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ZUZO Creatives 

Case Study

ZUZO Creatives specializes in high-quality Designer Graphic apparel and accessories for consumers across the USA and Europe. Without visibility into their customers’ preferences and interests, it was challenging to plan and execute a fully optimized email marketing program. Moreover, the random email campaigns sent to existing customers were frequently blocked by ESPs and appearing in SPAM.

ZUZO Creatives is a Colorado-based designer company for customers who love artistic designs and unique prints on their clothing. Customers can choose between purchasing ready-made apparel and accessories or order custom designs.

Alina Bars, Director of Marketing at ZUZO’s, joined the company two and a half years ago. In addition to email marketing, she oversees all things growth— or as she puts it, “putting the puzzle pieces together from a marketing perspective.”

Since Alina joined ZUZO, the team has more than doubled. During that time, their e-mail list has accelerated at eBuilding customer segments.
With a rapidly growing email list, the company was even more determined to understand the optimal email cadence and targeting to drive sales.

Getting out of SPAM

Before switching fully to SmartSender, Alina requested a full deliverability audit to find out what makes their emails appear in the SPAM folder. “The audit results were shocking: lots of broken links, cropped images, missing authentication attributes and more. Thanks to SmartSender’s customer success manager Vitaly Chekhovskiy and the entire team of designers and coders, we were able to eliminate all the problems in less than a week,” she assures.  

With SmartSender up and running, Alina decided to start experimenting.
She used the segment builder to divide up her master list in January 2019 into groups for different email campaigns, methodically recording her results throughout the month.

She started by using advanced Performance Reports to identify and weed out ZUZO’s less engaged email subscribers.

“A lot of people just stop opening emails,” Alina says. “They might as well have unsubscribed, but they’re still on your list. And sending emails to people like that yielded super-low click rates, super-low open rates, and not a lot of revenue.”

Building customer segments

With a rapidly growing email list, ZUZO Creatives was even more determined to understand the optimal email cadence and targeting to drive sales.

“A/B Testing was another life-saver,” Alina confessed. For one test, she sent out an email related to the upcoming Valentine’s Day designer T-Shirts for him/her. She sent it to four different segments that would help her better understand questions around email cadence and customer behavior. “The first send went to a highly engaged Female segment: female customers who had actively browsed our site or opened more than three emails in the past 180 days,” she says. “The second went to the rest of our female list, which was double the size. Another two campaigns were sent to active and somewhat inactive Male customers. The differences between the four segments were startling,” Alina shares. 

“The active segment was the clear winner,” she says. “47% open, 6% click-through, 130 purchases.”

Meanwhile, the other segment didn’t perform quite as well.

“11% open rate. 0.5% click-through. Zero purchases,” she says. “Zero revenue.”

By using SmartSender on a regular basis to divide up her master email list into groups with shared behaviors, ZUZO Creatives was able to start sending more relevant messages — and stop sending to people who weren’t interested.

With this strategy and automatically updating segments, as well as the higher open rates that came with it, ZUZO Creatives showed ESPs that they were sending messages that people wanted, telegraphing the kind of sender reputation that improves overall deliverability. The approach also strengthened subscriber connection to the ZUZO Creatives brand, as user behavior came to dictate which emails they would receive.

ZUZO Creatives continues to build out and test different types of segments, including ones that get even more precisely targeted.

“For example, in the final hours of the Valentine’s Day promotion, a shirt from a specific collection, we sent the same email to two different segments,” Alina says.

Group A: Customers who had opened at least one email related to that collection

Group B: Customers who had opened three or more emails in the last 180 days

The Twist: While engaged, Group B customers had never opened an email from this specific collection.

Getting Results

This targeting strategy has had a dramatic impact on ZUZO’s email marketing program.

“In January and February of this year 2021, we sent just 50% of the emails we sent in November and December of 2019,” Alina says. “The difference is that we sent them to more targeted segments.”

Did slashing the volume of emails by 50% — and switching to a more targeted email strategy — decrease the amount of traffic email drove to the ZUZO Creatives website?

“We sent half the number of emails and drove the same amount of traffic to the site. So what that proved to me was segmentation is huge,” Alina says.

With more targeted email sends came another bonus: unsubscribes plummeted by 60%.

“Email accounts for a large percentage of our revenue,” Alina says. “We’re making segments that are dynamic, which allow us to hone in on sending emails to the right people without having an in-house data science team.”

But even with this success, there’s always room for improvement. “When you can connect email open rates to revenue and you can segment, it’s like becoming smarter overnight.”

“With each segment, there’s always a chance to keep learning and changing the segments,” she says. And it’s worth it, with revenue per recipient going hand in hand with what they learn.

“Email marketing is a big driver for our business,” she says. “It will always be a big driver for our business.” Alina credits her success with SmartSender to both the platform and the personalized attention from her dedicated SmartSender account manager, Kasia.

“ZUZO Creatives is a model SmartSender customer,” Kasia says. “Over the past year, Alina and I have worked together to brainstorm the best dynamic customer segments and flows for her audience based on email engagement, browsing behavior, profile age, and purchase history. Her dedication to sending targeted emails has fueled the growth of a loyal subscriber base who are genuinely excited to receive emails from ZUZO Creatives.”

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