Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Here at Constant Contact, there’s nothing we enjoy more than celebrating the success of our customers.

That’s what the Constant Contact All Star Awards are all about.

You work hard to connect with your customers; we see you do it every day. The Constant Contact All Star awards recognise our customers who excel at using Constant Contact’s small business marketing tools to engage with their own customers and build great relationships.

And given that October is Black History Month, we thought it would be good to tell you the story of our top 2012 UK All Star Award Winner, Black History Walks.

Introducing Black History Walks

Black History Walks was started in London in 2008.

“We offer a series of historical walking tours throughout London,” explains Tony Warner, founder of Black History Walks. “We also offer films, talks and workshops on a variety of topics all year long to complement our walking tours.”

Tony explains that Black History Walks provides a different historical perspective for students, educators, and other groups who participate in their events — one that most people wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise.

Or, as Tony and his staff explain on the Black History Walks website:

One of the most interesting things about the African influence in Britain is that it is all around us in the very streets, institutions and architecture. What is even more interesting is that most of us have been so mis-educated formally and informally, that we are blind to it even when the physical evidence stares us in the face.

Where the all star journey began

From the start, email played an important role in how Black History Walks raised awareness for its events.

“We were using a personal email account to stay in touch with people who sign up for our walks or attended our events,” explains Tony. “But as we started to grow, we knew we needed a better tool for getting information out to all these people.”

By Spring 2009, Tony’s database had grown to more than 700 email contacts. The organisation had grown as well. With a full calendar of events planned for the summer months and more information to share with his target audience than ever before, Tony decided to begin the search for an email marketing provider.

By April he had found the solution: Email Marketing from Constant Contact.

The power of word-of-mouth

The first Black History Walks email newsletter went out to a list of 724 email contacts in April 2009. With a full calendar of walks, links to relevant news topics, and information about upcoming events, the newsletter generated a 50% open rate and saw a majority of those who opened, clicking through the Black History Walks website.

The months that followed would be some of the busiest for Tony and his staff.

“We’ve seen a lot of people sharing our emails or finding our content on social media,” Tony explains. “The word-of-mouth we get from people reading and sharing our emails has helped us grow a lot.”

Soon, more and more people were hearing about Black History Walks and as a result, more and more people were aware of the lessons being taught and the topics being discussed at their events.

In one year, Black History Walks tripled the amount of people signed up to receive their email updates. Since that time, more than 3,800 people have joined their email list.

“It makes a huge impact when you’re able to send emails to our target audience and know that information is being delivered,” explains Tony. “It has been an important part of our success.”

Advice from a Constant Contact All Star

“We use a lot of visual content in our emails. Photos and videos are very impactful and we see a lot more people reading and sharing when we provide something that’s interesting and they want to tell their friends about.”