Pit Boss Grills Bring the Heat through Marketing Automation

Pit Boss Grills


revenue from a single email campaign


increase in click through rate on highly targeted emails


open rate on community-driven emails

The Challenge

  • Lack of automation capabilities made it difficult to communicate at scale
  • Difficult email editor made email building a challenge
  • Digital and physical sales were hard to connect, resulting in lack of personalized communication to customers

The Solution

  • Adopting ActiveCampaign, Pit Boss Grills enhanced their marketing approach with superior automation abilities enabling efficient communication at scale
  • ActiveCampaign offered a more user-friendly and consistent editor, ensuring emails appeared as intended
  • Using interest tags through Shopify integration and custom API connection to NetSuite bridges the gap between physical and online sales enabling more personalized and continuous engagement with their customers
Between two emails we did over $76,000 in revenue, and it was largely thanks to ActiveCampaign forms, tagging, and automation that we were able to do that.

Established in 1999, Pit Boss Grills' parent company Dansons initially found its niche in animal bedding and pellets. Evolving with...

Company Size
100-500 employees
ActiveCampaign for Marketing

Established in 1999, Pit Boss Grills’ parent company Dansons initially found its niche in animal bedding and pellets. Evolving with consumer demands and market dynamics, the company eventually pivoted towards the barbecue industry eventually developing the Pit Boss Wood Pellet grill. The team shared, “CEO Dan Thiessen and his 2 sons wanted to create a wood pellet grill that would work in any climate. You can use it year-round and you aren’t limited to your grill. That’s where Pit Boss was born.” Unlike other grills, Pit Boss gives users direct flame access, allowing them to sear their food directly over the wood pellet heat source. Now, with over 70 different models of grills and smokers, Pit Boss has expanded to create a passionate community of outdoor cooking enthusiasts through education and recipe sharing. They emphasize the flexibility of their grills as well as their competitive pricing compared to other pellet-fueled grills in the space.

Pit Boss’s Marketing Challenges

Prior to ActiveCampaign, Pit Boss faced a myriad of marketing hurdles. The team shared that “two of the biggest reasons why we switched over to ActiveCampaign were for the automation capabilities as well as the more intuitive editor.”

A recurring issue they encountered was with email design. The team pointed out a specific concern, recalling that “there was a time when we would be testing our emails, and the second it got sent to your inbox it just looked totally different from what you were working on within our old platform.” This inconsistency wasn’t just a minor inconvenience—it was “a really big frustration with the design team.” The need to ensure consistency and accurate brand presentation led the team to seek a new solution, and they eventually selected ActiveCampaign.

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Changing the game with ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign has helped Pit Boss Grills level up the personalization and sophistication with which they communicate with their prospects and customers, leading to significant business growth. The platform’s automation and advanced capabilities have become an indispensable asset, enabling them to engage with their customers’ specific interests, driving the customer journey, and delivering personalized touch points at scale.

Seamlessly integrated systems are key to Pit Boss’ success. Between ActiveCampaign’s Shopify integration and the API integration Pit Boss has set up with their backend system, NetSuite, they have full visibility into what customers have purchased, what their interests are, and what grill they own. This allows for a more personalized touch with their customer base. The result? Targeted ongoing nurture automations that suggest complementary accessories specific to their grill setup, which not only enhances the grilling experience for customers but also strategically creates upsell opportunities. Since the premium grills are often one-time purchases, being able to continue to add value to their customers while also increasing the lifetime value of each customer for the business is a win-win.

Turning customers into loyal fans

Pit Boss Grills are available at a myriad of retailers, and many people opt to shop in person to be able to get a feel for the grills before bringing them home. Since not all of Pit Boss Grills’ sales are digital, it provides a challenge connecting the two. “There is an e-commerce component but there’s the physical sales and how do you bridge the gap from physical into digital so that you can continue to grow a community of customers.”

The team has bridged the physical and online realms through ActiveCampaign’s Shopify integration and a custom API connection with NetSuite. Purchase data shared with Pit Boss from their retail partners is then imported into ActiveCampaign, tagging contacts with their specific grill and accessory purchases, plugging them into the growing digital community of passionate grillers. 

Pit Boss leverages this information to encourage customers to expand their collection of Pit Boss products. “We utilize both abandoned cart automations and upsell after purchase emails. For example, when a customer orders from the griddle category, we send them an email encouraging the purchase of some of our popular griddle accessories. The same goes for our wood pellet grills.” Ongoing reminders of what else is available to enhance their Pit Boss experience build passionate and loyal fans. 

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Fueling conversions with marketing automation

The team shared one particularly successful campaign that hinged on this type of interest visibility: back-in-stock emails. By leveraging ActiveCampaign, the team was able to set up critical triggers for out-of-stock items. Customers often do a lot of research before making their final purchasing decision, but popular models often sell out quickly. Pit Boss uses ActiveCampaign forms to collect emails from those interested in out-of-stock grills, and when inventory is refreshed they are notified. The ease of use and flexibility of the forms are important to Pit Boss, as they shared, “Implementing ActiveCampaign forms is one of the easiest processes between our sales, marketing, and development teams. We love the ability to customize the sizing, color, and text and they integrate well into our product and landing pages.” 

The team shared one specific recent campaign with overwhelmingly successful results: “We had a really big back-in-stock grill campaign in June and July of this year (2023) and between 2 emails it brought in $76,000.” This not only speaks to the effectiveness of their campaigns but also to the value that timely notifications bring to their customers, enabled at scale through thoughtful and seamless automation.

Fostering community for sustained growth

Another pillar of their ongoing community-building strategy has a delicious twist: recipe emails. Pit Boss strives to go beyond generic email communications. Instead, the team shared, “We send a new recipe email every Thursday from Pit Boss.” The various recipes include links to various consumables Pit Boss provides, from pellets to spices to sauces. But it’s not just about the food. With this approach, the team is helping to build brand awareness. “Solidify ourselves more as a Lifestyle Outdoor cooking brand rather than just pushing a product every time.” Providing continuous value to customers has cultivated a dedicated fan base and a community of outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts, along with loyal repeat customers. 

Pit Boss’ community-driven strategy, enabled through ActiveCampaign’s robust automation and personalization capabilities, has paved the way for them to foster a stronger, more connected community, driving sales and solidifying their brand reputation in the process.

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Pit Boss’ smoking results

As always, the proof is in the numbers, and Pit Boss has seen some pretty impressive results:

  • 38.7% increase in email revenue YoY
  • $76,717 in revenue from a single back-in-stock campaign
  • 786% increase in click-through rate on highly targeted emails
  • 34% open rate on interest-driven recipe series

It’s clear that Pit Boss’ has mastered the incorporation of marketing automation into their marketing strategy helping them save time, boost sales, and reach more customers. Continually driving value for their community of passionate grillers and delivering the right message to the right people is driving immense growth for the business, and at this rate, it’s not slowing down any time soon.

Pit Boss Grills’ partnership with ActiveCampaign is more than just a story of a company adopting a tool. It’s about a brand understanding its unique challenges in the market, from bridging physical sales to digital interests to nurturing a growing community of grill enthusiasts and finding the right platform to address these challenges head-on. Their journey with ActiveCampaign demonstrates the potential of smart, automated marketing solutions in a competitive market landscape.
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