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A lot of agency founders come from creative fields or development. Not Rob de Groot. A student of marketing and business economics, he worked for several supply and demand websites before deciding, after hearing the same questions over and over, that his talents could be even better served as an agency owner. Together with business partner Filip Demuyt, he did just that.
“Based on the experiences we gained in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Germany, we decided to start an internet agency in 2007 because the questions we got were all the same,” he says. “‘How do I get more visitors?’ ‘How do I increase my conversion rate?’ ‘How do I set up a good advert campaign?’”
A decade ago, the digital landscape was a lot different from what it is today, especially in the Netherlands, where Rob’s agency, Juist, is located. “Back in 2007, not many internet agencies were also doing marketing. They were mostly focused on the web development part and less on marketing. Right now it’s a totally different story, because everyone is doing what we do.”
But what distinguishes the agency is that they think beyond the questions that clients may have and think about each business as a whole. That includes addressing any demands, wishes, and goals that the client may have. And if clientele satisfaction surveys have indicated one thing, it’s that Juist’s strategies work—and help businesses blossom.
“If you translate ‘Juist’ into English, it means ‘right.’ The right message, for the right target group, at the right time, for the right audience, in the right place. That’s what we do.”
Juist’s business clients typically have between 10 and 100 employees. “That’s our main target group,” Rob says. One of those companies is Kerstpakketten.nl, which has specialized in Christmas packages for over 30 years. Traditionally, employees in the Netherlands receive Christmas packages from their bosses at the end of the year, which means the site starts to bustle in the fall.
Finding each other
Kerstpakketten found Juist via MailChimp’s Experts Directory, which is a catalog of, well, MailChimp specialists. “The coincidence was, we are located within 10 minutes of each other,” Rob says. Upon chatting on the phone and meeting up during a visit, the Juist team deduced that Kerstpakketten wanted to strengthen their email marketing performance and overall marketing strategy.
To do so, Juist first had to analyze the company’s email campaigns from Christmases past. That included questions such as: How did people react to different subject lines? Did they create different groups or different segments? Did they use personalization?
The results were in: Not only was Kerstpakketten relying on a list with no groups or segments, they were also sending the same message to almost all of their clients. And so the members of Juist rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
Making the most out of data
“To be honest, it was quite easy for us,” Rob says. “We made different segments and different emails based on how many years ago the clients purchased with [Kerstpakketten] so that we could personalize based on that data.” Of course, that meant getting intimate right off the bat in the first line, such as “Dear Mr.” and a last name.
“During the year, I think we had 14 different groups, which we send our emails to during the season,” Rob says. “The season is from August to December. And based on minimum click data, we improved the people within the groups. We have Christmas packages in price ranges…So if you clicked on the Christmas package that is more than 50 euros, the next email will be an email with mostly packages from over 50 euros.”
This year, Juist extended the personalization with themes that cater to your interests. For example: “You can get a package that is based on Scandinavian products, with barbecue products, or with Italian products,” Rob says. “In the end, it resulted in 35% more turnover compared to 2016.”
The team also did some A/B testing to determine what subject lines worked best—as well as what templates would perform better. When they tested a plain template with text versus a neatly designed template, there was little difference in performance, so they ended up recommending the designed template because it was more attractive.
Using a new platform
An additional challenge: their under-performing e-commerce platform. Because Juist and Kerstpakketten started working together in April—and the season starts in August—Juist had to build a completely new webshop in just 3 months using Magento 2, which was quite the challenge considering how many products the Christmas shop offers.
“Luckily enough for us, Magento 2 came up in time with an update which solved quite a lot of challenges and bugs they had,” Rob says. On the busiest days, Kerstpakketten has about 7,000 visitors. During the season, visitors spend an average of 10 to 11 pages. As for time spent on the site, it averaged over 3 and a half minutes, whereas if they were directed from an email, it’s nearly 7 minutes.
That resulted in a conversion rate of 6.8—an increase of 17% from 2016.
“It’s not that difficult if you use MailChimp to the fullest, which means using groups, using segments, and using personalization,” Rob reiterates. “If you take a deeper dive into your data, you can still achieve quite interesting results by just doing the easy things in the right way.”