December 11, 2015
Each quarter, The Real Estate Roundtable (RER) hosts an event focused on public policies affecting their industry that is attended by CEOs, high-level directors and members of Congress. Each event has a corresponding mobile app containing photos, biographies, and a large portion of the meeting content. Historically, The Roundtable had used a standard template for their eNewsletter that promoted their events and saw solid results, yet analytics revealed that they needed to do more for their mobile audience. For their fall event, The Roundtable made the decision to adopt a responsive template. The successful results were shown in numbers and positive comments from their membership.
I sat down with Scott Sherwood, Senior Director of Communications for RER to discuss this exciting campaign, how they adopted mobile design, and what the future holds for RER.
Chris Scavo, Informz: Tell us more about the Fall Roundtable event that you recent held. How do you typically promote it?
Scott Sherwood, RER: The Fall Meeting was our most-recent quarterly event that serves CEOs and high-level directors, focusing on public policies affecting their industry. In addition, we had several prominent speakers from the political arena and many members of Congress in attendance.
We created an app for the meeting which contained photos, biographies, and a large portion of the meeting content. It’s crucial that attendees utilize the app to get the most out of the meeting, so an effective promotional email campaign to encourage download and usage of the app was important.
CS: I understand that adopting responsive design was a big part of this campaign. Was there internal push back for using responsive design? If so, how did you win them over?
SS: You have to put mobile first these days, and it is just a matter of time before all communications staff have to embrace it. For our most recent meeting, I decided to use a responsive template from the Informz Template Gallery. This allowed me to propose a far more condensed version of our enewsletter to my boss, which was a welcome relief for everyone. It resulted in concise text, streamlined graphics and an easier-to-read layout.
Building our newsletter in Informz with this new layout was a welcomed approach for me because it can be a challenge to convince the C-suite of the benefits of mobile-friendly design. In our case, our meeting apps have been such a big success that the practical realities of a responsive product were embraced. This cleared the way to make our other enewsletters mobile-friendly as well.
CS: I didn’t realize that you used a template from the Informz Template Gallery, that’s great! How was your experience with the Template Gallery?
SS: We decided to use a responsive template from the gallery because it gave us a good starting point. We knew that we would need some additional customization, but this gave us a great head start. I certainly would recommend using the gallery, but I also clearly see the benefits of contracting with Informz to produce a custom design for particular, recurring projects. Having a strong, standard template where you can just swap out new images, yet keep the look-and-feel the same, allows your audience to get used to where to find the information they’re looking for.
CS: How did your relationship with your eMarketing Advisor, Mark, help throughout this process?
SS: My Informz account representative was fantastic to work with in getting the first responsive eNewsletter done under a tight timeframe. Customer support from Informz has been key to our success. I consider Informz a great value, especially with the increase in our email deliverability rates, the company’s genuine desire to always improve its user interface and metrics for customers, and most importantly – an authentic, shared employee desire to provide great customer support.
CS: What sort of response did you see from this campaign? How did members engage with the mailing? Did it have an impact on the adoption of your mobile app?
SS: We achieved a download rate of more than 120%, meaning that every attendee downloaded it and 20% of attendees downloaded it to more than one device. I discovered that our members, or their assistants, had downloaded the app to multiple platforms. Everyone used it. At the event, I heard more compliments from our membership than ever before. The major difference? Sending out the promotional communications using a mobile-friendly, responsive template. It made a crucial difference with ease-of-use, accessibility and getting our message to our target audiences in an efficient manner that catered to the mobile world.
CS: After the success you saw with this campaign, what is next for Real Estate Roundtable?
SS: Our next project will be to build another customized responsive template designed by Informz, as well as redesign our website and other digital products to become mobile friendly. The results we saw for our first responsive template project provided demonstrable examples that justify adopting mobile technology in all aspects of our business. This will hopefully lead to a spike in traffic to our site, directly supporting our mission of communicating our issues in the best way possible to our audiences. One success begets another, and Informz responsive templates have helped nudge us down a responsive road.