theCLIKK Opens Up the Potential of Email Marketing

25K

ACTIVE SUBSCRIBERS IN 2 YEARS

50%

REDUCTION IN ACQUISITION COST

The Challenge

  • Looking for a way to engage audience in more channels
  • Wanted to be able to track and maintain customer data for full context of their journey
  • Needed something that was robust and easy to use to launch new blog and newsletter

The Solution

  • Can now tailor the frequency with which it sends to subscribers to reflect their level of engagement
  • Now targeting active subscribers rather than passive ones and boosting open rates, deliverability, and commercial value in the process.
  • The ability to tag active readers through ActiveCampaign enables theCLIKK to create custom audiences on Facebook.
Usually, the more capable automation becomes, the more complex it gets. ActiveCampaign broke that cycle, which is why I’ve been recommending it to businesses ever since it first came on my radar

theCLIKK, a newsletter for marketers, is proving just how powerfully engaging email can be, especially when it’s combined with the...

United States
Company Size
1-100 employees
Industry
Blogger/Author
Integrations
Facebook
Facebook Custom Audiences
Zapier
Features
Automations
Campaigns
Lists
Predictive Sending
Segmentation
Tagging

theCLIKK, a newsletter for marketers, is proving just how powerfully engaging email can be, especially when it’s combined with the right automation platform.

Russ Henneberry isn’t just an email marketer. He’s a passionate advocate with years of experience defending and demonstrating the value of email—even when plenty of marketers seem determined to write it off.

“Ever since I started in digital marketing around 2004, people have been queuing up to declare email has been killed off by this or that new platform,” he says. “But somehow, it always ends up being the king of conversion.”

That’s not to say every marketer knows how to do email well. In his nearly two decades in content marketing, Russ has seen plenty of businesses get it wrong: building up endlessly growing databases of subscribers who may not even realize they’re subscribers—and undermining open rates and deliverability in the process. However, he knew there was a far better way to leverage the vast potential of email—and in November 2019, he founded a business to prove it.

“Email newsletters grabbed my attention because they sit at the intersection of these two very powerful marketing disciplines: email and content,” he says. “Good content gives you strong open rates and engagement. And at the same time, you’re leveraging one of the most powerful channels—email—for promoting and selling things. I wanted to launch a new project, so I created theCLIKK.”

An email experience that keeps readers clicking

theCLIKK is a daily email created by marketers for marketers—and it embodies everything Russ has learned about what email marketing can be. theCLIKK balances original and curated content, with its small team reading 10 articles so its subscribers only need to read 1.

“That’s what most of the emails we get back from our subscribers have to say,” explains Russ. “They appreciate not having to go check all the different blogs and feeds because we’ve done it for them. We’re trying to build the habit of people accessing our newsletter daily. It’s similar to how you’d market an app—only this app happens to sit inside your email. We want them to open it and feel that they’re inside a familiar experience.”

When Russ talks about subscribers, he has these types of habitual readers in mind. He’s not interested in building the most extensive possible email database to market to advertisers. Instead, he has his eye on the number of people reading his email daily.

“For me, a subscriber is someone that is A, getting the email—, B, opening the email, and C, trusting what they read in the email,” he says. “That’s why we get results for advertisers. We know what matters, and it’s not just the size of the list.”

Email capability without the complexity

theCLIKK’s newsletter is a vision of email marketing built around the value of quality engagement—and to make that vision a reality, Russ knew he needed the right platform. Fortunately, he knew precisely which he wanted to use.

“I was an early user of ActiveCampaign at another company and I’d never seen world-class automation that was so simple to use before,” he recalls. “Usually, the more capable automation becomes, the more complex it gets. ActiveCampaign broke that cycle, which is why I’ve been recommending it to businesses ever since it first came on my radar.”

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ActiveCampaign’s capability without complexity enables theCLIKK’s business model in two important ways. First, on the creative side, it gives Russ’s team the control over the look, feel, and tone of voice that the newsletter’s appeal depends on. 

“Our personality and tone of voice are what makes us different,” he says. “People appreciate the quippy nature of what we send them. Being able to control the look and feel of the email is a big part of that. I designed this business to be as simple as possible and just focused on putting great content out there. I’ve used just about every email building platform over the years, and nothing else gives you the same ability to control look and feel without getting a developer involved.”

How automation drives deliverability and value

Equally crucial is the control that ActiveCampaign provides over the audience for theCLIKK—tailoring the frequency with which it sends to subscribers to reflect their level of engagement. It’s a vital part of Russ’s vision of how email should work—targeting active subscribers rather than passive ones and boosting open rates, deliverability, and commercial value in the process.

“ActiveCampaign’s automations have been outstanding for our deliverability,” says Russ. “I’m able to pull disengaged people out automatically using the automation recipes that are available on the platform, which are super simple to use. For example, we tag the subscribers who haven’t engaged with us for 30 or 90 days. After 30 days, we stop emailing them daily and send less frequently; after 90 days, we stop sending altogether. This strategy keeps the ratio of people who are opening and engaging with our email high and keeps us out of the Promotions tab in Gmail.”

Excluding the disengaged to keep subscriber quality high is just one part of ActiveCampaign’s contribution. Platform integrations also play a crucial role in helping to bring in new, relevant readers.

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Kickstart your weekly newsletter with an ActiveCampaign email automation recipe

Building a bigger audience with the ActiveCampaign tech stack

“As soon as I started using ActiveCampaign, I realized that I hadn’t just picked the right platform, I’d chosen the right tech stack,” says Russ. “That’s because there are so many integrations I can leverage to make email do the things that I want. For example, we use an integration with UpViral, which creates a custom sharing link for our emails and enables us to incentivize people to refer others. That cuts my subscriber acquisition costs in half. Tagging active readers through ActiveCampaign also means I can create custom audiences to target with short versions of our content on Facebook. We use the Facebook algorithm to target people similar to those who engage daily.”

“The trust of our audience is vitally important to us—that’s why we held off with advertising until we had companies reaching out to us that we definitely want to recommend,” says Russ. “Getting to the point when a company like ActiveCampaign reaches out and wants to advertise with us was a real milestone. It’s a platform I recommend to people time and time again.”


Tactics such as these have helped theCLIKK build an audience of over 25,000 active subscribers in its first 2 years. If you’d like to achieve subscriber growth like theCLIKK, get started with a free active campaign trial of ActiveCampaign today. 

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