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How NourishWise built a healthy email strategy from the ground up

Ever ordered a salad in the hope of trimming your waistline, only to find out later that it had the same amount of calories as a bacon cheeseburger?

It’s difficult to know what’s actually healthy in restaurants these days, with seemingly “whole” foods secretly slathered in butter or chock-full of added sugars (that’s why I always go with the cheeseburger). Enter NourishWise. It’s a startup based in Nashville that helps people make smarter, more informed choices while dining out at local restaurants. 

“I started the company because I love to eat,” said Jason Denenberg, the founder and CEO of NourishWise. “I’ve always struggled with my eating habits. And to me, dining out is one of the trickiest parts of the landscape of eating, so I wanted to create a tool that enabled people to enjoy local restaurants without the guilt and guesswork.”

Filling a gap in the health industry

NourishWise currently partners with 37 local restaurants (think Frothy Monkey, FLIP Burger, Mere Bulles, and Lynne Lorraine’s) to surface accurate nutritional info on their tastiest (and healthiest) offerings. Users sign up for their list, and each week, they receive an email highlighting different “smart choice” dishes in the Nashville area.

For Jason, choosing to build NourishWise around email marketing was a no-brainer.

“It’s pretty clear that email marketing is the strongest it’s ever been. And Emma enables me to have not only a very nice, clean-looking tool to put in front of our users and start building our brand, it also gives me the metrics I needed to make decisions on how and where to grow."

Building an email program from the ground up

Though he’s an experienced entrepreneur and shrewd businessman (he was even featured in Nashville Business Journal’s "30 under 30”), Jason is fairly new to the marketing world. So during the sales process, Jason was presented with the opportunity to work with Emma's Services Team to sharpen his email strategy.

When Jason first came on board, here’s where NourishWise stood: 

• 1200 subscribers
• Very little marketing strategy
• Limited time and budget
• Limited collection of assets
• Needed help telling their brand story
• Needed help building brand recognition

He knew he had his work cut out for him, so he began working one-on-one with Elizabeth Duffey, one of Emma's Services Specialists, on a recurring basis.

Some help from Emma’s Services Team

Elizabeth jumped in with both feet to get Jason on board with Emma and set up for lasting success. 

“You should know that I'm woefully under-skilled when it comes to marketing, design, all of that. So Elizabeth has been fantastic in helping me fill those gaps, whether it's thinking through a simple aesthetic suggestion or testing an entirely new marketing tactic."

Since they began working with one another, Elizabeth has helped Jason:

• Optimize his templates to look great on any device
• Test send times and subject lines
• Set up a three-part welcome series
• Start using segmentation to treat active and inactive users differently
• Tailor send frequency based on engagement

The first email welcomes new subscribers to the NourishWise community.

The second email sets expectations for content and send frequency.

The third email introduces some of their most popular restaurant partners.

"We’re accomplishing a lot and seeing great results,” Elizabeth said. “Jason doesn’t have a big team, so us taking this stuff off his plate helps him focus on the 'big picture' parts of the business, like getting investments."

Getting big results from a refined strategy

“For me, it’s all about metrics,” Jason said. Thankfully, the ones he’s been seeing are super impressive. Just a year after getting on board with Emma, he’s:

• Seen a huge lift in his audience size
• Garnered 59% welcome email open rates
• Achieved 25% weekly nutrition email open and click rates
• Averaged a 10% CTR, proving how hungry people are for this type of content

Not too shabby!

What’s next?

For Jason, Emma’s Services Team has become an integral part of his marketing strategy – even beyond email.

“We’ve helped Jason with everything from email to his investor pitch deck,” said Elizabeth. "So it’s really a full-circle relationship with him and his business. We have monthly check-ins to lay out next steps, goals, and have a clear checklist to work from so we're both holding each other accountable."

Moving forward, Jason looks forward to working with Elizabeth to expand and sharpen his strategy even further. "We’re going to look to expand our communication cadence,” he said, "do more complex testing, segmentation, and automation and really start targeting folks in unique ways with unique messages.”

"We’ve laid out a pretty comprehensive strategy outline with tons of things left to accomplish on it,” said Elizabeth. “Now that we’ve got their general email marketing foundation in place, the sky’s the limit!”

Now that’s the kind of healthy email strategy we can get behind.