Colin G Chase

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Seeking Contract Opportunities

Colin Chase is currently seeking consulting opportunities in the fields of eCommerce, Online Marketing (SEO/SEM), Brand Marketing, Shopper Marketing, Cross Promotion Management, Project Management, SEO Management, and Interactive or Traditional Marketing. Chase is seeking contract work (such as through a 1099 Contract or services paid directly to Chase-It Marketing™).

Colin Chase has been employed in various marketing capacities since 2000, while his Internet prowess dates back to the beginning of the World Wide Web in 1993. Chase has held positions in eCommerce, Online / Internet Marketing, Agency Marketing and Advertising, and Interactive Marketing. He has held titles such as: Director of eCommerce, eCommerce Manager, Director of Marketing, Project Manager, Marketing Film / Animation Producer and Director, and Lead Creative Agent.

Chase has seventeen (17) years of professional experience, with nearly 12 years being in management and director roles. Chase began his career as a Computer Technician and Network Administrator for a SUNY Community College from 1995 through 1999. In 2000 Chase went on to start his own marketing agency and firmly established himself in Online Marketing, Brand Marketing, and Interactive Marketing.

Chase was able to achieve a level of prominent success within interactive marketing from 2000 through the end of 2007 servicing niche Manufacturers before repositioning solely into eCommerce in 2008. For two years Chase guided the Online efforts of a mid-sized, family-run eRetail company in Buffalo, NY (best known for their website This company realized nearly 25% growth per year in the Internet Division that Chase managed, for the two years of Chase's employment at the height of the worst economic Recession since WWII. This growth came from within the Leisure Industry at a time when this industry was experiencing negative growth.

From 2010 through 2012 Chase directed the Online and Brand Marketing efforts of an emerging brand within the Snack Food industry that has become established in several retail chains across the US. The specific products marketed by Chase being primarily "Freeze-dried Fruit" which is categorized as a "Healthy Snack" and is a sub-set of the very large "Dried Fruit" market of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). Due to Chase's multi-channel approach he was able to grow online revenue for the primary brand (Brothers-All-Natural) by 60% in 2011 alone.

Email Marketing Projects Management

Project Highlights

Project Client: - eRetailer

Project Components:
graphic art, web programming, e-merchandising

Chase's Involvement:
Top Level Email Management, Lead Creative Agent, Statistics Review

Project Staff:
Chase in multiple roles, 1 graphic artist, 1 web programmer / email administrator (configured and sent email via ESP)

Project Timeframe:
Approximately 1.5 Days per week

Project Budget:
Staff costs and $1500 per month for Email Service Provider (ESP)

An Email Marketing Mess

The Old Style Emails being used by - Top section showing Header
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In the spring of 2008 when Colin Chase first came on board with as the eCommerce Manager, their email campaigns looked amateur and were not as effective as they should be according to Chase. The company used a header on their emails (i.e., the banner at the top) that closely mimicked their website's navigation menu. This top banner on the email provided too much of a distraction from the substance of the email. This header was way too busy and visually detracted from the email's content. The header also provided every menu item option as was currently available on their website (i.e., all the top level categories).

The Old Style Emails being used by - Middle section showing the Main Email Graphic
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Additionally, the existing format of their emails sought to cram as many products as possible into each email. The prevailing mindset was an old-school print media ideology where you display as much as you feasibly can on each printed page. Many of their weekly emails had as many as 20 products displayed (though in the example shown here from December 2008 only 10 items were presented).

The Old Style Emails being used by - Bottom section showing Products
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Chase repeatedly requested that they be permitted to change the style and substance of the emails, but the top level management did not see the wisdom in what Chase was recommending. So Chase brought many examples over the space of a dozen bi-weekly meetings, showcasing high-quality emails from larger companies. He explained again and again that emails were like Landing Pages and needed to be more simplistic with a singular purpose. The eye path of the potential customer is a crucial element to understand. The need to reduce friction and anxiety, while concurrently increasing the user's motivation and the incentives being offered was truly necessary. The clarity of the value proposition could also not be understated.

The sole purpose was to make the process more fluid while also more directed, and thus bring about increased click-through rates. This fluidity would lead the customer into clicking on a single action button, which is known as the "Call to Action." It took most of 2008 before the owner granted permission to implement the recommended changes. The owner still remained adamant that the emails continue to provide the website's navigation, as well as including multiple products per email.

The NEW Style Emails being used by - Top section showing Header
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Originally the eCommerce Manager position played more of a supervisory role in the organization. However when hired Colin Chase they verbalized their desire to make this position more managerial even to the point of being a director. Chase came knowing that such changes to the company's existing hierarchy would not come easily, and so he gently persevered in his efforts. He reasoned with top management using examples and available statistics even though this slowed the process. With the recession bearing down on the company and the industry it served, Chase argued that they needed to outfox their competition as quickly as possible.

