How Revolution Bars Group is using the Airship platform. An interview with Kathryn Salé.
We recently caught up with Kathryn Salé, Digital Marketing Executive at Revolution Bars Group, to have a chat about their thoughts on email marketing, how they’re using different platform features and how it works for their multiple brands and sites.
A bit of a Revolution back story.
Revolution Bars Group is a leading operator of premium bars with over 70 venues in the UK. They have two brands, Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba, known for their extensive drinks menus and serving up some delicious food too. They’ve been our longest serving client, having been with us for over ten years, using our CRM and email marketing platform to store customer data and send segmented and targeted email communications. Last July, alongside a transition phase for both of us, they went from full-service to self-service.
So, talk us through how the transition from full-service to self-service went down?
‘The whole team was trained but I personally picked it up pretty easily as the platform is really straightforward to use. When we initially had the training it seemed like a lot of information to take in, so it was really nice to know that we can just pick up the phone and get help from you guys if we ever got stuck. Since using it more and more, it’s definitely become second nature. Once you’ve gathered your images and copy, it’s so easy to build.’
‘I don’t know how the email builder could be simpler.’
Kathryn goes on to explain how the team have enjoyed having complete oversight for their email marketing efforts; ‘What’s been so good about it, is that it’s given the team real ownership. It’s been great to test and learn from it. We’re constantly looking at the stats and analysing the results of different split tests - we’re really invested in making sure what we’re doing is working. It’s particularly good for us because our two brands are completely different so what works for Revolution, doesn’t necessarily work for Revolucion de Cuba.
We’ve also really enjoyed being able to be super-reactive with the emails. There have been times where I’ve pretty much whipped one up and sent it out within an hour or so just because the weather suddenly became amazing. It’s great to have a platform which you can be really flexible with.’
Marketing strategy-wise, just how important is email marketing to you guys?
Revolution once religiously sent out 3 emails a week but have since taken a step back and concluded it’s much more important to be sending out content which has real value and perhaps that is one a week, or even once a fortnight. They don’t put pressure on themselves;
‘We’ve learnt loads about our database so it’s really important for us that people are actually enjoying the content we’re putting out there. Email is one of the key communication tools along with social media when planning out what we’re going to be talking about in our marketing efforts.
Let’s chat features. How are you using milestones and reporting?
Revolution was the first client to roll out Airship’s Milestones feature. These are a set of automatic segmentation criteria, splitting your database by engagement levels, for example; highly engaged, new, unengaged. They use it to understand their database just as much as they do to send targeted campaigns: ‘We use Milestones for every send unless we’re just sending for a single unit. It’s really useful to be able to see we don’t have as many people in the ‘new’ segment this month or if people have dropped down into the engaged segment from highly engaged. It absolutely determines the type of content we’re sending out. For example, we only target the unengaged segment when it’s a big campaign such as a deep discount off food, or a new menu launch just to see if we can tempt them back in and essentially just a bit of a ‘hello, we’re still here if you fancy it’ kinda message. Whereas if we’re sending out something to encourage last-minute bookings, like New Year's Eve, that always only goes to the Highly Engaged segment as we know they’re the ones we’re likely to get through the door.’
With our Proof of Presence reporting, we’ve been able to provide Revolution with the average number of days between visits which has led them to change up their strategy around WiFi emails, changing from sending every six weeks to every three months. ‘We’ll switch these up with a different focus depending on the time of the year as we now know, that it was likely that some people will have actually missed one of the emails as the frequency is over six weeks.
How do you manage multiple brands and units?
‘Each site has flexibility with how often they want to send emails as of course, there’s no cost to it. We send out a form to all units with questions around what they want to include, when they want it to go out etc. We then gather this info and get something worked up for them.
We always use the Head Office account so we have complete oversight of everything going out, whether it’s for a particular site or a central broadcast. We also have saved searches for regular campaigns to make it pretty easy when preparing to send an email. For example, if we’re doing a Brunch campaign for Revolucion de Cuba, we know there are always going to be two versions - one for English sites and one for Scottish so I can quickly target the right audience for each offer.’
What’s next for Revolution? What are you looking forward to?
‘We’re hoping to roll out lots more content on the blog to offer a richer experience which we’ll be able to link out to from the emails. We’re also super excited about the student return. It’s going to be our biggest one yet and we’re excited to utilise our resources to create a great experience for them in bar and online.’