Traeger Grills' Email Marketing Campaign Sizzles with Analytics

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For wood-pellet grill manufacturer Traeger Grills, launching personalized email marketing campaigns hasn't always been top of mind. Prior to last year, the company's strategy had always been "batch and blast"—send the same email, newsletter, or offer to every customer and hope for the best. The approach was effective for some time, but engagement eventually dwindled as customer expectations grew.

Traeger's key challenge was that the company's bread and butter, its grills, are not products that customers buy often. Because grills can last for years, customers who had already purchased one grew tired of seeing promotional emails encouraging them to buy another. Even if the email campaigns contained additional information on other Traeger products, such as pellet refills, rubs and shakes, sauces, grill accessories, and apparel, the messages weren't personalized enough to generate interest.

"Typically, anywhere between 70 [percent] and 80 percent of customers will make a single purchase from a company and never buy from them again. They're one and done," Dominique Levin, CMO of AgilOne, a predictive marketing platform provider, explains. "Companies need to re-engage these customers and keep them coming back for other products and offerings," she adds. To determine the best way to achieve this, Traeger Grills turned to AgilOne.

For Traeger Grills' customer success team at AgilOne, the first step was to determine "the low-hanging fruit," Levin explains. To that end, the vendor offers Revenue Finder, a solution that uses predictive analytics to generate reports on where campaigns are underperforming and which customer engagement opportunities hold the most potential. Once the opportunities are identified, AgilOne's Turnkey Action tool makes recommendations about which actions to take. In Traeger Grills' case, curbing unsubscribe rates was the first priority.

To deliver more targeted, personalized emails to Traeger's customers, AgilOne used its analytics capabilities to parse customers' data and segment it into groups based on the products they had purchased. "Before we worked with AgilOne, we had more unsubscribes than subscribes," Ray Hansen, vice president of online marketing at Traeger, says. "Once we started customizing our emails and newsletters by product, we saw a 40 percent decrease in unsubscribes in the first six weeks," he adds. Open rates climbed from 20 percent to 29 percent, and click-through rates tripled from 1 percent to 3 percent. Conversion rates grew as well; while untargeted email blasts had a 0.11 percent rate, targeted blasts had a rate of 0.16 percent.

Once unsubscribe rates dropped, AgilOne shifted the focus to cutting down Traeger's cart abandonment rate. Though companies often use discounts and special promotions to encourage customers who have abandoned the checkout page to come back and close the sale, this wasn't an option for Traeger since it doesn't only sell to consumers. "Because we sell direct as a manufacturer [as well], we have to walk a fine line with the discounts we offer. We can't offer a discount on a full cart," Hansen says, explaining that even a 10 percent discount on a big order could mean a loss of thousands of dollars. Still, a personalized reminder email sent to customers who had all but completed the checkout process did the trick. The abandoned cart campaign had a 55 percent open rate, a 19 percent click-through rate, and a 1.6 percent conversion rate, according to Hansen.

Eventually, Traeger Grills began experimenting with a replenishment-oriented email blast. The wood pellets that Traeger grills run on last only a few months if used regularly, so sending out an email suggesting the customer buys more before his supply runs out proved to be a solid strategy. "We were getting in touch at regular intervals and anticipating a need before it actually came up," Hansen says. "This is also a place where we were able to offer a coupon, so we gave them a 10 percent off one-time-use coupon toward wood pellets, and it was very well received," he adds.

Moving forward, Hansen says Traeger Grills plans to expand its work with AgilOne and incorporate more of the vendor's predictive analytics capabilities. "When Traeger first got on board, they were looking for easy opportunities. Since then, we've taken it project by project and now we're seeing a lot more that we can do with them," Levin says.

"AgilOne is always helping us expand our campaigns and making suggestions. It really feels like they're on our team," Hansen adds.

The Payoff

Since implementing AgilOne's email marketing platform, Traeger Grills has seen the following results:

  • a 40 percent drop in unsubscribes;
  • a 55 percent open rate, 19 percent click-through rate, and 1.6 percent conversion rate on a cart reminder campaign;
  • an increase in overall open rates from 20 to 29 percent and in overall click-through rates from 1 to 3 percent; and
  • a gain in overall conversion rates from 0.11 to 0.16 percent.

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