Dan Shunn Air Up

98. How testing was key to this brand’s rapid growth

 February 15, 2022

By  Customers Who Click

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In episode 98 of the Customers Who Click podcast, Dan Shunn, the Head of CRM at Air Up, joins me to talk to us about how Air Up has grown over the last year, and how Word of Mouth has become such a huge part of their acquisition mix, as well as providing us with some insight into how he runs his CRM program there.

Testing and experimenting are crucial to becoming less reliant on paid traffic and upping your organic efforts. However, loads of brands will test mostly subject lines, but really you’ve got to do a massive amount of testing there to really work out what type of subject lines work best for you. What will work better for you is testing the lifecycle, the flows themselves and the content you’re offering customers to learn what enriches their experience.

If your focus is ‘how does this email make the customer's life better?’ you’ll do far better than ‘how do I get more people to open the email? Because if you become known for the former, then the latter will happen anyway.

Dan is the Head of CRM at Air Up, developers of the revolutionary air up® drinking system that flavours water by scent alone. He’s an experienced CRM specialist with a history working in the food, FMCG, sport and telecoms industries. 

Hey Highlights

02:51 - 05:59 - Biggest Contributors to Air Up’s Rapid Growth - A huge part of it have been organic efforts - 40% of their new customers come from word of mouth alone! But hands down the biggest contribution is that Air Up has created a really great product that works. Influencer marketing is currently one of their strongest channels because their product is very new, some consumers have trouble believing it actually works at first. It's a fantastic way to chip away that mistrust, to have an influencer their customers know, like and trust to show the product.

07:20 - 22:39 - Dan Shares His Approach to Experimentation and Testing - The CRM team at Air Up is very much into experimentation and testing. When it comes to choosing what they test, rather than focusing on something small like email subject lines, they always look for opportunities to learn something they will keep on using. Second, they ensure their target audience is big enough to learn something significant - they don’t see the point in testing a group of 50 people, for example. And third, probably the most important one is having the capacity to test within their team. 

When it comes to choosing what they test, Dan and his team largely relay on their own ideas, but they always make sure the idea is based on data from customer research. They look out for trends and then try to create a hypothesis around it. Air Up also try for their test subjects to lead to another test - they test, look at the results and iterate based on what performed the best. 

27:39 - 30:15 - How Air Up Encourages Repeat Purchases With Minimal Discounts & Offers - It’s not that Dan and his team don’t use discounts at all, because they do. It’s just that they focus more on enhancing customer experience through valuable content, keeping their customers engaged and sales & offers to a minimum.  Their content helps their customers make the most out of the product, through coming up with creative ways to spice things up - for example, the flavour is different with still and sparkling water, which makes their Coke flavour even more appealing.

30:28 - 37:02 - What Other Channels Air Up is Looking to Explore to Drive Growth - The subscription model, which is currently being tested on the Dutch market. Interestingly, they don’t offer the standard “Subscribe and Save” incentive and encourage signups - but they’re not saying “never” to testing it in the future. Another channel is SMS, but it isn’t as strong yet, mainly due to a technical issue since Klaviyo’s SMS expansion into Europe has been deprioritised. However, they want to change it and have already started on expanded their SMS list.

38:03 - Who Would Dan Like to Take For Lunch in the D2C Marketing World?

Dan loves what Patagonia and Gym Shark have been doing and under normal circumstances, he’d love to have a chat with some of the people working but since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, he really misses being able to visit the office and meet his team members in person more often.

41:50 - Dan’s Must-Have Ecommerce Tools:

  • Asana as a project management tool 
  • Klaviyo to automate email & SMS flows

Talk to the Host

You can send any other podcast recommendations, questions to ask, episode feedback, guest requests, or general pleasantries to Will’s email or tweet @ Will!

Customers Who Click


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