CASE STUDY

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BombTech Golf’s small team has used email marketing to rapidly grow the amount of revenue they bring in through email — which has approached $2M in the last 12 months. With a new 52-email “money bomb” series in the works, the sky’s the limit.

BombTech Golf sells premium golf clubs direct to consumers. Founded by Tyler “Sully” Sullivan in 2012, the Vermont-based team now includes just three more full-time employees.

BombTech Golf sells premium golf clubs direct to consumers. Founded by Tyler “Sully” Sullivan in 2012, the Vermont-based team now includes just three more full-time employees.

But don’t be fooled: this small team is generating big revenue. The team is on track to hit $7.2M this year, and email marketing is a big part of that.

Even in the early days, Sully was passionate about his customers — but he was also short on cash.

“Back when I first started, I would literally get physically ill if someone returned a club,” he says. “I had my credit cards all maxed out to build the business, so when someone returned something, I’d try to talk them out of it.”

These days, it’s a whole different game.

sully
TYLER "SULLY"
SULLIVAN
Founder and CEO,
BombTech Golf

“At BombTech Golf, everything we do today is about the customer,” Sully says. “If there’s an issue, we don’t ask questions. We just send a replacement at no cost. We do handwritten thank you notes for every single order. We respond to just about every comment on social media.”

Earlier this year, Sully passed the email marketing baton to BombTech Golf’s general manager, Christopher Petitt. Chris originally joined the team with a focus on customer service. Now he oversees day-to-day operations, including email marketing strategy and execution.

Meanwhile, Sully’s recently taken on an additional role: Launching a consulting agency for ecommerce companies who want to achieve BombTech Golf levels of email marketing success. And in the last 30 days, over 40% of BombTech’s revenue can be attributed to email sent out through Klaviyo, so that bar is set high.

The challenge

Early experiments with iContact, Constant Contact, and VerticalResponse had left Sully feeling boxed in — and in hot water with customers.

“Customers would buy our golf driver at full price,” he says. “And then I would have a sale, and the only way I could send an email about it was to send to everyone.”

christopherpetitt
CHRISTOPHER
PETITT
Operations Manager,
BombTech Golf

However, sometimes these sale emails ended up upsetting his customers.

“Imagine if you just bought a driver at $297, and then two days later or even a day later, you get an email saying, ‘Guess what? Flash sale $197 today,’” Sully says. “I just used to write ‘Not applicable on previous orders.’ What do you think the customer feedback was on that?”

Frustrated, he tried to find ways to use email to sell in spite of the limitations.

“It handcuffed me,” he recalls. “I tried to get as creative as I could, but at some point I gave up and only used email to do new product launches.”

“Because we couldn’t segment customers out, that meant we couldn’t coupon. We couldn’t do bundles. We couldn’t do any of the experimenting and testing that we do now.” Sully needed a way to send relevant messages to specific groups of customers and not others. He also needed an approach that would scale and grow with BombTech Golf.

Never one to back down from a challenge, he set out to find a solution.

Choosing Klaviyo

“I’m pretty persistent when it comes to seeing what’s out there,” Sully says. “I read I-don’t-know-how-many different reviews.” His research led him to Klaviyo.

“It wasn’t a hard sell, but it made sense,” he says. “Plus, our store is on BigCommerce, and Klaviyo has a good integration.” Klaviyo wasn’t the only email marketing platform he tried out at the time.

“I did test out one other platform,” he recalls. “It was so complicated to implement or use that I bailed on it.”

"At BombTech Golf, everything we do today is about the customer. If there’s an issue, we don’t ask questions. We just send a replacement at no cost."

When he first got started with Klaviyo, Sully’s biggest challenge wasn’t learning how to use the platform. Instead, it was accepting how much it could do.

“Coming from a platform that had no segmentation, to see something that could actually segment out people who bought a specific product — it was almost tough to understand that it could do that,” he says.

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He started out by focusing on the basics.

“Today, it seems so easy to have a welcome series with 7 or 10 emails, each with different subject lines, open rates, and revenue-driving potential,” he says. “But when I was just starting out, it was about just getting a welcome series up, getting emails out and engaging. And then slowly, over time, I built it out.”

Automated email flows and sophisticated campaigns

“Our welcome series is the one that pays the mortgage,” Sully says. “Every day we get new subscribers and we send them into that flow.” As a small team, BombTech Golf appreciates that the automated flows in Klaviyo basically send themselves.

“Honestly, if I wasn’t here or Chris wasn’t here, the business could almost run on autopilot,” he adds. “Having those automated flows for lead gen and post-purchase, those two buckets — I mean, it’s insane.” With the basic flows in place, Chris has now been freed up to develop advanced flows. There’s one in particular that he’s focusing on, and its name echoes the name of the company.

“We’re calling it the ‘money bomb,’” Sully says. “It’s a new way we’ve found to launch a product or a sale that has really been game-changing.”

Here’s how it works:

“For a new product, we’ll send out an initial email to our subscribers,” Chris explains. “Then we’ll send different follow-up emails to different segments of that list based on how they responded to the first email. Did they open, not open, have they bought in the last 90 days, what products do they already own, how many emails have they opened in the past, have they visited the website? A lot of it is just about following up in a tailored way.”

