Golfsmith Targets E-Mails to Customers Near Stores

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Golfsmith is homing in on the right customers by sending relevant e-mails to those living near its stores. Also, for the holiday season, the golf and tennis goods retailer is promoting a new in-store parcel pickup service to attract local shoppers.

With 52 retail locations, executives at Golfsmith, Austin, TX, knew it was important to tell only customers near retail outlets about in-store events, such as tent sales, grand openings and pro golf player appearances.

"The goal of any good e-mail program must be to be as targeted and as relevant to each guest as it can possibly be. We've made good progress by localizing our messaging," said Matt Corey, vice president of marketing at Golfsmith.

The company was using a small software solution that didn't allow segmentation, so all subscribers (those who opted in to receive e-mails -- the retailer does not rent outside lists) nationwide got the same weekly e-mails. Also, Golfsmith was unable to track open and click-through rates.

This spring, it switched to e-mail software provider Silverpop, Atlanta, which has software allowing dynamic content creation. The bottom of certain e-mails are "tagged" with local events, such as pro player appearances at stores near shoppers.

"Now ... we can send one e-mail to customers across the country and each receives only pertinent information," Corey said.

The targeted e-mails also helped Golfsmith launch its in-store pickup service for customers who order online, a major holiday initiative. Shoppers can buy online at work or at home, and their orders are waiting at the store, letting them skip shipping charges.

"We used Silverpop to dynamically tag our e-mails to promote our order online, pickup in-store service only to those guests who lived in a market where we have brick-and-mortar stores," Corey said.

By sending targeted e-mails, along with cleaning its e-mail database and improving deliverability with all of the major ISPs, Golfsmith has seen "dramatic improvements in open rates, click-through rates and sales," Corey said. It's also seeing more foot traffic through the stores.

While segmenting its list geographically has benefited the company, Golfsmith now wants to segment its customers in other ways.

"We'll continue to explore more sophisticated segmentation strategies as we continue to grow," he said.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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