Raising $10m with a strong email strategy and platform

Dry July partnered with Traction Digital on a pro-bono basis to help them develop and execute their email strategy given their need for expert support. The Traction Platform was selected as the relevant platform to use based on the planned strategy and requirements. It was vital to ensure that Dry July’s platform usage was driven by the right strategy, and not by the platform features.


Dry July is an online social community, a health awareness initiative where an individual or team can sign up to the challenge of a month-long sponsored abstinence from alcohol.
The funds raised from participant sponsorship go directly to benefit the lives of adults living with cancer right across Australia. After an initial year of DIY email marketing on tight resources and unexpected success in its inaugural year, 2008, Dry July realised the power of partnering with the right digital communications provider. This would enable them to affordably and effectively communicate to their target audience of donors and create a community to drive support for the initiative.


  • Engage and retain their community
  • Incentivise participation
  • Segment and personalise content
  • Increase their digital word-of-mouth


During each strategic marketing planning cycle, Dry July and Traction Digital would meet to discuss Dry July’s annual objectives and challenges. Traction Digital would then share best practice, latest trends and functional platform updates of relevance. Traction Digital and Dry July would work together to develop a strategy that maximised the platform’s features to drive targeted results. This included:

  • Strategy – ensure the right approach and relevant platform features are used to achieve set objectives.
  • Best practice execution – avoiding common pitfalls affecting open rate and conversion.
  • Segmentation and Personalisation – communicate relevant content to a diverse demographic.
  • Triggered Emails – efficiently send the right call-to-action at the right time for the greatest impact.
  • Competitions and Promotions – incentivise donations and referrals from the community.
  • Dynamic Content – deliver a personal fundraising status to individuals to encourage continuous activity.
  • Surveys – gain a better understanding of their community and the influencers impacting activity.


Over four years of working together, Dry July’s team increased their email marketing acumen, developing and executing an increasingly sophisticated email strategy. As of July 2012, their email strategy was instrumental in driving:

  • Over 80,000 email subscribers to their database,
  • 33% increase in participants for 2012 to 15,228,
  • 31% increase in donations raised for 2012 subscribers to $3.7 million

From a starting point of zero email subscribers and just 1,049 participants raising $257,000 in 2008, Dry July exceeded every expectation of a successful marketing campaign by encouraging over 41,000 people to raise more than $10.5 million over 5 years to help adults living with cancer. By working with Traction Digital on their email marketing strategy, Dry July prioritised email as their main channel of recruitment and retention for a number of reasons:

  • It is still the predominant medium for peer-based communication
  • It delivers multiple messages in one hit
  • It offers a strong call to action
  • It is easily consumed on-the-go through mobile devices

“We learnt from partnering with Traction Digital that you can’t expect the platform to produce all the answers for you. Your strategy should drive the platform use and not the other way around. The platform will only deliver results on your investment if you take the time to plan, collaborate, track and respond. It’s important to work with the right partner when developing and executing your digital communications strategy. When you execute the right email marketing strategy, using the right platform – your customers will tell you that it works!”

Phil Grove, Co-Founder Dry July

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