Independent Media publishing house: automation of a mass newsletter layout

14 Aug ‘19

Independent Media creates world-renown media brands in Russia. Each project is a multimedia communication platform, focused on fulfilling and anticipating the desires of their audience: Cosmo.ru, Goodhouse.ru, Bazaar.ru, Graziamagzine.ru, Esquire.ru, Robb.report, and Popmech.ru

In 2018, we intertwined all Independent Media (IM) website subscriber database and reduced unsubs thanks to an email frequency limiting algorithm. Towards the end of the year, we integrated automated mass mailing layouts within projects, which allowed the publishing house to increase their mailing quantity by 2.4 times without having to hire an additional email marketer.

  Was Without automation With automation
Quantity of mailings per month 80 mailings 192 mailings 192 mailings
Time spent preparing mailings 120 hours or 15 working days 288 hours or 36 working days 96 hours or 12 working days

Task

Towards the end of 2018, IM decided to renew its personalized email strategy, taking into account their reader’s real interests.

In order to send news and articles, which are relevant to real and engaged readers, IM marketers started enriching their subscriber data taking into account their interests relative to different topics: beauty, sports, science, etc. Due to detailed segmentation, the number of mailings increased from 80 to 192 over the course of one month.

The preparation of one mailing in the visual editor, on average, took up an hour and a half. New work volumes required 288 marketer hours per month, which is 36 non-stop specialist workdays, which is exactly why we were assigned with the task of automatic the layout creation of mass mailings.

We developed a universal letter template that automatically creates the layout for a mailing based on news added to our system by IM marketers. Thus, we reduced letter preparation times threefold. Today, 192 mailings can be prepared by one person.

Solution

In November, IM integrated their site management system with us in order to relay data on reader interests and load content for topic-based mailings into Mindbox. After we prepared universal letter templates which automatically prepares a mailing from news loaded into our system by an IM marketer.

Further below, we’ll share with you how we completed the assigned task.

Collected IM subscriber interests in a single database

IM regularly transfers data related to its audience’s interests into Mindbox. For enrichment purposes, we utilize three information collection methods:

  • Subscription form for an appealing topic under each article.
  • Mass mailing with a survey link based on topic.
  • Banner with a call to subscribe to a specific topic.
Subscription form
Subscription form for a fashion newsletter at the bottom of a women’s style article for spring at www.cosmo.ru
A questionnaire page
A questionnaire page for the www.cosmo.ru project. Readers are presented with an option to subscribe to newsletter topics that interest them. Survey results are automatically saved in Mindbox and user profiles.

IM integrated their site management system with Mindbox’s CDP (Customer Data Platform, a system for managing client data), in order to set up an automatic relay of data related to subscriber interests. After these, segments based on interests were created for each project, which is then refreshed in real-time. For example, when an individual subscribes to receive beauty related news, he lands in a segment for receiving a topic-specific newsletter.

Unified client profile
This is the unified client profile, where personal information and behavioral actions are stored: which articles are viewed on the site, subscriptions, information on whether letters are opened or ignored.

Developed automatic letter layout creation

The unified layout is set up for each project once. All newsletter information that was previously relayed to Mindbox by an IM marketer is automatically customized (logos, images, text, links, letter topic). The only part that needs to be done manually is setting up UTM tags, sending a test letter, and selecting a recipient segment.

Current sequence:

  1. An IM marketer prepares a list of news which needs to be sent to subscribers on the day of.
  2. The final list is sent from the admin section of IM to Mindbox with the help of just a single operation. There is the option of editing news directly within the Mindbox system.
  3. The Marketer creates a letter based on a special HTML template, sends himself a test letter, checks it, and then sends the newsletter to the specific segment.

The automatic layout creation is made with parameters that execute command functions. If this letter is sent to a reader, he will see a different layout – instead of parameters, he will see relevant images and text. This method of letter creation reduced preparation times for one mailing down to 30 minutes from an hour and a half.

This is how an automatically created layout looks for the www.cosmo.ru project. Instead of images and text in in the letter, we have parameters
This is how an automatically created layout looks for the www.cosmo.ru project. Instead of images and text in in the letter, we have parameters

This is how automatic sending on the reader’s screen
This is how automatic sending on the reader’s screen

In December 2018, and through the Mindbox system, we sent the first automatically created Cosmopolitan newsletter, in February 2018, we started sending newsletters for the «Popular mechanics» and «Hearth». In March, these newsletters were launched for all of our projects.

Reduced writing time
Prior to splitting the audience across interests, IM marketers sent 80 letters per month, after that the number increased to 192 letters
Thanks to automation, IM marketers compose 192 letters in 96 hours instead of 288
Despite the monthly volume of mailings having increased by 2.4 times, we managed to reduce letter preparation times by three. Thanks to automation, IM marketers compose 192 letters in 96 hours instead of 288
Anastasia Abramova Anastasia Abramova,
LOYALTY PROGRAM MANAGER

 «We are very grateful in front of the Mindbox team, which impressed us with their approach to established tasks. Our partner developed individual solutions just for us, they took into account the multitude of nuances related to our various projects, they delicately reacted to all of our wishes, which led to such appreciable results».

Ksenia Aleksandrova Ksenia Aleksandrova,
director of digital product development

«Our new email marketing strategy assumed a serious increase in newsletter quantity. If we were to retain existing systems, we would be forced to bring an additional person onto the project. The solution suggested by our partners, Mindbox, allowed us to escape that. In addition, the entire process became much faster and simple in general, which is a huge plus».

This success story was prepared by

Marina Pisarenko

Marina PisarenkoProject manager
Maria Vekshina

Maria VekshinaEditor
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