As BombTech Golf’s metrics demonstrate, this tailored approach can be very powerful.

“Recently, on one campaign, we sent our initial email, which had an 18% open rate. Utilizing our multi-step follow up strategy, we sent a few more emails to people that did not open that first email. This increased the total open rate on this list of subscribers from 18% to 30%,” Chris says.

“That additional 12% of opens converted to an additional 20 grand in revenue! I mean, it’s just crazy. That’s literally $20,000 we would have missed out on if we didn’t strategically follow up with more emails.”

BombTech Golf’s secret isn’t sending emails to people who don’t want them. Far from it, in fact. Ultimately, that would hurt a company’s send reputation over time and affect deliverability. Rather, it’s a strategic form of following up persistently with slow-to-buy prospects.

“We test subject lines and we don’t push too aggressively,” Chris adds. “We also segment out people that haven’t opened an email from us within a certain amount of time.” But that’s not all. Depending on a recipient’s past purchase and behavior, the message they receive will be customized further.

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tallemail_reviews
Getting results with Klaviyo
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$1.9M in revenue from email
marketing in the past year
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Over $26 in revenue per recipient
from abandoned cart emails
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20% of store revenue
from automated emails

“Say we’re doing a sale for the golf driver,” Chris says. “If I know that someone already bought our 3 Wood in the last 90 days, they opened the first email for the driver sale but did not buy, and have also opened a fair amount of our previous email campaigns, then they’ll get a follow-up that essentially says, ‘You’ve already got the 3-Wood. If you’re hitting that well, this driver is a great complement to that.’” With this strategy, Chris uses Klaviyo to put BombTech Golf’s customer data to good use.

“I know this follow-up email will convert to more revenue because they are active in our subscriber list, have purchased recently, and the product we are selling is legitimately a complement to what they already own. Being able to segment down to this level is game changing,” he says.

Through a combination of meticulous customization and branding — Sully is the face and the voice of the brand in email, on the website, and in videos — BombTech Golf has earned deep credibility with its community of golf aficionados. This unique combination has enabled the team to ramp up email marketing with a high degree of success.

“We have yet to add an email that doesn’t drive revenue,” says Sully. “Think about that. So every time we add an email to any flow, or send any new campaign, it makes us money, guaranteed. It’s a pretty powerful thing. So now we’re taking that concept and going crazy with it.”

Getting results

“I’m always looking to see how we can generate more revenue,” Sully says. “There are very few things in ecommerce that significantly move the needle. And email is doing just that for us now. It’s an unreal ROI.” The effort-to-results ratio is especially startling for the team.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve done nearly $1M with the automated email flows in Klaviyo,” Chris says. “We’re not spending additional money to get that. Once we turn them on, they’re on autopilot.” With more predictable revenue coming from email marketing, BombTech Golf is also able to approach advertising differently.

“When you know what your emails are going to bring in, you can spend more on your first acquisition,” Sully says. “So now we can actually spend more to acquire a customer, which is so powerful.”

In the last year, BombTech Golf also generated over $900K from email campaigns, including during a time period that would normally not be lucrative.

“We have yet to add an email that doesn’t drive revenue. So every time we add an email to any flow, or send any new campaign, it makes us money, guaranteed."

“Last month would normally have been our worst month all year,” Sully says. “This is a time frame where kids are going back to school and golf season is ending for much of the country. We even had the hurricanes. Typically, this time of year is terrible.”

However, thanks to the email marketing program BombTech Golf has running, it wasn’t terrible at all.

“This year, it was actually our second largest month,” Sully says. All told, 41% of BombTech’s current revenue is attributable to email they send through Klaviyo.

“Honestly, I’ve been kicking myself for not focusing more on email sooner,” Sully adds.

Looking ahead

“We’ve already proved that email works for us,” Sully says. “Today, we’re using Klaviyo at what we call a ‘medium’ level. This last month we dedicated more effort and saw the results. I feel like we’re still at the tip of the iceberg.” The team also has an ambitious goal in mind — and a plan to get there.

“We’ve got a new product launch flow that’s going to have 52 emails in it over two months,” Sully says. “We’re super excited. It’s going to be crazy. With that in the mix, I think we’re going to get a million-dollar month. The only way we’re going to get there is with Klaviyo.”

With BombTech Golf speeding along a trajectory toward new sales records, Sully looks back with awe at how far the company has come.

“If you had told me we’d be where we’re at now, five, six years ago when I was in my basement on the phone, on live chat, emailing and assembling and shipping golf clubs with our newborn upstairs, I would not have believed it,” Sully says. That growth has sparked conversations with other ecommerce store owners — and a new chapter for Sully.

“I asked myself how we can truly help other ecommerce owners generate more revenue, more profit, and change their lives,” he says. “The only answer is email.” He’s now taking on a small number of ecommerce clients each month with his new consulting business, tylersully.com. The focus will be on generating more revenue and predictable way through email marketing.

“I’m excited because it’s one of the few things where we can actually have such a big impact on someone’s business,” he says. “It’s kind of a little way of giving back. There’s no other thing I think we can do to move the needle in such a massive way for someone else’s brand.”

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