A Slam Dunk for Email Marketing? Perfect Timing.
The Sacramento Kings score with a new approach to their email strategy that's more than doubled the NBA team's season-ticket base.
The old saying goes: It's good to be king. That very well may be true; but for email marketers it's even better to work for the Sacramento Kings.
That's because the team's marketers say that they have a slam-dunk secret weapon in their email strategy: perfect timing.
“In sales, timing is everything,” says Phil Horn, VP of ticket sales and service for the Sacramento Kings. “The difference between calling somebody 10 hours later in the day after they had viewed the email versus calling them 10 minutes after they viewed the email might be the difference between making a sale and not; because you're engaging with somebody at their highest point of interest.”
To figure out that timing sweet spot, marketers for the Kings used ToutApp, an email-focused sales solution that provides templates, analytics, and tracking for sales teams. Horn says the ability to track behavior and collect analytics made all of the difference.
“It really added some different enthusiasm for our sales team,“ Horn says. “In terms of using a tool that became kind of mundane and simple, like email, it amplified [email marketing] for them as they have to think fast, and they have their own dashboard to see how many people are opening their emails and why and when...and [even] other information like when the right time to engage is.”
The goal of use ToutApp is to help “streamline that process [and] get visibility so we know what kind of messaging to use,” says Tawheed Kader, CEO andfounder of ToutApp. The tool also helps the team's salespeople understand what's happening once they send an email, which helps add a layer of visibility and consistency to the sales process, Kader adds.
"More and more selling is happening over email these days, and Gmail and Outlook have no idea that you're in sales; it doesn't really help you manage the process,” he says.
With these new digital tools, Kings marketers analyze which email templates are being most effectively used based on the view and open rates, and it aims to let users make changes accordingly en route to becoming a strategic email marketer from a direct user level, Horn says.
Since implementing ToutApp earlier this year, Horn says that Kings marketers have seen their communications via ToutApp boast an open rate that's nearly double the average open rate. In addition, the team's season-ticket base has more than doubled since the team assumed new ownership in May 2013. In addition to the app, the team's sales reps enlisted other technology to reach customers.
“Certainly via a variety of different social and electronic methods,” Horn says when asked how the sales team interacts with consumers. “We've tried to respond in every way that they wanted to interact with us, whether that was via video chat to email to text message to Twitter to LinkedIn. We looked at all the variety of methods that were convenient for the customer...to get them the information they needed in a timely manner.”
On top of new tools, another cog in the demand-generating machine for the Kings was location. Rumors constantly swirled about the owners packing up and moving the team to a different city; this, of course, would make it difficult for people to devote their fandom to the team—let alone commit to a season-ticket plan. But with the recent news that the team will open a new arena in the fall of 2016, ticket sales have been golden as fans are purchasing in droves. In fact, the team has “never seen a demand like this with a project this significant. It's sort of exceeding all of our expectations,” Horn says.
“Essentially the increased demand has continued with [the new arena],” he adds. “We just had one of the most significant naming rights deals in the NBA with the Golden 1 Center. Fans locally here are pretty pumped up about the construction of our new arena; not only is the team staying but the fact that we've committed, and we have this big project that's going to change the landscape of downtown Sacramento with Golden 1 Center at the center of it.”
“The demand continues, so we're constantly looking for tools…to continue to meet that demand,” Horn says. “It seems like buyers get savvier and have different ways they want to interact with us, so we're continuing to be on the lookout.”
Sleep Train Arena will be home to the Kings for one more season.