The New Singular Purpose Emails

The NEW Style Emails being used by - Middle section showing the Main Email Graphic
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In February 2009 the new email format was initiated, though as previously explained, a compromise was made to keep the navigation menu on the emails. Moreover, the requirement to keep a minimum of a handful of products displayed in each email was the second compromise. Chase had sought a completely open playing field, but he understood the need to appease the owner in these two areas. However, the email format, the subject lines, and even the offers to be provided were all enhanced as per Chase's recommendations.

The NEW Style Emails being used by - Bottom section showing few Products
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The emails now took on a more modern appearance, they were shortened in length by reducing the number of products being displayed, and they had a more singular mission. The changes to the emails had an immediate effect as the click-through rate on the opened emails went from hovering around 10% to maintaining an over 20% click-through rate. Some of the marketing emails reached as high as 44% on their click through rate. This was unprecedented and the end result was a gross revenue increase of nearly 49% for the entire year from the email marketing channel.

Millions of dollars in sales had been lost year after year simply due, at the very least, to not experimenting with the email format. However what was truly needed was a simplified and more targeted email marketing effort.

These are the changes to the email marketing as enacted by Chase:

  1. All of the changes listed here were implemented to achieve one primary objective, which was to focus on a singular Call to Action. Previously the promotional emails were full of exit points leading to all sorts of things including broad-based categories and even the home page of the main website. This sort of unsupervised thinking leads to friction about what to click, so the user often leaves without even getting to a targeted landing page. These changes were made to provide more supervised direction to the user, to "hand-hold" the visitor to exactly where we want them to go. A singular purpose for every email was not achieved to the degree that Chase desired due to compromises he was forced to make with the top management, but the problem was greatly improved by the changes he implemented. Following are the changes he made:

  2. Changed the email layout format to be shorter, more modern looking (or web 2.0), using a minimalized header (to not detract from the email itself), and utilizing images of people having "pool fun" as the focus rather than just images of the products in every email.

  3. Added additional special offers (promotions), such as an across the board 10% off everything used at the beginning of the pool season. This 10% off was to push the customers into purchasing earlier, thus ensuring they bought from and not from a competitor or a local pool supply store. Another promotion was to offer not just $10 off orders of $50 or more, but to include an offer to save $30 off orders of $300 or more. This promotion was an effort to increase the average order value. Even though $10 off $50 is a better percentage discount, they still liked the $30 off $300 more than the $10 off $50. The customers would need $300 worth of products for the pool season anyway, so the purpose was to play on the customer's sense of total dollars saved and thus increase their order to be able to save $30 rather than just $10.

  4. The emails were sent twice per week during the height of the pool season. The first email being sent on Tuesday morning of every week (as in general, statistics show this is the best day of the week to send emails). The second email was sent on Friday morning (with the notion that the customer would be sitting down to read emails on Saturday morning while looking into their backyard and seeing their swimming pool). The first email would be listed as "for 72-hours only," but then in the second weekly email the offer would be extended through Monday morning.

  5. Finally the subject lines were tested more concertedly. Some A/B tests were conducted in which two sample sets of emails using both subject lines were sent the day before the normal email was sent. Thus determining which subject line garnered the most opens. However, more frequently the subject lines were simply paid more attention, and it was learned what phrases worked the best. It was determined that a specific dollar amount off or a specific percentage off listed in the email subject line worked the best to get the customers to open the email. It was also learned that a stated limit on the time frame such as "for 72 hours only" also increased the email open rate.

The overall result was amazing, as the gross revenue from the email marketing channel increased by 49% for the year. Thus the email marketing became one of the unexpected high growth areas for 2009 to the surprise of the owner.

Landing Pages for the Marketing Emails

The NEW Style Emails being used by - Showing a focus on Pool Fun plus Save 10%
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In 2009 the one additional change that Chase sought, but didn't always have the staff time to implement, was the creation of targeted Landing Pages for every weekly email. Rather than sending the customer to a generic page on the website such as the home page or a category page, Chase wanted to have a targeted Landing Page each week. This was another change that Chase believes would generate a significant increase in gross revenue from the marketing emails.

The NEW Style Emails being used by - Showing a focus on just a few Products plus Save $30
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For 2010 Chase had been pushing for user-specific targeting in the emails by utilizing a Product Recommendations engine in conjunction with the email campaigns. The Recommendation Engines that Chase deemed the best were Certona, MyBuys, and Baynote, though there are a handful more that could be selected from. By utilizing crowd sourcing, the specific user's buying habits as well as their past and present browsing behavior, a dynamic Landing Page could be crafted (as well as a dynamic email to begin with).

By creating targeted Landing Pages for each email whether user-specific or not, Chase believes the conversion rate could be increased a full percentage point or more. A conversion rate increase of even 1% can easily equate to thousands of additional orders over the course of a year. However, Chase was unable to realize this vision for as yet.

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