Tree Hut crafts enduring audience relationships with Email Aptitude, building program from scratch to boost email revenue 41x and list size 30x
A year after launch, artisanal watch brand Tree Hut had already built an impressive social media audience, and sought to forge stronger brand connections with customers and followers. With email, Tree Hut could deliver messaging directly to shoppers’ inboxes, and relied on Email Aptitude to build a content-rich program from the ground up, as well as developing a robust series of automated trigger emails that tailor content, products, cadence, and promotions based on the recipient’s customer status. As a result, email revenues have soared more than 100% in the past year alone.
Founded in 2014, Tree Hut (www.treehut.co) quickly established itself as an artisanal maker of wooden watches. Hand-built by a team of 20 craftsmen in San Francisco, Tree Hut watches are made from a variety of woods and can also feature custom engraving. In addition to debuting new styles and materials, Tree Hut has also launched a line of wooden sunglasses and watches made of marble.
As a direct-to-consumer brand selling exclusively online, Tree Hut relies on its audience of close to 300,000 social media followers to spread the word about its wares. As the brand has grown, giving customers re-engagement opportunities and notice of new products and designs became crucial to build loyalty and create a strong foundation for long-term growth. To do so, Tree Hut turned to the email channel and partnered with Email Aptitude in the spring of 2015.
Partnership Establishes Technology and Processes for Growth
When the Email Aptitude-Tree Hut partnership began, Tree Hut had sent only a handful of email messages to its list of less than 5,000 contacts in the entire past year. The team at Email Aptitude set about developing an email strategy that would grow subscribers and sales, while simultaneously upgrading the technology platform and establishing the internal processes that would support the increased activity.
Email Aptitude’s strategists, designers, and content developers helped Tree Hut’s team build an email calendar and establish ongoing communication to ensure campaigns across online touchpoints stayed in sync. The increased communication stimulated Tree Hut to think creatively and holistically about promotions, even as the brand entrusted their entire email operation to Email Aptitude.
To grow Tree Hut’s subscriber list by capitalizing on the robust organic growth the eCommerce site was earning, Email Aptitude tested and optimized the overlay email signup form. The number of subscribers has now grown to 30 times its 2015 size.
With the growth in size and sophistication of the email program came the need for new technology to support it. A year after the partnership began, Email Aptitude’s development team assisted Tree Hut with migration to a new email service provider, importing existing contacts and segments and optimizing the new platform to include dynamic product recommendations in a variety of formats as needed. Initial emails from the new platform were sent a month after starting the migration, and by the sixth week of the project, the replatforming was complete, giving Tree Hut a robust foundation for ongoing growth.
Year-Round Calendar Uncovers New Sales Opportunities
One challenge the partners faced was that Tree Hut’s signature products are built to last. Unlike beauty products or fast fashion, the hand-crafted wooden watches don’t need to be replaced or replenished often or ever -- which means Tree Hut and Email Aptitude had to devise novel ways to stay top-of-mind so that the brand would be a natural choice beyond the initial purchase.
Email Aptitude helped Tree Hut devise an email calendar that increased the number of scheduled campaigns dramatically, giving subscribers a myriad of reasons to engage with the brand. Existing promotions for the winter holidays were optimized to maximize sales; Black Friday in 2016 generated an increase in email revenue of 127% compared with 2015. At the same time, Email Aptitude and Tree Hut identified new gifting seasons and markets to promote. Father’s Day has become the brand’s “second Black Friday,” and Valentine’s Day is another sales highlight on the calendar.
The brand’s custom engraving service is another email content highlight, as is the custom watch builder tool that enables shoppers to select and combine bands and faces to suit their tastes.. Tree Hut is promoting logo-engraved watches as corporate gifts, while social media followers contribute stories about the meaningful messages they’ve had engraved for friends, co-workers, and loved ones. The customization potential is especially popular for couples and wedding parties -- a segment Tree Hut courts with featured categories on the eCommerce site and accompanying social campaigns that make for compelling email content.
Thanks to the variety and stepped-up cadence of email messaging, Tree Hut’s email sales have climbed steadily. In the past year, email revenue in the second quarter jumped by 103%.
“Email Aptitude helped us see opportunities beyond Black Friday and Christmas,” said Tree Hut. “Thanks to their creative teams, we’re connecting with our audience year-round, and showing them new ways our products can meet their needs.”
A Single Abandonment Email Transforms into a Triggered Series Strategy
Along with growing the scheduled email calendar, Email Aptitude and Tree Hut worked to develop a robust series of triggered campaigns. Building from the single abandoned-cart email Tree Hut was sending when the partnership began, Email Aptitude’s strategists identified additional trigger opportunities, while design and content teams built the messages and implemented them within the email platform.
Tree Hut now uses a half-dozen triggered campaigns, from welcome messaging for new subscribers and first-time purchasers, cart and browse abandonment incentives, and birthday greetings. As the brand’s list has grown, Email Aptitude has also helped roll out win-back campaigns for customers who haven’t returned to make new purchases, and re-engagement series that encourage recipients to act and that ensure deliverability rates remain high.
The program is so robust that in months when the calendar of scheduled sends is lighter, triggered messages can help sustain growth; in June of this year, triggered campaigns brought in 2/3 of the brand’s email revenue. Overall, revenue from triggered emails has grown more than 6700% since 2015.
“Thanks to Email Aptitude’s best-practices expertise, our automated emails now account for significant revenues, and that success is driven by the ability to meet our customers wherever they are in the customer lifecycle and serve them relevant content and products,” said Tree Hut. “We’re giving email recipients what they need, when they need it, which is a huge advancement”
About Email Aptitude
Email Aptitude is an ESP-Agnostic and award-winning Agency focused on full-service email program management and advanced email strategy. Based in San Francisco, CA, Email Aptitude was recently named to the Inc. 5000 as the #1 fastest growing email agency in the country; the Bay Area Fast 100; and honored by the prestigious AdAge Top 50 Best Places to Work in the US. The Email Aptitude team is made up of top industry veterans and the new bright minds of email who grow and manage email programs for some of the world's hottest fast-growth startups and global enterprise brands. To learn more about Email Aptitude and view current job openings please visit our website: https://goo.gl/ExKz39