Tell me about Canaflora. How long have you been in business, what do you do, what is the drive behind the business

Canaflora is a gift delivery company, sending flowers and gift baskets across Canada. We’ve been in business for four years and have grown exponentially from when we first started. Our philosophy is delivering good product at an affordable price and with strong service.

Since our inception, we believed that our customers shouldn’t pay hidden fees like many other similar companies charge. From the get-go, we’ve offered free delivery and a pay-what-you see pricing model. If we say $49.99 (+ tax), they pay $49.99 (+tax). No ifs, ands, or buts.

We adjusted our business model, cutting out as many middlemen as possible to make sure our prices stay fair and competitive. We have also opted out of an expensive downtown location for the same reason.

What made you feel email marketing was important to your marketing strategy

The more the customers come back to us, the more lifetime value they hold to our company. Our retention rate is a very important part of our business and what better way to reach our database than with email marketing?

Since you work with vendors all over Canada, what are things you do as apart of your business model to ensure you keep customer loyalty strong and also quality high.

At this point, we’ve realized we don’t do enough.

When just starting the business, we believed that if we provide awesome product and service, our customers would come back. Most didn’t. Everyone expects a positive experience and that didn’t make our business stand out.

Currently we’re introducing measures to make our product unique and easy to remember. We’re also diversifying our marketing activity to make sure the specials, advertisements, and other content our customers see are as personalized as we can make them.

What tools do you use besides email to help grow Canaflora?

SEO and PPC. We are also experimenting with direct sales at this point — B2B is a rapidly growing segment for us. We are currently trying out white label websites and Facebook ads too.

I see on your site that you also offer products internationally. What has it been like setting up your network outside of Canada? Do you have any marketing, networking, or sales tips for web companies starting the international process.

The International section on our web site is just drop shipping. We just resell services of another company which operates a worldwide network of florists.

We do have multiple international partners for whom we do drop shipping in Canada and this is a growing segment of our business. Initially we got them all just by emailing them or chatting through a social network about the business.

I know you use segmentation. Can you explain about the uses of segmentation and why it is important. Also, how have you seen segmentation improve the email marketing for you?

Its all started with poor performance of our regular emails. We started to research and brainstorm about how we can slice our database to drive more personalized offers and improve conversions of our emails.

At this point we segment our database by:

  • Purchase history (new customers, active customers, dead list)
  • Occasions – As our product is occasion-driven, we track what the occasions it was purchased for and then set up the appropriate reminder campaign
  • Geographic – we drive personalized promotions based on the area where the customers live or where their order was delivered before
  • Email activity – we track the way users handle our emails and add them to appropriate segment as a result. For example, users who never open our emails are segmented and then aggressively targeted with Facebook ads or direct marketing

Because customer’s habits depend so much on factors in their life, segmentation has helped us with either offering the appropriate products or improve our timing (for example, we know they’re more likely to order flowers if someone’s birthday is coming up). Doing what’s more comfortable for our customers rather than bombarding them with email specials they may or may not care about definitely helps improve our conversions.

For any marketers who are new to segmentation, what helpful tips can you give them?

  • First of all put together a list of how you can segment your database – Gender, Age, Purchase History, Geographic, Email activity, Social media activity, Email provider, etc.
  • Then prioritise the segments based on what makes the most sense for your business and start sending emails. Wait for results. The point is that your segmented emails should perform better than broad emails.
  • Based on our experience, segmentation is a never-ending process, so you can keep going with more and more personalization. Remember to watch your results and make sure it makes sense in terms of time and money spent, but if you have an idea — even if you think it may not be the best idea — it may pay off to run a test, just in case.

Are there any other features in the ActiveCampaign platform you find really useful for your business?

The biggest advantage of ActiveCampaign for us is that we can fully automate our email marketing activity. We are heavy users of ActiveCampaign API and Webhooks, which are integrated with our CRM. Based on that our segmentation process is 90% automated.

Basically with the help of ActiveCampaign technology and our own efforts, in one month we built a marketing automation software which would usually cost from $3,000 per month if you use an existing provider.

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