recently started using a Lightbox Form on the University of South Carolina Athletics Department website. “We've been using a Lightbox Form for contest entries,” he said. "It’s been a very successful lead generation tactic for us.” To date, he's added over 4,600 new subscribers to his email list using the form.

And that isn’t all he’s seen great results from: “The ability to create individual lists for our respective sports is huge, the mobile-friendly nature of Emma is what brought me to you several years ago. All in all, it’s a great platform for our needs."

The takeaways

1. Personalization is powerful. Relevant email drives 18x more revenue than broadcast email (Juniper Research).

2. Dynamic Content provides an easy way to send more targeted messages. It’s the ultimate in personalization and can help drive more clicks, conversions and revenue for your school than ever before.

3. Combine different Emma features for SEC-champion-level results. Features like Dynamic Content, Audience Segmentation, Lightbox Forms and Automation form a team designed to win the inbox.

*Editor’s note: The fandom of the author in no way reflects the allegiances of Emma or Emma’s employees. Some of whom may not, in fact, be rooting for the Gamecocks to “Go!” this upcoming season.

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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