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Case Studies

How KC Tool makes sales every day with one simple email automation

Halfway through our chat, Collin Thomas, marketing manager at German hand tool distributor KC Tool, pointed behind him to a desk filled with photography equipment.

“That’s the photo studio,” he said. “I’m the email marketer, social media specialist, and even the photographer. I’m a one-man show!” 

KC Tool is a thriving small business with an 11-person team and Collin as the sole marketer. By automating as much as possible, he can create effective strategies that lead to sales while freeing up time to focus on other areas of his role.

“Automation just runs without us thinking about it. That helps me tremendously.” 

Collin was kind enough to share some of his top strategies with us. From why KC Tool switched to MailerLite, to the specific marketing strategies he uses to promote the business.

How KC Tool uses MailerLite
  • Automate a daily newsletter with RSS-to-email 

  • Optimize a weekly newsletter for maximum sales with A/B testing

  • Use campaigns to reach a large audience of people with high buying intent

  • Streamline key customer touchpoints with email automation

  • Switch to MailerLite in a couple of clicks with our Mailchimp integration

KC Tool was originally with Mailchimp but the team felt it wasn’t getting value from the service.

“We were getting frustrated. Mailchimp was raising its prices, and the structure of the plans meant we ended up paying for a lot of stuff that we didn’t use.”

When looking for a new platform, they were drawn to MailerLite because of its features.

“What really drove us to MailerLite was that you had A/B testing built-in. We like to take an analytical approach to email marketing.” 

After trying the tool, the price and clean, easy-to-use UI meant switching to MailerLite was an easy choice. 

“You were more affordable than Mailchimp and we still got all the features we needed. We were also really drawn to the minimalistic style you use.”

Migrating email platforms can seem like a complicated process, especially when you have a large email list. 

But Collin found the switch surprisingly easy thanks to our Mailchimp integration. This automatically migrates all your subscribers and groups while helping you match up custom fields. 

“It was just the click of a button almost. You press the button to import everything from Mailchimp and it just did it. It was great.”

KC Tool’s standout email marketing use case is its "Tool of the Day" email newsletter—a daily email that promotes a 24-hour sale on one of the store's tools. 

KCTool's Tool of the Day email
Source: KC Tool

This email is completely automated thanks to MailerLite’s RSS-to-email feature. The way it works is that the team sets up a newsletter template with spaces for all the relevant content. 

When the tool of the day changes over on the website, the RSS feed is updated. This triggers MailerLite to automatically populate the email template with the new content. The email is then sent out at a time predefined by KC Tool.

This allows Collin to send a daily email without doing any extra work. All it took was the initial setup, which he found to be a breeze.

“We thought it was going to be really hard, but it took us about a week to figure it all out and it’s been fantastic. We never did this with Mailchimp, but you guys made it so easy to do.” 

The email series is also extremely effective. Customers love the offer and the company frequently sells out of tools it promotes via this email. 

The messages generate incredible engagement too. The email has an average open rate of 72% and clicks of around 7%, metrics that are far higher than the average for e-commerce emails.

KC Tool Tool of the Day engagement

KC Tool has a thriving Instagram account with over 100,000 followers. Email marketing complements this in several ways. 

First, email lets them reach a far wider audience. The company’s customer base includes anyone interested in quality hand tools, from electricians just starting out, to masters of the trade and enterprises like Tesla. Not all of these people use social media. 

“A lot of people who are 50 and older use hand tools and don’t like social media. But they do have an email address. It’s one way to reach out to a lot more people.”

Collin also finds email to be far more stable than trying to keep up with the whims of a tech giant’s algorithm changes.

“With social media, you’re always fighting the algorithm. With email, you own the algorithm. You go straight to the inbox.”

Beyond the extra reach and control, Collin finds that email is also a good way to generate sales. 

“Email can be more effective. When you post on Instagram you can’t add a link to your website. But in an email, people who click on an image go straight to our store, ready to order.”

KC Tool also sends a weekly newsletter where it shares important announcements, such as new tool releases, seasonal sales, or discounts.”

Collin makes use of our A/B testing feature to ensure each newsletter performs optimally. 

“We like to test everything. We test subject lines, the sender name, sometimes I even take 2 different product photos and test which one works best.

Each test Collin runs gives him more knowledge of what the KC Tool audience is interested in and the type of content they respond to. 

“Over time, we saw that people like their emails to be straight to the point, so we started cutting back text and focusing on a specific topic. This raised our click rates roughly 1% which equates to hundreds of people clicking who might not have done so.”

Collin found email to be especially effective for promoting seasonal sales. The first time the brand promoted a Black Friday sale via email led to one of its best days ever.  

“For years we didn’t do a lot of emails. As we started to grow, we put a lot of work into a Black Friday email and it was one of our best days ever. It really showed us the power of going straight to people.”

Collin believes this comes down to both the opportunity to reach people directly and the high buying intent of people on the email list. 

“When people open the email, they’re usually high intent. They really want to buy something. Our emails always result in sales.” 

Collin uses the MailerLite automation feature to send out automated emails to streamline key customer touchpoints. 

This helps him put in place impactful customer experiences that free up time he can use to work on other tasks. 

One example of this is a welcome email that people receive when they sign up for the Tool of the Day.

Tool of the Day welcome email
Source: KC Tool

The email confirms that the subscription was successful, lets the subscriber know what to expect, and points them to the latest Tool of the Day offer. 

KC Tool also builds repeat sales with an email for people who add a brand catalog to their shopping cart. 

As this is a pretty clear signal that the buyer is considering a future purchase, the company sends a follow-up email around a month after the catalog order to ask if they saw anything they’re interested in. 

“We sent an automated email around a month later asking if they saw anything they like to try to pull them back in. And it just runs without us thinking about it.”

MailerLite’s powerful automation and email marketing tools combined with the intuitive UI allow marketers like Collin to set up strategies that move the needle while balancing all the other tasks required for their role. 

See how it works for yourself by signing up for a free 30-day trial of our advanced plan. You’ll get access to all our features including automation, RSS-to-email, e-commerce integrations, testing, and more.

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