Social hero

Get Social this Holiday

Maurices and Disney found clever ways to get their customers to interact with their social network pages this season! Let’s take a look…

From: Maurices
Date: 11/18/16
Subject Line: ‘Tis the season for shopping, saving & free shipping

Maurices   Maurices animated

Maurices is running a promo that qualifies you to win your holiday wishlist. They call it the “Wish Pin Win Sweepstakes.” To enter, you fill out a small form, then pin any number of their products (to Pinterest) along with the required description line: On my wish list #wishpinwinsweepstakes #discovermaurices. I’m not quite sure how the user is linked to their Pinterest account, but I’ll leave that to the experts.

The idea behind this promotion has many advantages.
1. Engagement. It encourages shoppers to browse through the website, in turn finding products they’re interested in.
2. Customer Acquisition. By entering the contest, Maurices can gain access to a potential new customer’s contact information and ask if they’d like to receive future emails.
3. Future Targeting. By creating a wishlist, Maurices can better target each subscriber based on products they’re interested in. In this case, it can be obtained through their browsing history (since the wishlist is created in Pinterest rather than through Maurice’s website).
4. Even More Customer Acquisition. By posting products on Pinterest, word will spread about the best items you have to offer. Not to mention, products look so much better when suggested by a friend.
5. Conversion. By encouraging people to pin these items, the tedious work of browsing and compiling is now done — it’s easy for them to share it with friends and family. BAM, holiday wishlist complete.
6. Customer Retention. Offering contests keeps customers happy and waiting for the next opportunity to win.

Overall, this is a great way to market yourself using social media.

From: Disney Movie Rewards
Date: 12/01/16
Subject Line: Happy Holidays, Amy

Disney Movie Rewards   Disney Movie Rewards

For the month of December, Disney Movie Rewards is giving free reward points for clicks! On December 1st they sent an email announcing the promotion: “Earn 5 Points Every Day!” I clicked the CTA in the email, logged in, and earned my free points. BOOM. Done. Easy. The second day, I went to get my points but saw new instructions. To receive points I must now visit their Facebook, Twitter OR Pinterest page. There, I would find a link to a magic code. I can then use that code on the Disney Movie Reward’s website to redeem my points.

A great advantage of this promotion is that it:
1. Makes customers aware of their social media presence, and
2. Encourages them to “like” the page so they’ll be reminded to redeem points (therefore opting in to future posts).
3. Also, by liking the page, and/or posts, their friends will become aware of the promotion as well.

There are a few things I might change about their strategy, however.
1. For the kick-off email, I would make it clear how the process works (that social media will be involved). Rather than linking to the Disney Movie Rewards website, I would provide call-to-actions to their social media pages.
2. It seems like a lot of steps to earn your reward. Rather than listing a link within the social media post, I would like to see the code displayed there instead. I can only think of one reason why you might want to use a link: to direct them to a page with more opportunities for click through / conversion. In this case, the landing page only has the magic code.

Overall, still a creative way to incorporate social media.

Kudos to Maurices and Disney on finding unique ways to grow your customer base and engage existing customers through social media.

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hashtag hero

Don’t Waste That Hashtag

I keep seeing email after email underutilizing hashtags (ahem, examples above). Retailers seem to be using them as a way to look trendy, but with no real purpose. This is such a missed opportunity. Hashtags are essentially FREE MARKETING! By encouraging your customers to share their images and thoughts about your brand, they are marketing to their friends, family, and followers for you. So how can you use hashtags to your advantage? Here are a few suggestions:

1) HOST A CONTEST
Who doesn’t want free stuff? Contests are a great way to get people involved. In this example, Williams-Sonoma offers a chance to win a grill or grill set for Father’s Day. The hashtag makes a bold appearance in the headline. This campaign could have even more impact if the headline included the words win and/or contest.

From: Williams-Sonoma
Date: 6/18/16
Subject Line: 3 Days Left! 20% Off 1 Item + 5 Great Picks for DAD – In Stores & Online

williams-sonoma message

2) OFFER FAME / BRAGGING RIGHTS
Social media is addictive. People love to sit back and watch the “like” meter count up. Why not give them their 5 minutes of fame. In this email, Live Love Polish encourages subscribers to tag their nail art photos for a chance to be featured on their website. The headline is well-worded (very direct), and the use of imagery from other customers is an inspiring addition.

From: Live Love Polish
Date: 6/03/16
Subject Line: Ripper NEW BRAND From Down Under!

live love polish message

3) ENCOURAGE SOCIALIZING
Sure, incentives are a great way to populate your hashtag feed, but some people are more than willing to contribute for nothing. Simply make people aware of the hashtag and what it should be used for. Here, Pottery Barn Kids invites customers to simply share their 4th of July photos. I like the use of the Instagram logo used to emphasize the preferred social platform (just in case people are too lazy to read).

From: Pottery Barn Kids
Date: 7/04/2016
Subject Line: Happy 4th of July! Up to 25% off EVERYTHING + FREE SHIPPING (’til midnight!)

pottery barn kids message

4) DONATE TO CHARITY
What a fun, free (for the taggers anyway) and effortless way for customers to donate to a cause! Encourage them to share and in exchange, you make a donation! Aerie shares the love by donating $1 for each post using their hashtag. With this message they decided to go big or go home; it’s hardly a secondary message since it’s comparable in size and location to the primary message. It works though! I only wish the headline was a bit more direct in calling out the donation aspect.

From: aerie
Date: 6/30/16
Subject Line: 500+ Swim Faves Now $10! For REAL.

aerie message

Okay, so let’s say you’re successful in creating and populating a unique hashtag. Some of the marketing has already begun by people simply contributing to it. New posts will show up in “new” or “popular” areas of social media, and followers of people who have shared will see the posts in their feeds. Now’s the time to take it one step further. Include a link in your emails (and/or website) to encourage more people to check it out and contribute.

