After settling in France in 2015 from Australia, their home country, Hugh and Susannah Cameron discovered a passion for French antique furniture at a neighborhood party. In Provence, homemade food and wine are served on beautiful antique trestle tables, near the fountain, and under the olive trees, creating a magical atmosphere in the village square.
They later discovered the size, scale, and quality of the French antique markets, and how popular they were, especially abroad. Since these markets were not available outside the region, they decided in 2016 to create Chez Pluie, an online store to present and sell their beautiful Provence antique furniture to customers in the United States, Asia, South America, and Canada.
Their goal was to become the main online source for the purchase of antique French furniture, but achieving this ambitious goal came with its own set of challenges. They wanted to grow their business, but not so quickly as to compromise their high-quality service, so they decided to take the time needed to put efficient in-house processes in place.
Building up significant warehouse capacity online and offline was another challenge. Their plan was to set up a sustainable business over the long term with loyal customers who would come back for more after their first purchases. To do that, they needed a strong online presence and reputation, but struggled with a tight marketing budget. So Chez Pluie started looking for a marketing automation platform that would enable them to achieve all these goals, while offering them as many options as possible.
After using Excel spreadsheets and sending emails manually via Gmail for a while, they discovered ActiveCampaign. The customer experience automation platform checked all the boxes and was a complete and easy-to-use solution they could afford. The main features they wanted were:
- Scheduled emailing
- Lead scoring
- Website activity tracking
- Email design
- Spam control
Once they tried out the platform, they were immediately won over.
Getting started with ActiveCampaign
When they started their partnership with ActiveCampaign, Chez Pluie was a young company with a very small marketing budget. The platform gave them a low-cost option that contributed to the growth of their business.
Seven years later, they moved from a Lite plan to a Plus plan in order to adjust the platform’s functionality to their growing needs. “There’s a saying about the campfire and the camper. When you go camping, if you make a campfire and take care of it while it is still small, it will take care of you when it grows bigger,” said Hugh Cameron, CEO of Chez Pluie.
Indeed, ActiveCampaign has given Hugh and Susannah the tools to manage their company as a professional business from the beginning. With ActiveCampaign, Chez Pluie has established themselves as a big business from day one, and the platform scales with their needs as their business grows. “Right from day one, you have to behave like a big business, even if you’re ‘just’ a startup. This is the only way to become a big business, so you need a real marketing automation platform. ActiveCampaign is ideal when starting out with a small budget,” Hugh explained.
Once signed up, Hugh and Susannah rapidly integrated their website into the platform using Shopify. From the very first day, the sign-up form was published on their site and they were sending out their first automated welcome emails. They later built their scheduled welcome campaign over 6 months with a new welcome email each week. Then they set up a trigger-based email configuration, built using tags when for example, subscribers who view a number of leather chairs receive an email with advice on how to choose the right club chair.
Because of this foundation, Chez Pluie’s email channel has steadily grown over time. This approach to email enabled them to see right from the start that their bases were correctly set up and marketing emailing campaigns functioned properly.
Using the platform on a daily basis
Email is Chez Pluie’s main form of communication. They use ActiveCampaign to encourage their subscribers to interact with and respond to their emails, so they can contact them directly with an individual email. That powerful combination of email automation and personalization enables them to grow their business while remaining close to their customers.
In order not to inundate their customers with emails, they use the tag tool in conjunction with email automation. This way, a subscriber does not receive 3 emails on the same day: for example, a welcome email, a newsletter, and a trigger-based email.
They‘ve integrated this feature into their workflow to distribute these emails based on their subscribers’ tags. Some will be tagged before sending an email, then detagged a few days later, and automation will always make sure tags are in place before sending an email so as not to saturate inboxes. “By combining tags and ActiveCampaign automation, the possibilities for devising emailing campaigns based on different logics are infinite,” Hugh explained.
With the ActiveCampaign platform and the easy-to-use email designer, Chez Pluie sends out 2 to 3 newsletters per week to their 14,000 subscribers. These are both general emails intended for all subscribers and others with personalized content depending on each customer’s particular interests.
AfterChez Pluie sends out a newsletter, website traffic increases considerably, and the newsletters have a 3x higher clickthrough rate than their other sends, demonstrating the power of tailor-made emails. Additionally, Chez Pluie has a phenomenal new subscriber open rate of 50% with a clickthrough rate (CTR) of 30%. Plus, for those who have been subscribed for more than 2 months, their open rates and CTR remain high at 35% and 15%, respectively.
Chez Pluie plans to use ActiveCampaign to drive growth They are also planning to implement an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy thanks to the most efficient CXA platform on the market.
Try ActiveCampaign for free today, and you too will soon be running email campaigns as efficient as Chez Pluie’s.