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membership conversion rate

How Cheryl Hatch Increased Her Membership Conversion Rate By 84% With Just Two Email Campaigns – A Case Study

Can email marketing help grow your business and make more money? What if you have a membership? And what if you help people in teaching and education? Yes, yes, and yes! So let's hear it from our client Cheryl Hatch from Preschool Plan It, who implemented only two of our email campaigns and increased her membership conversion rate by a whopping 84%!

And there's a lot more to come for Cheryl. 

Want to get the full story?

Let's go. 

SOME EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: 

(0:22) Join our FREE Facebook group. 
(3:13) Who is Cheryl Hatch?
(5:58) When did Cheryl get started with email marketing?
(7:37) What was Cheryl's biggest barrier with email marketing? 
(9:16) What are some of the changes Cheryl made when she came into our world?
(14:07) Implementing her first automated campaigns.
(18:30) What results did Cheryl get with her email marketing?
(22:50) What does this increase in conversion rate mean for Cheryl?
(26:12) How does Cheryl feel about her email marketing now?
(28:13) What's the one action that had the most impact on Cheryl's email marketing?
(30:10) Subject lines of the week.

Who is Cheryl Hatch?

Cheryl serves preschool teachers who work with 3 and 4-year-olds in a group setting. With two decades of experience in the education space, Cheryl launched a website jam-packed with awesome resources back in 2010 to help preschool teachers create their lesson plans. She managed to grow her audience by adding ads and affiliate links to her website. Online traffic went crazy (those were the days!), and the teachers in her audience started asking for more resources. 

That's why, in 2016, she turned her website into a monthly recurring membership, complete with lesson plans and professional development training.

When did Cheryl get started with email marketing?

When she first started her email marketing, Cheryl didn't have a lead magnet. She'd simply ask her website visitors to join her newsletter. For a long time, her email marketing consisted of sending out a monthly newsletter packed with lots and lots of information. Around 2015, Cheryl started doing more research on how she could give her audience more and perhaps launch a business.

Although she had no product yet, she realised she had so much information in her newsletter that she could send it twice a month instead. That would give her a better chance to drive people back to her blog for ads and affiliates.

What was Cheryl's biggest barrier with email marketing?

Was that a comfortable transition for Cheryl? Not at all. Increasing the frequency of her emails was a true barrier for Cheryl – she was quite worried about annoying her audience. After all, she'd promised them a once-a-month newsletter when they first signed up, and she felt she was breaking a promise.

It took her a long time to change her mindset and understand she wasn’t sending emails for the sake of sending them. She was sending emails because she could help people! And by sharing more bite-sized information, she was also giving her audience a chance to go and implement her tips in the classroom and make a difference. 

But until she truly realised that, emailing more frequently was her barrier.

What are some of the changes Cheryl made when she came into our world?

The first thing Cheryl did when she came into our world was to re-write her welcome sequence by implementing our 4-day Getting to Know You sequence. Because of the psychological tips that are at the basis of all our campaigns, Cheryl managed to increase her engagement. People started responding to her emails and telling her how much they agreed with what she was sharing. While that didn’t increase her conversions just yet, it improved her deliverability rate. 

Cheryl also created a lead magnet in the shape of a PDF download with some activities to help teachers create a week-long lesson plan. Her lead magnet is something that Cheryl sends out at the start of every month with inspiration for the month ahead. 

Another change that Cheryl made when she joined our world (courtesy of Rob) was to increase the frequency of her emails. She thought about it for 6 months, but eventually, Cheryl started sending out a second email every week on a Thursday. Because that's the point in the week when teachers feel burnt out and could do with some inspiration. So Cheryl sends out a quote and an image to wish her teachers a great rest of the week.

She also added a Super Signature at the bottom of all her emails, which directs people to her website or her membership offer. There’s no call to action in the email as such – just the Super Signature. And Cheryl still gets a lot of replies from the teachers in her audience acknowledging how much they needed the encouragement.

Implementing her first automated campaigns

Cheryl also started looking at the campaigns we offer inside our membership The League intending to increase her membership conversion rate. After becoming familiar with the idea of using a SCORE engine of email campaigns (where the acronym stands for Sales, Content-led, Objection handling, Risk reversal, and Engagement), Cheryl got to work. Because she already had the Engagement piece covered with her value-packed newsletter, she started focusing on the S (sales) and the C (content-led) campaigns first.

Rather than feeling like she's bombarding people with requests to buy, Cheryl was pleased with our approach, which helps you outline what you have to offer and how it can benefit the people in your audience. This is one of the main things Cheryl learnt from us, she said. And it's this idea of talking about your product in a way that doesn't just focus on features and benefits. Instead, she's telling her audience how they can use her products to become awesome preschool teachers.

As a result, Cheryl doesn’t feel salesy anymore. She knows she sells a product that helps people. And that's changed how she feels about talking about her membership. Her resources are exactly what every preschool teacher needs! So she's not scared about doing a call-to-action to her membership in her newsletter, for example. It's easy to let people know how the membership can truly help. 

What results did Cheryl get with her email marketing?

In the 3 months between May and July 2022, Cheryl's membership conversion rate (i.e. people joining her membership from her email list) was just under 2.5%. This is when all Cheryl had in place were her lead magnet, her newsletter, and our Getting to Know You sequence.

