What does email marketing have to do with cooking? Just ask Hipcooks.

Hipcooks is a series of 7 cooking schools from San Diego to Seattle. It offers 60+ classes on food, drink, and generally delicious things.

Beyond teaching regular people how to design delectable dishes in the kitchen, the goal of Hipcooks is to create a community in each of their locations.

But how do you create a sense of belonging among your customers when they’re spread across 7 locations in 6 cities along the West Coast?

Hipcooks needed to:

  • Keep track of which contacts live in what city
  • Inform customers about upcoming events and classes in their particular city
  • Send out recipes relevant to time of year and in-season produce in each city
  • Let customers know how they can get involved in each location
  • Stay consistent with the interests and trends of each area

Hipcooks uses ActiveCampaign to divide their email list based on each contact’s location. They ask contacts to select a city when opting in through the form on their website.

When a person fills out this form, a contact is created in ActiveCampaign. The contact is added to a list based on each location the contact selected.

Once a form is submitted, an auto-responder email is sent out to verify the email address and information. Then Hipcooks can send targeted content to their contacts.

“Localizing our content keeps our customers engaged, because we’re able to write about produce that’s relevant to the season in that community.” – Monika Reti

Seattle and San Diego get different newsletters. Portland and Los Angeles get different recipes. Everyone gets the community experience.

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“You eat with your eyes.”

Hipcooks doesn’t send your run-of-the-mill newsletter. Instead of a mass send or generic update, Hipcooks builds community by creating custom content for each geographic location.

Before ActiveCampaign, Hipcooks used a newsletter editor that didn’t give them enough space to customize. ActiveCampaign’s custom HTML campaign feature gives Hipcooks the power to create what Monika calls, “newsletters that are as vibrant and exciting as our message.”

In other words, newsletters with beautiful pictures of food. Food that the customers can create themselves when they attend a class.

An example of the food you could make at a Hipcooks class

This ability to send beautiful, customized content and change it up based on location has given Hipcooks a 70%+ customer retention rate.

Hipcooks used to fill up their classes by running flash sales on other websites. The sales worked to fill seats, but they also cost about 50% of the revenue from each ticket.

Now, with better targeting, Monika can use a deal or coupon email campaign to get people through the door and fill the remaining spots of an almost-full class.

Monika and the Hipcooks team engage with the community wherever they can. Comments, questions, and reviews are addressed on the Hipcooks website and followed up with an email. The Hipcooks team cares about every one of their customers. They show them that they’re valued, and not just another email address on a list.

When customers leave online reviews, Monika is able to respond to them quickly.

Even if you live hundreds of miles away, you’re treated like a neighbor, a friend, or a family member. Personalized content and one-on-one engagement go a long way.

Bringing people together through food and business

Hipcooks hosts classes for individuals – and for businesses (like Nike, Facebook, and Red Bull) who want to strengthen their company culture.

When businesses book a corporate cooking class, attendees are added as contacts in ActiveCampaign (if they’d like to be contacted further). They take down details like:

  • Business name
  • Names of individuals
  • Date of class

Hipcooks can then stay engaged with these contacts, sending them newsletters, content, and emails on the anniversary of their initial class. It’s not uncommon for corporate attendees to return to Hipcooks for a personal class, or for a regular class attendee to book a corporate session with their business.

These engagement campaigns are automated through the ActiveCampaign platform and work to create repeat attendees for Hipcooks.

Hipcooks knows that food brings people together. Add a pinch of personalized email automation, and they have a winning recipe for their business.