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In the beginning.

My friend and I started The Daily Donut in my Chelsea apartment as a blog about the best donuts in Manhattan.

We knew there would be an audience because what normal person doesn’t like a donut?

We distributed the blog amongst our networks who shared it out into their universe.

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People started subscribing.

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It started small, but kept growing.

Things were simple back in the day, and we used email to push blog content about our daily donut rankings.

Email was perfect because it gave us a direct connection with our audience and allowed us to be more creative.

Our emails saw 50-100 times more clicks* than Facebook and Twitter. And the blog got clicked, shared, liked and posted all over the place.

* https://www.mailmunch.co/blog/email-marketing-vs-social-media/

Engaging our audience.

We introduced fun donut memes and simple listicles.

As we got more subscribers we started blogging about donuts in all five boroughs.

Then we introduced a little subscription idea - “The Donut Scavenger Hunt,” and released a new clue everyday. It was also borough specific.

We continued to enjoy steady growth.

And we needed to hire staff and find an email platform that allowed us to easily add content and push it out. We looked for an email provider that knew digital media, and had big-time clients.

The emails we produced were quick, beautiful, and didn’t require code. The sign-up forms were awesome because it was easy for readers to get to our additional content.

Extra sprinkles all around!

Then everything went nutty.

It all changed with the cronut after we found it in a small bakery across the harbor. It went viral and we saw a monstrous spike in traffic. It nearly crashed our site - BINGO!

It propelled us in the national spotlight, national brands took notice.

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The Daily Donut got results with email marketing. See how it can help your digital media engagement.

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And finally, cha-ching!

Display advertising was big for us after the cronut discovery, and the revenue it brought in was a real shot in the arm. We were able to really monetize our audience.

In 6 months we had

people on the subscriber list.

Personalization meant big business.

Personalization was a huge bonus and we started sending emails based on gender, preferences, location and behavior. We worked with donut shops to deliver VIP programs and flash sales.

Personalization improved our engagement by 26%*.

* https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2016/02/how-to-use-personalization-in-email-marketing-campaigns/

Enter segmentation.

We started to segment according to people’s interests to make the emails more relevant and build a deeper relationship. Rich customer data made our subscribers stickier than a fritter.

We got 15% more opens and 59% more clicks*. Sweet!

* https://blog.kissmetrics.com/email-marketing-segmentation-strategies/
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Templates improved our efficiency.

Our subscriber list ballooned and we needed to move fast just to keep up.

We started using templates specifically for teams. Anyone could jump in and create a killer email and sections would stay locked. The design looked amazing, it was much quicker to execute on brand.

This let our content producers produce real time content - we became more timely and relevant.

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Subscribers came from all over.

We were speaking the universal language of donuts after all, and donuts are always best in the morning.

We needed the emails to land at 7am in every timezone.

Show us the money.

We were able to include third-party advertising that was targeted and dynamic.

We introduced partner sponsored and branded content.

We were an advertiser’s dream.

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Testing led to more clicks, which led to more dough.

Data was key and testing allowed us to experiment without risk, plus we could identify where the new opportunities were. We saw what stories and content types were resonating.

Before we went big into any new offering we tested everything on our emails and on our website.

It gave us specific insights into our audience which helped us to create that 1:1 relationship.

Email continued to be our bread and butter.

We used social to help spread the donut love but email was way more effective.

In fact, email drove 174% more conversions for us than social media* and we continuously introduced new content types.

  • Donut quizzes
  • The donut lovers travel guide
  • Donuts of the rich and famous
  • Donuts in the movies
  • And video, video, video
* https://www.mailmunch.co/blog/email-marketing-vs-social-media/

Takin’ it to the bank.

At this point we were running like a machine and the advertising dollars were rolling in.

So we sent out one big survey to see what our audience wanted us to talk about next.

The response was overwhelming.

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We’re ready for the next big thing.

The Daily Donut has been quite a ride and we’ve learned that nothing beats the power of email marketing, a dedicated audience, or a great idea.

We have a robust toolbox now and the audience has spoken.

This is going to be

HUGE

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Share this sweet story of success with all the donut lovers and digital media publishers in your life.

Create more. Publish more. Engage more.

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