Why Mt. Capra is Embracing Owned Marketing After a Century in Business

mt capra ecommerce marketing

When a brand has been around for almost 100 years, it’s undoubtedly witnessed many changes throughout the decades—both within its own company and in the ever-changing commerce landscape. 

Mt. Capra started as a small goat dairy farm in the late 1920s. Today, the family-run business continues to thrive, selling premium goat milk products and whey extract to health enthusiasts who prioritize all-natural whole foods, as well as consumers who may have a sensitivity to cow’s milk but still wish to enjoy dairy. 

stout family mt capra ecommerce marketing

But as modern business owners consider which marketing channels will be the most effective in acquiring and retaining customers, Mt. Capra is also shifting their strategy to invest further in owned marketing channels and take back control of the customer experience. 

Today, Mt. Capra is prioritizing the wants, needs, and preferences of their customers in order to make whey extract and other goat milk products a way of life. By segmenting their email lists and sending relevant content to their most engaged audiences, Mt. Capra has already seen significant improvements in their open rates—with an increase of over 20 percent.

Now, as the team plans for the years ahead, Mt. Capra’s Shanda Combs, customer service representative, and Joe Stout, president, are sharing how Klaviyo has transformed the way they think about ecommerce in the era of Amazon.   

The downfalls of Amazon

Currently, Mt. Capra sells both through their online store and through Amazon, but the brand is trying to move away from the behemoth in the coming years. 

“Amazon is capricious. Amazon does what it wants to do and it’s got its own goals in mind,” said Joe.

While the platform has previously been a main source of revenue for them, this past year, Joe faced the harsh reality of what happens when you put all your eggs in Amazon’s cart.

“We had our sales almost cut in half over the course of about a month simply because Amazon misunderstood three of our top listings. They said we were advertising it in a way that was against their terms of service, but it wasn’t. It took a month and a half to get them to turn it back on, and by then, the sales never recovered.” 

For Mt. Capra, this was a wakeup call. They realized they’d have to refocus their efforts to use the marketing channels within their own control going forward.

“What that showed us is that you have to build your own customer list. You have to own the relationship with your customers,” said Joe.

Now, creating more personalized, genuine connections with their customers is core to their marketing strategy.

 

"You have to build your own customer list. You have to own the relationship with your customers."

Joe Stout, president, Mt. Capra

Building a segmentation strategy

Shanda noted that focusing on owned channels, like web and email, allows Mt. Capra to better control customer service and collect data in a way that will be valuable to them in the future. 

This has effectively changed the way Mt. Capra engages with its customers. The data they’ve collected has made them adjust aspects of their business, such as how often they hold sales, as well as the minimum amount that customers must spend to qualify for free shipping. 

Additionally, segmentation based on engagement has been a huge driver in their success. 

Two of Mt. Capra’s core segments include engaged customers, or customers who have opened an email from them in the last 90 to 120 days, and are then further defined based on what products they’ve bought. These segments inform what product-based content the brand sends to them, whether it’s educational articles or relevant recipes.

The brand also has a list of value shoppers who have ever only bought with a coupon. This list receives special deals when there’s an overstock or a certain product they’re trying to get rid of.

According to Mt. Capra, segmenting based on these attributes is simple, and there’s no guesswork required to understand whether or not these efforts are contributing to the bottom line.

“One of the reasons we switched to Klaviyo was because our old email service provider was supposed to be showing the revenue per email, but no longer was, or it was inaccurate,” said Shanda. 

You can see the actual dollar amount attributed to each send in Klaviyo, which means that Mt. Capra can effortlessly evaluate whether their messaging is resonating with their customers and iterate based on those results. 

Lessons learned

Shanda has already learned the secrets to success in Klaviyo. Here are her top tips for other brands trying to make the most of email segmentation:

1 | Send Small

“Many people think the more people you send to, the better your sales will be. But if you’re sending to people who aren’t engaged, and they’re marking you as spam or unsubscribing, that’s not going to be good for your open rates. Sending to smaller but engaged lists is key to better open rates and engagement, and less spam and unsubscribes.”

2 | Clean your lists

Cleaning your lists of contacts who haven’t engaged with you for months shows you where the sweet spot is. A chunk of people hadn’t engaged with us in about six months—they hadn’t had any activity, sales, nothing. By cleaning our lists, we know we’re getting good data, plus it helps with open rates and means we’re only emailing customers who want to hear from us.”

3 | Double-check segments

“I sent out an email about free shipping but didn’t remove Hawaii, Alaska, or our international customers where the shipping is never free because it’s so expensive. We got a few responses from customers who were upset because we offered something that actually isn’t there, so it’s really important to double-check segments and think them through before you click send.”

Looking toward the future

While Mt. Capra has already made great strides with email marketing, they acknowledge there’s still so much potential to unlock in Klaviyo.

For example, Shanda’s next project will be tackling the signup form for Mt. Capra’s main email list by including different interests so subscribers can check what products they’re interested in before they ever enter their credit card information.

But when it comes to the big picture, Joe and Shanda are confident that Klaviyo will be an integral part of achieving their 2020 goals. 

“Klaviyo is one of our main tools for connecting with our customers in a way that’s legitimate and personalized. It gives us a level of connecting with the customers that no other way of communication allows us to,” said Joe. 

"[Klaviyo] gives us a level of connecting with the customers that no other way of communication allows us to."

Joe Stout, president, Mt. Capra

“Amazon’s there, it’s a necessary evil, but we can focus on growing our own site. 2020 is the year when I want to see our site leave Amazon in the dust—I really want to see that happen. So yeah, big, big things are happening in 2020.”

Looking for more insights, inspiration, and resources to help you grow your business? Check out this Entrepreneur Growth Guide.

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