March 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

New e-mail marketing program is a sweet spot for Jelly Belly

Confectioner Jelly Belly Candy Co. says an overhaul of its e-mail marketing program spurred a 46% increase in conversions and a rise in both deliverability and open rates. And the retailer saved money.

Confectioner Jelly Belly Candy Co. says an overhaul of its e-mail marketing program spurred a 46% increase in conversions and a rise in both deliverability and open rates. And the retailer saved money.

In August, the candy maker, which sells sweets both online and to distributors, decided it needed to make some changes to the e-mails it sent to about 400,000 opt-in customers. “We looked at our cost per conversion across the board, assessed our profit margin and decided that for the amount we were spending, we were not getting the return we needed,” says Jason Marrone, e-commerce marketing manager for Jelly Belly.

The first step was switching to e-mail marketing software and management company StreamSend Inc. Next, Jelly Belly increased the frequency of its e-mails, from monthly to every two weeks. It also began peppering its messages with special offers, discounts and promotions. “Before we were just using e-mails to introduce new products,” Marrone says.

The result? E-mail conversion rates have climbed from 2.63% to 3.93%. The cost to send those e-mails also is lower. Jelly Belly now pays about 50 cents per thousand e-mails compared to $3 per thousand before. 20% more e-mails are reaching inboxes and the candy company’s open rate increased by the same percentage.

Marrone says its new e-mail management vendor, StreamSend, offered a better value than other providers it considered. “We are able to track open rates and click-though rates and the customer service and pricing is great,” Marrone says, adding that the StreamSend allowed Jelly Belly to send several test e-mails to try out the system before signing a contract.

But perhaps the biggest benefit of working with StreamSend, Marrone says, is its partnership with Habeas Inc. Habeas boosts e-mail deliverability rates for retailers by helping them comply with the rules of major e-mail services, such as AOL and Yahoo. As a StreamSend customer, Jelly Belly was able to secure a deep discount from Habeas, Marrone says, although he did not disclose what he pays.

Habeas’ e-mail certification process includes such requirements as having an easy-to-locate unsubscribe option and abiding by e-mail opt-in rules. “Habeas basically has a list of providers it works with and tells them that any e-mails coming from Jelly Belly are safe and that we are not sending anything to anyone that we shouldn’t,” Marrone says.

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