Berkeley Herbal Center (BHC) is a hub of Western Herbal Medicine. They offer everything from a low-cost herbal clinic to short and long-term programs for up-and-coming herbalists. We worked with them for over three years before they brought their marketing in-house (an exciting moment, albeit bittersweet). One of the last projects we worked on was creating a clear-cut pathway into their long-term programs. We got to use data to dispel assumptions and then create a deep-cut email marketing strategy to make it happen!
The Goal and the Assumption
The biggest goal for the Herbal Center is to bring more healers and Clinical Western Herbalists into the world. For them, that means bringing people into their long term programs. While this was the goal for the whole time we worked with them, we learned that not only did the BHC team want to understand their purchasing pathway, they had been assuming there was a purchasing pathway into their Long Term Programs.
They had assumed people took the short term, Intro to Herbalism course first. Then stepped into the long term course. We did a deep dive into the real data using their purchasing software, email marketing, and Google Analytics. What we found was pretty surprising.
We found that not only was the assumption that people took the short-term course and then the long term course wrong BUT the assumption of any purchasing pathway at all was wrong.
More than 80% of people who took their long term programs between 2020 and 2022 and had never made a purchase from BHC. We had been filling their programs using communications and content marketing. That was exciting.
Not only did this show how important holistic marketing is for BHC, it also meant that there was an opportunity. We asked, “If there isn’t a natural pathway right now, can we create one?”
The short answer is yes.
Our Email Marketing Strategy
While we never waiver from our holistic marketing mission, you’ll often find us placing emphasis on different parts of the content cycle to hit a brand’s goals. In this case, the choice to use an updated email marketing strategy was easy.
In our investigation, we learned that 17% of people attended an open house before jumping into a long-term program. This was by far the largest pathway between a previous event and the long term program. We had already been requiring emails for this free event for years.
But the goal is to have a purchasing pathway. BHC wanted to create a direct line from a short-term course purchase into a long term program. Specifically around the Intro to Herbalism offer. Well, the system we had set up with the Center also pulled email addresses of purchasers into their Klaviyo. (yes!)
The Email Marketing Update
Yes, we want to build these pathways. BUT FIRST, we needed to connect with the business goal: Bring more people into the long-term programs.
Because more than 80% of people never purchase from BHC before jumping into a program, we knew we needed to push the program separately. This involved keeping up with regular, almost weekly campaigns with content, featuring the programs, and sharing the upcoming events. These elicit trust and sell short courses along with the long term programs.
Then we set about the additional communications with short-term course purchasers. In this updated strategy, we created additional updates and features about the long-term programs. We also added automated emails to the open house participants to suggest they get on a call or schedule a 1:1 time to talk to the school. And we sent campaigns after every herb walk and Intro-to-Herbalism course to specifically strengthen that pathway.
Did it Work?
Between June and September of 2022, we doubled the raw number of people that had ever gone from Intro to Herbalism to a long term course. In three months, this pathway was 4.4% of all long term course participants between 2020-2022. (And almost 10% of just their fall 2022 program.) We also saw an increase in traffic from the herb walk participants to the long term programs page. AND we saw an influx of interest to the contact page – which had previously been an indicator of program interest!
In February 2023, we were able to pass this pathway-strengthening project along with the updated email marketing strategy to their in-house marketing team. We had confidence that they could use our email marketing strategy to create this new customer journey into their long-term programs.