Cheryl set herself a goal to increase her membership conversion rate to 5%. So she revamped her Getting to Know You sequence and added a sales campaign to her email engine – i.e. our 6-day Overture campaign, which Cheryl chose to send out every other day instead of daily. She also put a 3-day content-led campaign in place (our Daisy Chain campaign) with pre-recorded videos that people can watch at their own pace.

Now, instead of receiving ‘welcome' emails for 4 days and then going into her newsletter, Cheryl’s new subscribers go through about 21 days of emails. When Cheryl looked at the same 3-month period for this year (May to July 2023), she noticed that the percentage of people joining her membership from her list is just under 4.6%, which takes her super close to an amazing conversion rate of 5%! And that’s with only two new email campaigns in place – she’s not even done yet!

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What does this increase in conversion rate mean for Cheryl?

Cheryl is now communicating how she helps people in a much better way because she's able to understand what they need. While she doesn't run live activities with her audience (because of different time zones), her emails feel ‘real’ – this is Cheryl’s voice. And people feel like they know her. 

What's interesting is that when looking at the conversion rates of the individual campaigns, Cheryl said, the sales aren’t immediate. They’re small numbers. But over time, she achieved a huge increase in conversion because the campaigns she implemented solidified the know, like, and trust factor for her audience. By the time people start receiving her newsletter, they already know they can trust Cheryl. And that’s when the sales happen.

This is important because a lot of email marketers expect to run campaigns and make sales instantly. And to an extent, that happens. But these automations are also building the beliefs, information, context, and understanding of what someone’s offer is. The sales campaigns that are part of our SCORE email engine build the context you need for future campaigns. Our sales campaign shares the information about the offer that people need before they move on to the content-led campaign.

So while you can (and should) expect to make sales in each campaign, what also matters is the knock-on effect – it’s about the bigger picture. And that's how the email campaigns, when linked together, make a real difference.

How does Cheryl feel about her email marketing now?

Cheryl feels great about her email marketing now, and she’s excited about the campaigns she’s created. At the time of our chat, Cheryl was putting her subscribers through her newly created objection-handling campaign. And she's looking forward to working through the finishing touches of her risk reversal campaign, which will offer a low-dollar ticket item to show people what they can get in the membership. 

What’s the one action that had the most impact on Cheryl’s email marketing?

Cheryl thinks the one action that made the most difference was changing her mindset around why she was doing email marketing. Yes, she wants to make sales. But above all, she wants to help make a change for her audience. By keeping that in mind, Cheryl can create better campaigns to promote her membership. 

Suddenly, she feels she's being of service. And if people unsubscribe as a result, that’s okay – there are enough people out there for everyone. So it’s about switching your mindset and understanding that you email people because you know you can serve them. And if you talk to them like a real person (and not like some sort of sales machine), doing email marketing becomes a lot easier. 

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Subject line of the week

This week (courtesy of Cheryl), we're sharing not one but three subject lines that had great open rates: 

  • “He looked perplexed. What did she say?” This one plays on that curiosity we always talk about. People want to know who looked perplexed. And what did she say? And who is she anyway? And the story was about teaching preschool math!
  • “Spiders: creepy or fascinating?” This subject line was used to promote one of Cheryl’s low-dollar one-off products. It sounds like a poll, but the email talks about the fact that some children find spiders creepy while others think they're fascinating. The email was about promoting the resource with some great activities to do with children in class so they can learn more about spiders.
  • And “It’s like a game of whack-a-mole.” This game can certainly create anxiety in some people – you hit a mole, and another one pops up. And the challenge gets harder and harder because the moles pop out faster. This email was about the feeling teachers can get in preschool when you're helping a child over here, and something else that needs your attention happens over there! The story proceeds to prove how teachers don’t have the time in their week to create lesson plans.

Useful Episode Resources

Related episodes

Learn How To Keep Your Members Forever And Ever With THE BEST Email Marketing Membership Retention Strategies On The Planet.

What Emails Should You Send Your Paying Members? with Mike and Callie from Membership Geeks.

How A League Member Made Over $10k With Just ONE Email Campaign – Case Study With Aidan O’Sullivan.

FREE list to improve your email marketing

If you want to write better emails, come up with better content, and move your readers to click and buy, here's how. We put together this list of our Top 10 most highly recommended books that will improve all areas of your email marketing (including some underground treasures that we happened upon, which have been game-changing for us). Grab your FREE list here

Join our FREE Facebook group

If you want to chat about how you can maximise the value of your email list and make more money from every subscriber, we can help! We know your business is different, so come and hang out in our FREE Facebook group, the Email Marketing Show Community for Course Creators and Coaches. We share a lot of training and resources, and you can talk about what you're up to.

Try ResponseSuite for $1

This week's episode is sponsored by ResponseSuite.com, the survey quiz and application form tool that we created specifically for small businesses like you to integrate with your marketing systems to segment your subscribers and make more sales. Try it out for 14 days for just $1.

Join The League Membership

Not sick of us yet? Every day we hang out in our amazing community of Email Marketing Heroes. We share all of our training and campaigns and a whole bunch of other stuff. If you're looking to learn how to use psychology-driven marketing to level up your email campaigns, come and check out The League Membership. It's the number one place to hang out and grow your email marketing. Best news yet? You can apply everything we talk about in this show.

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