How do you keep track of all your orders and other CRM data?
We have an in-house system—that our developers have programmed for all of our online orders—that speaks directly with the Mailchimp API. That's how we keep track of a lot of our content and customer profiles.
We like that we’re able to have our marketing and CRM tools talk to one another and everything stays so neat and organized. It's just a few clicks of a computer mouse, and you can sit back and let Mailchimp do the rest.
The biggest thing is just saving time. We can set up an automation that works in the background. There are only so many hours in a day, so the fact that we can use Mailchimp’s automations, let them do what we need them to do, and then capitalize based on the results is huge. We just set those up once, and then it saves us time and increases our productivity across the board.
We’ve been using the Photo-Forward Product Promo template [from the Mailchimp Marketplace] because it’s photo-friendly and we like the sections it offers. Based on the graphics and content we create in-house, that template helps us create the best experience for our customers. It allows us to showcase our products, banners, sales, or events, and we're really happy with it.
We use the Inbox Preview feature a lot, too, especially when we’re using graphics that we want to display across our website and email. It helps us make sure we're not getting anything clipped off and that [the email] looks good on both mobile and desktop.
And then we also use Content Optimizer every single time we send because it gives us recommendations for our next email; things like different font sizes or graphics that we could include. We look at that report and see what we can do better next time based on Mailchimp’s recommendations.
I think Mailchimp’s tools are just fantastic across the board.
Every email we send out has links to our social media channels, so it's all connected. And vice versa, when we put new email campaigns out there, we’re able to re-share them on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes we’ll even share them in Facebook Groups to hit some of our more targeted audiences with those campaigns.
The ease of sharing—that synergy between the platforms—allows us to point people from social media to Mailchimp or from Mailchimp to our social channels. It can be a helpful growth method; it covers all of our bases.
Overall, what’s been the key to success for Steel City?
We've always challenged ourselves, no matter what. So even if something seems easier or we find that something is going well, we still try to push ourselves. We challenge ourselves not just with trading cards—because there are a lot of people who are selling and buying trading cards these days—but we've expanded into the market of unopened trading card boxes and cases. We go after the markets that we feel confident in and challenge ourselves to be on top.
Do you have any advice for other small businesses?
It's almost a cliché to say, but if you want to start a new business, the only difference between jumping in now or 2 months from now is the head start you’d have if you began today. So my advice would be to jump in with 2 feet. Don't put this on the back burner. Don't just rely on what you're doing now.