How Reach Records Uses Automation to Succeed

Learn how the hip-hop label elevated its marketing strategy.

It often feels as though the music industry is in a constant state of flux. Social media followings have trumped organically built fanbases, album success is determined by streams, and artist branding—for better or worse—is just as crucial as the musical content being produced and distributed. Since their humble beginnings in 2004, Reach Records, founded by Grammy-winning rapper Lecrae and CEO Ben Washer, has survived by adapting to that constant change. For this edition of What’s in Store, Lecrae and Ben invited us out to chat about how the label’s marketing and digital teams are using a few automation recipes to continue growing and communicating with their fans.

“Back when MySpace was still hot,” Ben says, he and Lecrae filled every role for Reach Records, and admittedly had no idea what they were doing in terms of email marketing.

"It's great to set up an email campaign, but to have automations is really key."

“We just sent out emails when we felt like it,” he says. “We didn’t know the science behind open rates and what to target, and how to use keywords, and how to do headlines. It was all just shooting from the hip at first.”

That’s where Marcus Hollinger and Katie Alberts come in. Both started as interns at Reach. Now, Marcus is vice president of marketing and Katie is the vice president of the label’s digital department. They started by using Mailchimp’s reports to learn more about their digital and e-commerce audiences.

For Katie and Marcus, putting numbers to customer behaviors was a game-changer. “Learning the click through and open rates got us thinking of how we can deliver content that is compelling to keep a consistent experience for folks who are getting our emails,” Marcus says.

From there, the Reach marketing and digital teams worked together to build out a revamped automation plan for the newsletters tied to the label and artists.

“When we have an album release or a merch release, it’s great to set up an initial email campaign,” Katie says, “but to have automations that are carrying it through is really key to continuing to promote the new line of music that we’ve released without having to constantly create a new e-blast for a particular product.”

WELCOME NEW CUSTOMERS

One hour after opting into the mailing list, customers receive a welcome email. Twenty-four hours after that first email goes out, the team offers a 20% discount off a first purchase.

ABANDONED CART

Reach Records has a 3-email abandoned cart automation. An hour after leaving the site, customers get a friendly reminder. One day later, they’ll receive another check-in with a 10% discount that’s good for 48 hours.

FIRST-TIME CUSTOMERS

Once customers make their first purchase, they receive an email letting them know their merch is on the way. Within the next 7 days, Reach also sends out a promo code for free shipping on their next purchase.

CUSTOMER RE-ENGAGEMENT

Reach sends a “last purchase automation” every 120 days with a free shipping promo code. If another 120 days goes by with no purchase, a second email goes out telling the customer “we miss you,” along with a code for 10% off.

“Our email marketing campaigns are extremely effective in converting to sales,” Katie says. “Social media is amazing and really helps with awareness, but when we’re converting customers from awareness to purchase we found email marketing with Mailchimp to be one of the most effective—if not the most effective—tools.”

Let your campaigns run themselves with automations.