When I first started with Rugs USA the company was using Smart Focus as their email service provider. This was my first stint in email marketing so I really didn’t have anything to compare it to, but the system seemed seriously lacking. We weren’t tracking revenue and everything was going to spam. I got a training session from a rep there but I was still super confused at the end of it. So as a result I started doing demos of a variety of email service providers. The final two that stood out were Bronto and Responsys. The rest I looked at were either too technical and not intuitive enough or they simply didn’t have the same level of functionality. After beginning price discussions with both companies it became clear that Bronto was the only logical choice. So we went to work.
The Bronto API was well documented and we were able to integrate to an incredible level. For example we import the product descriptions of an ordered product so that I can create automated post purchase campaigns that are triggered based on keywords in the descriptions of what they ordered. We also handle all transactional emails with them, so it was a very heavy integration. Kudos to EurEx Consulting for building the whole thing out for us on our side.
Once the API was done it was pretty easy to get going. The interface is intuitive and the help section is massive. If you’re comfortable using any eCommerce store backend then this will be a breeze to manage. They really have done a great job on the user interface.
The first big challenge we had with Bronto was to get out of spam. I was on calls with my rep and their director of deliverability on a weekly basis and they were trying their best to make it happen. When I went to the conference I got to sit down with them and discuss it in person as well. They tried so many things for us and no extra cost and ultimately we managed to get out of spam which was a huge deal. That was the moment we really kicked our usage into high gear.
I’ve never really had any technical issues with the program. It’s never failed to send or capture the numbers so it’s extremely reliable. It’s also difficult to make silly mistakes because the interface walks you through each step in a clear and simple manner. Since I’m leaving Rugs USA I actually just trained in the person taking over email marketing, and the full training on every aspect of the program only took an hour. It has a lot of power and complexity but it’s not difficult to manage. That’s where it excels.
In addition to that, Bronto has features that most other ESP’s didn’t have. I’ts been a long time since I spoke to the others so much of this might be standard now, but here are my favorite features that Bronto has that more basic platforms lacked at the time.
– Remails. These are emails that are sent a second time when the customer never opens the first one. You can configure it to wait a day or two or however long you want and then automatically send them another email or the same one with a different subject line. I use this feature with more than half of my deliveries and it has a huge impact on sales. On huge days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday I’ll even go as far as setting up remails on the same day just later in the afternoon. This strategy led to a blockbuster holiday weekend for us last year that had a 1000% increase in email revenue over the prior year.
– Optimized Sending Times. Bronto actually records the open time of each open that occurs in your contact list, so with the click of a box you can have your email blast sent out over a 24 hour period and Bronto will time each individual email to the precise time that each contact tends to open their emails. This always leads to higher open rates in my experience when compared to just sending at a certain time. they also have this feature for a full week. So you can set an email and it will send on the day your contact is most likely to open and at the time here or she is as well. Talk about a complex task!
– Automated Workflows. Using automated workflows I can build out complex campaigns that once set will just keep generating revenue. Examples of this are welcome email series, abandoned cart campaigns, post purchase campaigns, VIP programs, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. I have a ton of these campaigns and am constantly looking for more ideas to implement. Bronto provides a variety of triggers including “API event” which ultimately means anything and then a variety of reponses to the trigger. Your imagination is really the limit using this tool and there’s nothing sweeter than automated revenue!
– Hosted webforms. You can create all your webforms in Bronto with a simple drag and drop interface and even host them there, which makes dealing with forms on your site super easy. This is a good example of something that required technical know how in many other ESPs.
– App Store. Bronto has a variety of additional apps they just release and so far I’ve used the Coupon Manager and am familiar with the Popup Manager. The Coupon Manager allows you to upload unique codes to an email that will only be used once an email is opened. The Popup Manager allows you to host and build out your popups directly from Bronto. They also have an abandoned cart app if you don’t already have that set up, and a bunch more. Depending on how much technical firepower you have you can supplement many of your marketing strategies with apps from Bronto, and making things easy makes it more likely that you’ll actually do them!
So as you can tell I’m a Bronto fan and can happily recommend them. You might think as I did that with all this functionality they would be super expensive, but they didn’t end up costing us much more than the lower level ESP we were working with beforehand, so if you’re on the fence give them a call, you might be surprised by their rates!