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Twelve years ago, To’ak Chocolate co-founder Jerry Toth moved to Ecuador to embark on a rainforest conservation project. The Jama-Coaque Reserve, still operating today, protects 1,500 acres of rainforest in coastal Ecuador.
It was in this forest that Toth first encountered cacao trees. Local farmers taught him how to harvest, ferment, dry, roast, and transform cacao into drinking chocolate—the way chocolate is traditionally consumed in Ecuador. Toth was blown away by the incredible aroma and complex flavor. This first experience led him to track down the legendary Nacional cacao, a thought-to-be-extinct variety that was highly sought after in the late 1800s.
Toth wanted to share his experience with friends, family, and the rest of the world. He realized that depending on a limited raw material would force him to sell the chocolate as a luxury item. To’ak Chocolate was born—quickly becoming distributed in fine food retailers worldwide.
Listen to the To’ak Chocolate Story:
To’ak Chocolate’s origin story is essential to the brand. After all, customers need to understand how special the chocolate is in order to appreciate it.
The team knew that building a digital brand was important to spreading the story. The emergence of COVID-19 persuaded them to double down on their digital strategy. They took a magnifying glass to email marketing, researching strategies that were successful for other businesses.
“At the time, we had a very passive email marketing strategy,” said James Le Compte, CEO at To’ak Chocolate. “When there was something obvious we felt we needed to tell our customers, we’d send an email. But email, as a channel, was very under-utilized.”
Although To’ak Chocolate’s email results were respectable, Le Compte was convinced that a deeper email marketing focus could bring a large ROI.
“We had an aha moment when we recognized that email could be a powerful tool for engaging customers and driving revenue,” he said. “Before partnering with Omnisend, we saw email as a bit of an afterthought, as opposed to a pillar of our marketing and sales strategy.”
It was time for email marketing to catapult the To’ak Chocolate story into the limelight.
With the shift to expanding its digital footprint, the team switched its ecommerce platform from WooCommerce to Shopify. With the decision to invest further in digital marketing, the new strategy merited identifying a new email marketing tool to complement To’ak Chocolate’s existing stack.
I looked at a number of marketing automation platforms and felt with Omnisend that we had found a company with similar values. It was clear they would help us fully leverage the platform’s features and implement it effectively.” — James Le Compte, CEO at To’ak Chocolate
As a luxury brand, To’ak Chocolate doesn’t offer discounts or participate in annual sales like Cyber Monday. Thus, it was important to find a marketing automation partner capable of making recommendations specific to its brand.
“It was clear that the team at Omnisend was hungry to dive in to help us come up with strategies,” Le Compte said. “We weren’t going to be ‘just another customer.’”
When To’ak Chocolate partnered with Omnisend, the first order of business was to create a welcome series for new email subscribers. The series would illustrate To’ak Chocolate’s story to communicate the history of cacao, the company’s mission, and the thoughtfulness behind its products.
“Our automated welcome series allows us to share our brand story with anyone who subscribes, which helps us communicate the uniqueness of our brand,” Le Compte explains. “We tell the story from the founder’s perspective, the farmer’s perspective, and from other voices. Today, customers get a personalized introduction to our brand. Email automation makes it possible, for a small team like ours, to show customers that we care about building a connection.”
Here are some other impressive results To’ak Chocolate has achieved with Omnisend:
Le Compte and the To’ak Chocolate crew are pleased with how they have expanded the use of email since moving to Omnisend. Not only are they enjoying more revenue, but they’re exploring how they can further optimize their sales strategy with email as a pillar.
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