Case Study

Parkinson’s UK hits record online sales by using purchase history to segment its audience


Parkinson’s UK drives better care, treatments and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. They work to bring forward the day when no one fears Parkinson’s disease.


  • Increase revenue through the Parkinson’s UK online shop.
  • Segment the audience so that emails are tailored and more relevant.
  • Increase engagement with, and internal understanding of, email marketing.


Adopting a segmented approach to email meant revenue from the Christmas campaign in the final quarter of 2016 (September-December) almost doubled (+94%) compared to the same time period in 2015.

The Challenge

As Christmas is the most important time of the year for charities, Parkinson’s UK was looking to increase engagement with their cause. Email is a great channel for this because it gives the charity access to an audience that is already interested in the charity. So they needed to focus on delivering a series of engaging emails which would ultimately increase revenue compared to the year before.

The Solution

After a thorough review of the 2015 email campaigns, it was clear that Parkinson’s UK had to move away from the ‘load and blast’ scattergun approach to email marketing. Focusing on the most engaged audiences, the charity segmented contacts into three categories (based on purchase history):

  • Customers who purchased cards in 2015
  • Customers who purchased a product in 2016
  • Members of the charity who purchased a product in 2016

These segments were sent a series of targeted emails, encouraging subscribers to make a purchase based on their past interactions and purchases. The main product promoted was Christmas cards, as they are Parkinson’s UK’s most popular product throughout the final quarter of the year.

The Result

The segmented approach worked really well for Parkinson’s UK. Overall, the strategy resulted in 94% uplift in revenue YoY.

Not only that, but because the emails were relevant to each segment, engagement also increased with open rates lifting by 5% to 39% compared to the previous quarter.

Reasons for success:

  • Smaller, targeted contact list: messaging and products promoted was more focused on the audience;
  • Audience segmentation: different strategy allowed for more personalized messages (e.g. “Looking for similar cards to 2015? Shop our handpicked range”);
  • Planning ahead: planning the full campaign, instead of putting it together month-by-month, put the user at the heart of the journey, encouraging customer interaction;
  • Split testing: testing subject lines showed higher open rates on emails with less sales-driven copy (e.g. “Christmas is coming, and we can’t contain our baubles”), allowing the content strategy to be refined further and optimized;
  • Integrated campaign: cohesive online approach and landing page delivered a consistent brand message.

What are they planning next?

Parkinson’s UK has evaluated the success of the Christmas campaign and the lessons are being expanded and applied to year-round activities.

Based on the success of targeted, segmented mailings, the charity is building user journeys to enhance the supporter experience and increase interaction, which will ultimately lead to an uplift in fundraising for their cause.

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