How Char-Broil fires up its email marketing initiatives

open rate
click rate
increase in click rate for redesigned campaigns
less email production time used


Char-Broil, a division of W.C. Bradley Co., is one of the oldest outdoor cooking brands. Well-respected and widely-used, more Char-Broil gas grills are distributed across the U.S. than any other brand. In December 2012, Char-Broil selected Data Axle as its email marketing partner. With the help of Data Axle’s efficient Account Management team, Char-Broil was able to complete the onboarding process, migrate its database, and deploy its first campaign using the Data Axle’s cross-channel platform within just two months of signing. To get started, Char-Broil employed the creative team within Data Axle’s agency services group to conduct a comprehensive creative audit and gauge the strengths of the brand’s existing email programs and identify areas of opportunity. Data Axle’s assessment included a thorough evaluation of Char-Broil’s emails and comprehensive recommendations on improving campaign performance.

“It was evident from the start that Data Axle was committed to the success of our email marketing initiatives. Before we hit the ground running, our account team went above and beyond to help us utilize all of Data Axle’s resources to improve our existing programs and develop successful new ones.”

Hamid Abtahi Interactive Marketing Manager, Char-Broil

Objective and Solution

Char-Broil wanted consistent branding across its two email programs, ‘Offers’ and ‘Newsletter’, and the email templates developed by Data Axle’s agency services team provided the solution. With a custom email template, Char-Broil was able to reduce email production time before deployment by more than 50%.

“Before, it would take hours to put together an email campaign. Now, it takes 30 minutes at most. Thanks to our new template system, I don’t have to start from scratch each time I want to create a new message. In addition, potential for errors is greatly reduced and Char-Broil branding is maintained across every message.”

Michael Williams UX Designer, Char-Broil

The easy-to-use templates, which incorporate scalable email design, enable CharBroil to mix and match (i.e. reorder and remove) stackable content sections from one campaign to the next. These stacked blocks streamline text while the scalable design coded in the template ensures all objects within the email are properly aligned and proportional to one another in any mobile or desktop environment.

Data Axle’s creative team outlined additional mobile-friendly design techniques that Char-Broil could implement in a handy email style guide. In the guide, the creative team established character limits for brand headlines and other copy, and included standardized sizing for text, images and buttons. Once CharBroil employed Data Axle’s recommendations, copy was larger and more readable while call-to-action buttons could be clicked more easily by mobile users with 44-pixel sized fingertips. In addition, Char-Broil started including ample negative space in its emails to avoid cluttering the limited size of some subscribers’ device screens.

Key Outcome

reduce email production time before deployment by more than 50%.


Dedicated account management

Email templates






The Axle Agency


Char-Broil’s early email campaigns were very image-heavy and even their calls-to-action were image-based. As a result, they were often hard to identify and click with “images off” as the default setting for many mobile and desktop clients. By not designing messages with its screen-shifting audience in mind, Char-Broil was missing out on the opportunity to engage a sizable portion of its subscriber base.

After consulting with Data Axle’s creative team for guidance on its marketing strategy, elements in Char-Broil’s emails such as the navigation bar were visible with “images off,” providing an optimal mobile viewing experience for subscribers. This improvement, along with the scalable design implementations, significantly boosted engagement with Char-Broil’s email marketing campaigns. For starters, the click rate for Char-Broil’s newsletter, Sizzle on the Grill, increased by 11.8% while the click rate for the brand’s ‘Offers’ program improved by a dramatic 44.4% after the redesign. What’s more, Data Axle’s account management team recommended that Char-Broil deploy a ‘Welcome’ program, an entirely new message series, intended to supplement and enhance the brand’s ‘Offers’ initiative. The ‘Welcome’ series outperformed existing programs by a wide margin –after launching it, Char-Broil achieved an open rate of 49.7% and a click rate of 18.6%, compared to the ‘Offers’ program average open rate of 18.0% and average click rate of 3.05%. The ‘Welcome’ program served as an activation campaign and was designed to engage subscribers early on, have them convert, and encourage customers to keep in touch with Char-Broil. In turn, the brand would see increased and recurring revenue.

Creative Samples:

Old newsletter in images-off mode (left) New newsletter in images-off mode (right)

“Our savvy customers are becoming more and more dependent on mobile devices. With Data Axle’s guidance and the expertise of their agency services teams, we’ve been able to adapt our emails to this shift in consumer preference and have seen a drastic increase in customer interactions with our email programs.”

Hamid Abtahi Interactive Marketing Manager, Char-Broil
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