My Semi-Annual Sale: What Worked, What Didn't

To continue my bad behavior (I'll explain more in a sec), I decided to completely and 100% randomly write this blog post instead of my regularly scheduled content (sorry Dannie <<my strategist).

The bad behavior I'm referring to was my knee-jerk reaction to run a surprise sale July 4th weekend. And yes, it really was a surprise, even to myself. Here's how it all started:

Oh Mailchimp. I wanted to like it so much. Mailchimp was great for awhile but it would get so frustrating when my friends and I were at dinner and someone would say, "Hey, Christina, why'd you stop sending emails?" and then my heart would drop and I'd frantically log in trying to see what they were talking about (because I'm a great entrepreneur and horrible friend sometimes). A bottle of wine later (hey, we split it!), I'd be ready to accept that this was my fate. You see, I'd tried ConvertKit for a hot minute, but oh my GOSH was that boring (sorry Nathan-- still love your book). So with my tail between my legs, back to Mailchimp I went, defeated but no worse for the wear.

Then, about two months ago, I decided I was going to cave and put a pop up on my site. Annoying, I know, I agree! But now there are more of you that I'm collecting under my proverbial feathers like little chick-a-boos (luf you). I chose Privy since I'd had it on my old site, and since I knew it ran on Squarespace. Privy ran a promotion with Emma, and bleeding from my eyes over email marketing, I decided to try it out. I looked at it, peeked around, and it looked about the same as everything else I'd seen. So I called them, and asked them- what's the delivery rate. I had to pick my big, cartoon jaw off the floor when they told me they could guarantee at 99.3% delivery rate. Sold, done, I didn't care how much it cost.

Before Emma, I was basically like Mr. Magoo, working on something to send, heading to the post office and dropping it off in the recycling bin... then wondering why no one got my mail... Since they were so confident in their delivery rates, I decided to take my new shiny plan out for a test spin. The July 4th weekend was coming up, and I'd had plans to do a sale twice per year. But sales and marketing take so much effort, and with a new course launching soon, I didn't have it in me. I told myself, "Ugh, too late dummy, just do it in November when you run your Black Friday sale," and went to bed. But, like all great entrepreneurs/awful significant others, I woke up at 6:30 like some sort of possessed doll and found myself maniacally making my first email in Emma. "What the heck," I thought, "I have nothing to lose." Sidenote: I was mostly right, goodbye 12 unsubscribers!

And just like that, I sent my first Emma email announcing my 40% sale. 

If you're wondering how I came up with the 40% amount and only on sale twice annually, you should check out my friend and mentor Lisa Jacobs's blog. The peer pressure from Anthropologie and Shay Cochrane of SC Stockshop was enough to convince me that this was an excellent idea. And it was.

The Good

All in all, I sent out three emails, which you can study by clicking here. The first email was just a friendly announcement telling my list about the sale. By the second email, released on Day 2, I'd gotten some great feedback and threw in some reviews I'd been stockpiling away because...? I have no idea why, actually.

P.S. party people- NEVER STOCKPILE YOUR REVIEWS!! (Review page coming soon). I took Sunday, July 3rd off of emailing to

(1) see what would happen and

(2) because I already felt like a huge slimer sleazeball sending out all these salesy emails (even though, let's be real, do you ever, EVER delete an Anthro 40% off email???).

Finally, on Day 4, July 4th, I sent out the last email mid-day to remind everyone how awesome this sale was, and that, yes, it really was going away until November. Okay, y'all really have to go download my email PDFs- this third email is going to rock your socks off with all the Americana themed graphic design I did. I may or may not have binged a bit at Shay's sale, and gone a little nuts with her stock photos, so yeah, email #3 looks REALLY good.

According to the numbers- here's what I learned:

  • Day 1 | Email 1 of 3: About the same open rate as email 3 of 3 with the HIGHEST click through rate (CTR). Second highest sales day.
  • Day 2 | Email 2 of 3: Highest open rate and lowest CTR. Third highest sales day.
  • Day 3 | No Email: Lowest Sales Day by ~$500
  • Day 4 | Email 3 of 3: Same open rate as Day 1 Email; CTR was low, almost as low as Day 2 email. Highest sales day by far.

Maybe Dannie can write a follow-up post about the strategy behind this. I think all in all that strategy would be to throw rotten fruits and vegetables at me, and I would encourage her. I would.

Now, where there's good, there's some bad too.

The Bad

I really don't know how to quantify or qualify 'the bad' here since this was a sale I was planning on launching last March, then May, then... who knows when I would have done it. The marketing was admittedly a sneeze shy of pure experimentation. However, I do think I left a lot of money on the table by not having these things:

  • a strategy
  • emails that added more value- this was conceivably the first time some of these people had gotten my emails since I'd been landing in their spam folders- it wasn't super nice of me to just pop up out of the blue and ask them to buy from me (even if it is a rad product)
  • more emails- with each email, I did lose some subscribers, and the number lost kept growing with each email, but I also would have had more sales.

What is Different for November

I'm kind of tired and I LOVE lists, so here you go. You probably weren't reading all this text anyway:

  • Goals
    • Double Revenue from this Sale
    • Quadruple List Size Leading Up to Sale (note: we've added about 1700 people in the last month due to a launch and some strategic collaborations, so we're well on our way!! Yay, pop the champs!)
    • Make enough that I can be a baller like Melyssa Griffin and share my income reports
  • Strategy
    • Secrets
    • Tons of Cupcakes
    • Better (and more) emails

What did you think? Did you like the sale? Did you hate my graphic design? Let me know!