There are a few options for creating links to these posts. You can link to a page within Instagram or Twitter, but that will limit you to that one social media provider. If you want to grab hashtags from all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for example), companies like Tagboard offer just that. You can link to a page within the site for your hashtag, or (for a price) Tagboard also allows you to embed posts on your website (displayed in an iframe).

A SMALL TIP: For a hashtag that’s more general, feel free to give it hierarchy in your email when you wish, but there’s no reason you can’t permanently give it a home at the bottom of your email. Here are two examples, from Carters and Land of Nod, showing how they included their hashtag in their footer.

carters footer  land of nod footer

ONE FINAL NOTE. Make sure when using a hashtag that you’re clear about how it should be used. If customers don’t know what it’s there for, you’ll be missing out. Here’s an example illustrating this from Banana Republic. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that they’re attempting to create a public hashtag; they call it out in two separate emails (in a prime location) and even in the subject line. However, there is no explanation about how the hashtag should be used. (IE: who should be using it and what type of posts should go there.) As a result, there have only been a couple posts using this hashtag to date, all made by Banana Republic. I would like to give them props for making the hashtag bold; it definitely stands out. It just needs a bit more instruction with it.

From: Banana Republic
Date: 6/19/16
Subject Line: This week in Your Life. Styled.

banana republic message

From: Banana Republic
Date: 6/20/16
Subject Line: Now, later, always: #BRClassic

banana republic message

In summary, if you’re going to use a hashtag, think beyond looking #trendy and make them work for you!

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Don’t Cop-Out On Your Opt-Out

From: Old Navy
Date: 05/01/2015
Subject Line: We Can’t Buy Your Love

Old Navy Opt-Out Email

Let’s face it, opt-out emails are scary — you worked hard to get those subscribers. A bad list though, and it’s straight to the junk folder. I suggest your opt-out email remind them WHY they signed up in the first place. If it’s for your spectacular products, make them the focus. Your unique style? Show it with an amazing design. Maybe it was an added bonus they received by signing up, so throw in an offer they can’t refuse. For Old Navy, it’s their spunky attitude and great deals, so that’s what they put into their opt-out email. I love the wording they chose, both in the subject line and email — it’s right on target with their style and audience. The design, however, leaves something to be desired… but for the brand it still works.

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7 Tips for the Creating the Perfect Survey Invitation Email

Ever since my teenage days reading Cosmo, Mademoiselle, and the like, I have been an avid survey taker.  I still love taking surveys, only now that we are in the digital world, the enticement usually comes in the format of an email.  Read on for a few useful tips to increase participation…

1. Use a clear and concise subject line that does not include any SPAM-y language. Most Subject Line Best Practices dictate that it should be no more than 35 characters, and with the primary message upfront. Also, avoid using all CAPS or $, as many Email Service Providers will filter your email and deliver to the SPAM folder, where its chances of being viewed are slim-to-none.
2. Provide an incentive. Be it extra miles, a chance to win a sweepstakes, or a gift card… You are asking your customers to do you a favor…show your appreciation and make it worth their while!
3. Be up front about the time needed to participate. Nobody wants to get sucked into taking a survey, only to find that the questions are seemingly never-ending! And be specific about the time… “Short” is relative, “5 minutes” is quantified.
4. Be clear about who you are. If you are using a third party to send your survey email, make sure to include your organization’s name in the subject line. If you are partnering with another organization, consider giving a brief explanation as to the reasons and benefits for the partnership.
5. Make it personal. Include the name of your respondents in the subject line and/or body of the email, and any other relevant information.
6. Give a deadline. This serves dual purposes: it provides a sense of urgency to complete the survey, and informs those survey takers who may not have time when they first open the email that they can’t procrastinate indefinitely. You may also want to consider sending a reminder message if your survey-takers have clicked on the original email, but not yet taken the survey (assuming they have not opted out from the first send).
7. Don’t forget to say Thank You! You can include language that thanks your participants in advance, and also send a follow-up Thank You email. Remember, everybody likes to feel appreciated. 🙂

A well-crafted email using the above Best Practices will ensure that you have a high participation rate in your survey.

What’s next?…Stay tuned for my follow-up blog piece: 7 Tips for the Creating the Perfect Online Survey

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For Fiat, Orange is the New Green

From: Fiat
Date: 03/24/2014
Subject Line: Welcome to the FIAT® family.

03.24.2014 Fiat

 

Rarely is the Code à la Mode team moved to blog about something that arrives in an actual old school mailbox. However, this little gem from FIAT is so clever, that we feel compelled to make an exception (plus, there is no way that the same physical content could have been delivered via email or other digital format).

Here are a few things to love about this direct mail piece:
1) The color. Orange is the signature color for the Fiat 500e – the bright color makes their cars stand out on the road, and this piece of mail “pop” in comparison to all the usual junk in the mailbox. Keeping with the color theme, the packaging contains a thank you card imbedded with poppy seeds, the California state flower*.
2) The copy. It is short, sweet, and kinda sexy. You’ve joined a family with fashionable taste… makes one feel like a part of the in crowd. The brief set of resources listed in the handy reference guide (which will go in the glove box) are a nice additional touch.
3) The eco-friendly packaging (just like the Fiat 500e itself!). Naturally, the envelope and contents are printed on recycled/compostable paper.

*Note: for the time being, the 500e is available ONLY in California.

In short, everything about this Thank You card is perfectly in sync with the entire Fiat 500e marketing program.

Ciao for now, darlings…time to go for a spin! 🙂

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