Buffer is an app built to help people and businesses be better at social media, so it’s no surprise they’re super-savvy when it comes to using email to promote their product and educate their 2.5 million users.
For a while now, Buffer has been using Mailchimp to deliver new blog posts to subscribers by RSS. It’s just one way their team of 37 employees has helped grow a profitable company since the app launched in 2010.
Earlier this year, we noticed they were using our automation workflows to run an email course on how to develop social media marketing plans. So we reached out to Kevan Lee, the company’s “content crafter,” to see how the courses were doing.
Short answer? Pretty great. The first course, Social Media 101, went out to 18,353 subscribers with a 39 percent open rate. More than half of those subscribers completed the course by opening all 7 emails, and about 10 percent wound up subscribing to the main Buffer email list. The first course did so well they designed a second one, 25 Days of Actionable Social Media Strategies, which went out to 20,709 subscribers with a 46 percent open rate.
“I’ve learned the value of being in regular communication with a list,” Kevan says. “The courses have felt a lot different to me than an RSS list, for instance, and it’s been such a privilege to be welcomed into the inbox on a regular basis by so many people.”
We talked to Kevan about what else’s he’s learned, how the courses fit into Buffer’s email strategy, and what they’re working on next.
What’s Buffer’s general approach to email marketing, and how do your automation courses fit into that?
We’ve enjoyed focusing on email marketing as a way to communicate with our users, and we’ve noticed a few different ways this looks for us from the marketing side: information sharing (like announcements and launches), surprise and delight (campaigns that celebrate user success and milestones), and education. The courses fit into the education side. We felt called to move in this direction to help people share better to social media, and the courses are a big part of our strategy there.