1. Customer Case Studies

Customer feature: Zero to Marketing – a weekly dose of online project growth

Case studies are nothing new. Businesses have long been using case studies to show what customers can do with their product or service, in a bid to attract more customers. In fact, what you’re reading now is essentially a customer case study.

But in the age of social media, case studies have taken on a new life. And become a way for individuals to showcase their knowledge. To build a name for themselves as experts in their field. And to help others apply similar techniques.

So while personal newsletters continue to trend, combining the two seemed like a pretty good idea to marketer Andrea Bosoni. And that’s how Zero to Marketing was born earlier this year.

Now every Monday, a growing audience of fellow marketers and entrepreneurs receive a 5-minute case study. Each week an online project is picked and Andrea applies his decade of marketing experience to provide his audience with actionable tips on how to grow a business.

So it pleases us to know that this newsletter is sent through EmailOctopus. And it’s why we recently caught up with Andrea to find out more about his side project.

Hi Andrea! Tell us a little about your background.

I’ve been poking around the internet (and digital marketing) for a long time, ever since we had those weird email addresses given by our ISPs. After graduating from college, I was working in the corporate world.

Andrea Bosoni, founder of Zero to Marketing, at his laptop.
Andrea Bosoni, founder of Zero to Marketing

But I have to love my job, and the corporate world just wasn’t giving me the same feeling I got from working in digital marketing. So I’ve switched, and I’ve been working as a marketing consultant for 10 years now.

Those first few years, I got my hands dirty running all sorts of experiments with SEO, Facebook Ads, and so on. These days, I focus on the high-level strategy part: positioning, choosing the best channels, etc. My clients call it “setting the foundations for marketing success.”

But I’m still that kid who loves to experiment with every marketing tactic under the sun. So I still work on my own projects, and I spend way more time than I should in front of a screen.

What motivated you to start Zero to Marketing?

The funny thing is, Zero to Marketing started by accident. I just tweeted an idea about picking a new online project every week, and explaining how I’d grow it. My tweet went semi-viral, and folks really seemed to want to learn from the examples I’d cover. I got so many positive comments and messages!

Picture of the tweet that launched Zero to Marketing
The tweet that launched Zero to Marketing

And since I’ve always wanted to share my marketing knowledge with others, a newsletter turned out to be a great way to do it at scale. I was excited to get going! (I still am.)

How have you grown this project since its inception?

Zero to Marketing is still a side project, so I haven’t spent a lot of time promoting it. My main strategy was promoting Zero to Marketing on relevant online communities like Indie Hackers, where other entrepreneurs were looking to grow their own projects but didn’t have the marketing knowledge.

Thanks to my content, I also got some traffic from Twitter and Google, as well as organic mentions and reshares on popular websites. For example, I wrote a guest post for Really Good Emails after they took a liking to my content.

I also invested a few bucks and got good results from Reddit Ads. Unlike other platforms, Reddit gives you a really cheap CPA (cost per acquisition), and you can target the people who would be interested in your product.

A friend recommended EmailOctopus to me. I was impressed by the features, reviews, and the competitive pricing. I haven’t looked back ever since.

Andrea Bosoni, Zero to Marketing

Why did you choose EmailOctopus as your email marketing platform?

I have a confession to make – I was initially going to use MailChimp. However, their pricing gets super expensive as you grow. Since I had an optimistic feeling about growing Zero to Marketing, I wasn’t convinced I should commit.

Then, a friend recommended EmailOctopus to me. I was impressed by the features, reviews, and the competitive pricing. I haven’t looked back ever since.

What sort of engagement do you get from your subscribers?

Right now, I have more than 1400 subscribers, and every newsletter has a 50% average open rate, with a 1% unsubscribe rate. This is pretty good, so you can imagine my excitement!

I keep my email deliverability high by turning on the double opt-in, and periodically cleaning my mailing list to delete inactive subscribers. But the best part are the replies.

Since people can reply to my emails, they often share their feedback and ask me for specific advice regarding their own projects. I love building 1-on-1 relationships, so it’s amazing!

Picture of the EmailOctopus dashboard in Zero to Marketing's account
A sneak peek at Zero to Marketing’s subscriber count and campaign dashboard

How has EmailOctopus benefitted you most?

The most important part was keeping the stakes low. There’s no pressure since the first 2,500 subscribers are free. Even if the project hadn’t worked out, it wouldn’t have been a big deal.

EmailOctopus also has a really good deliverability rate, which is probably the most important thing. Most of my subscribers say they regularly receive my emails without having to dive into their spam folder.

Finally, I did have a few minor issues when I was just getting everything set up. However, EmailOctopus’ support was always really quick to respond and help, so I had an incredibly positive experience.

What tips can you share with others to get the most out of EmailOctopus and its integrations or features?

I’d say the first thing you should do after signing up is verifying your domain. It’ll help you with deliverability, and all you have to do is tweak around the DNS settings.

You can also immediately get started with automation, even with the free plan. This is a huge deal! You can easily schedule automated welcome emails, or even create complex sequences to up-sell your customers.

Finally, make sure you have fun using EmailOctopus’ drag & drop editor. You can design emails that fit your branding and improve your customer experience. And yeah, the design is responsive so it looks awesome on mobile too!

Aside from EmailOctopus, what other platforms do you use in your tech stack?

Right now, I only use three tools.

Carrd for my landing page. It’s a simple, one-page website builder. You can tweak all the little details, and save your time (and money). It also has an integration with EmailOctopus.

Apple Pages for my case studies. With iCloud, I can access my files on all my devices, so Ican switch from my iPad or iPhone to my Mac seamlessly.

Finally, I use Canva. My case studies are full of visual examples, so I need a simple, freetool to create the newsletter slides with consistent branding.

Screenshot of the intro from one of Zero to Marketing's case study emails
Sample of a Zero to Marketing email and case study

What new features in EmailOctopus would have the greatest impact on your project?

I know that EmailOctopus recently introduced segmentation. It’s a great feature for sending more personalized emails, so I hope they’ll add segmentation by open rate, too.

Also, since I love to keep my list clean, I’d love an easy way to send re-engagement emails. If some subscribers haven’t been opening my emails for a while, I’d love to be able to check if they’re still interested.

Feature update: segmentation by campaign activity is now available in EmailOctopus. Find out more.

Finally, it’d be really helpful to have a dashboard with charts so I can keep an eye on my subscriber engagement trends (high, medium, low, or none – based on the open rate), and improve.

Finally, what does the future hold for Zero to Marketing?

Right now, I just want to reach out to more people and create content that they find valuable and helpful. Marketing really isn’t about how big your numbers are – it’s about how many people care about what you have to say.

In the long term, I’m going to be exploring options to make the project profitable so I can dedicate more of my time to it. I’ll likely create some additional premium products to help out business owners and founders who want to increase their sales.

Hopefully, the next time we talk, I’ll be working on Zero to Marketing full time!

If you’d like Andrea’s marketing case studies delivered to your inbox, sign up to the Zero to Marketing mailing list.

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