Independent Media reduced their workload threefold thanks to marketing automation

25 Mar. ‘19

Independent Media publishes world-famous media brands in Eastern Europe. Each of their projects houses a multimedia communication platform aimed at anticipating and fulfilling the desires of its audience. Some of the most notable brands in their portfolio include the likes of Cosmopolitan, Goodhouse, Bazaar, Esquire, Robb.report, Men’s Health, and Popular Mechanics.

In 2018, we combined the subscription base of all Independent Media (IM) websites and reduced unsubscriptions thanks to an email frequency control algorithm. At the end of the year, we implemented an automatic bulk mailing system on projects to increase the number of their email campaigns by 2.4 times, thereby forgoing the need to hire additional email marketers.

Before automation If automation hadn’t been implemented After automation
Number of emails per month 80  192 192
Email prep time per month 120 hours
(15 working days)
288 hours
(36 working days)
96 hours
(12 working days)

Goals

At the end of 2018, IM decided to update its personalized email marketing approach to address the specific interests of its readers.

In order to send news and articles relevant to their clients’ preferences, IM marketers began enriching subscribers’ data and targeting their interests by topic: beauty, sports, science, etc. As a result of a more detailed approach to segmentation, the number of emails increased from 80 to 192 in just one month.

On average, it took around an hour and a half to compose one email in the visual template editor. So the sheer volume of work required with these new campaigns amounted to 288 hours per month (or 36 full working days). Mindbox’s task was to automate bulk mailings using email templates to save time and capitalize on our marketers’ expertise.

So we developed a universal email template that automatically composes emails from news articles added to our system by an IM marketer. As a result — the time it takes to create emails has been reduced by threefold. Today, 192 emails can be prepared by just one marketing specialist.

Solution

In November, Independent Media integrated its website management system with Mindbox to transmit subscriber interests and upload content to Mindbox’s platform for targeted mailings. After that, we prepared a universal email template that automatically composes mailings from news uploaded to our system by an IM marketer.

Next, we’ll discuss how Mindbox achieved the goal that was set at the very beginning.

We collected the interests of IM subscribers into a single repository.

IM continuously transmits data about its audience’s interests to Mindbox. For us, there are three ways of gathering information:

  • Subscription form for topics of interest under each article;
  • Bulk email with a link to the survey by topic;
  • Banners with a CTA to subscribe to a specific topic.
Subscription form for a fashion mailing subscription at the end of an article about new spring looks on Cosmo
Page with a survey for the Cosmo project. Readers are invited to subscribe to targeted mailing lists according to their interests. Survey results are automatically saved on Mindbox servers and within each reader’s profile.

IM has integrated its site management system with Mindbox’s CDP (Customer Data Platform) to relay subscriber data relating to their interests automatically. Interest segments, updated in real-time, were created for each project. For example, when a reader subscribes to news about beauty, they are placed in a particular targeted mailing segment as a recipient.

This is a single customer profile. It stores personal information and actions – such as which website articles were viewed, which topics they’re subscribed to, and whether emails have been opened or ignored.

We created an auto-generating email template

We built a universal template, which only needs to be configured once per project. All the necessary content for each email, such as the logo, pictures, text, links, subject line are now automatically populated within the template. So, the only steps left are to fill in the UTM tags, send a test email, and select the recipient segment.

The sequence now looks like this:

  1. The IM marketer prepares the day’s list of news items to be sent to subscribers.
  2. Thus list is transferred from IM’s administrative platform to Mindbox with just one click.
  3. The IM marketer creates an email using a special HTML template, sends a test email to themselves, checks everything is okay, and then sends the mailing to the desired segment.

The auto-generated email template comes with parameters. These basically function as specific commands that specify where images and texts go. So when a recipient opens their email, they’ll see an actual email with these images and texts. This automatic email creation method reduced newsletter prep time from 90 down to 30 minutes.

This is what an automatically composed newsletter from the Cosmo project looks like. Instead of images, texts, and links, the email contains text-only parameters.
This is what the email looks like in the reader’s inbox

In December 2018, the first automatically-generated email to Cosmopolitan subscribers was sent through Mindbox’s system, and in February 2019, “Popular Mechanics” and “Good Housekeeping” magazine subscribers began receiving emails based on these templates as well. By March, all IM Publishing House projects had launched auto-generated emails.

The IM marketer used to send 80 mailings per month before segmenting customers based on their interests. After emails were automated, the number of these mailings shot up to 192 per month.
Even though the monthly volume of mailings increased 2.4 times, the overall time that it takes to get emails ready reduced by threefold. Thanks to automation, an Independent Media marketer is now able to complete 192 emails in 96 hours, instead of 288 hours.
Anastasia Abramova Anastasia Abramova,
Loyalty Program Manager

We are very grateful to the Mindbox team; they really impressed us with their approach to our project. Mindbox developed a tailor-made individual solution within their platform, took into account the nuances of our multiple projects, and met all our wishes, ultimately leading to amazing results.

Ksenia Alexandrova Ksenia Alexandrova,
Digital Product Development Director

Our new email marketing strategy involved a dramatic increase in the number of emails. If we had kept our existing system, we would have had to involve more people in the project just to meet the enormous demand. Mindbox’s solution made it possible to avoid this predicament. In addition, the entire process has become faster and easier, which has been a huge advantage.