Case Study: Email Marketing Optimization

Client: Calder Capital — Premier M&A firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Project: Email campaign optimization
Result: ↑+303% clicked emails; ↑+67% click rate


Considering there are more than 4 billion daily email users, it’s no surprise that 78% of marketers say email is important to their overall company success1. But with so many marketers using email, getting prospects to engage is challenging. How do you breakthrough? Most marketers spend significant time and money developing content, creating templates, and redesigning their branding, but fail to analyze the wealth of data within their CRM platform. This case study will highlight a different path — One that delivers significantly better results with a smaller overall investment.


Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Calder Capital is a premier M&A firm, specializing in lower middle market investment banking and business brokerage. The firm has achieved impressive growth. It was recently named one of the “Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies” for 2021 and received the “2021 Stevie, Company of the Year” award (Gold Recognition).

Critical to their success is Calder Capital’s ability to bring the market to its clients. For seller clients, this means confidential and aggressive marketing to attract significant interest from qualified buyers. For buyer clients, the firm leverages the same focused, aggressive, and smart outreach to maximize the number of off-market sellers to introduce to buy-side clients.

Email marketing is a key part of Calder Capital’s strategy. Striving to further improve its marketing effectiveness, the leadership team recognized that insights existed in their data – insights that could be leveraged to optimize their email marketing. But considering their rapid growth, the team was stretched to find the time to conduct the deep analysis necessary to uncover these insights.


As a first step, Calder Capital engaged Emylla to conduct a detailed ‘deep dive’ analysis of their previous email marketing. Specifically, they wanted to better understand the key drivers of email engagement, so that email campaigns could be designed more intelligently and delivered more effectively with better results. Additionally, Emylla was tasked to create a dashboard to monitor email marketing metrics and propose strategies to further optimize its campaigns.


Emylla analyzed twelve months of email activity to understand the most important features driving email engagement (open and click rates). The analysis included three primary areas of focus:

  1. When emails were delivered, including the day of the week and time of the day.
  2. Characteristics of who was engaging (and not engaging) with emails.
  3. Content engagement analysis (email type, structure, design, subject, keywords, etc.)

In total, more than 2 million emails were analyzed. The data set included roughly 40 standard features for each email record. Additionally, Emylla engineered an additional 92 features to push “below the surface” to uncover the deeper and more complex patterns that were driving email engagement. With these new insights, critical adjustments were made throughout the marketing automation system.


Baseline Month: May 2021
Evaluation Month: August 2021

Buy-Side Email Campaigns

  • Open rate increase: +72%
  • Click rate increase: +59%
  • Overall email volume increased 272%, resulting in 540% more emails opened and 492% more clicked emails.

Sell-Side Email Campaigns

  • Open rate increase: +23%
  • Click rate increase: +40%
  • Overall email volume increased 102%, resulting in 150% more emails opened and 183% more clicked emails.

Next Steps

To raise engagement further, Emylla is developing machine learning models to automatically inform the “Next Best Action” for Calder Capital’s email marketing. These models will predictive which prospects have the highest likelihood to click a particular email, sent at a specific time, and within an overall pattern of engagement. This automated “prescriptive marketing” strategy is expected to further maximize Calder Capital’s marketing ROI and significantly contribute to the firm’s continued growth.

1 CREDIT: Kirsch, Kristina; “The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2021” HubSpot; August 13, 2021