Features

Case Study: Smelting Email Campaigns From Social Media

Written on
Apr 15, 2010 
Author
Kara Trivunovic  |

smelt_smallADOTAS — Online retailing is an extremely competitive industry, especially if you happen to be fighting for customers with the likes of Amazon.com, PotteryBarn.com and others. Despite the challenges, CSN Stores is thriving in the home furnishings and housewares business, so much so that it is currently the “Top 3″ online retailer in its category according to Internet Retailer magazine.

Founded in 2002, part of CSN Stores’ success lies in its unique approach for running more than 200 different stores that are each narrowly focused on one type of product. However, the other half of the equation lies in how it attracts customers to its stores.

Referral marketing is one of the key drivers of CSN Store’s new customer acquisition programs, which is exemplified by a recent reward program launched to its most loyal customers. As it was developing the constructs of the reward program, it needed to find a way to motivate its top customers to share offers with friends and family.

The company first tried to accomplish this by sending a conventional email referral campaign to an engaged group of current CSN Rewards customers. However, while the campaign’s open rate was in line with expectations, it was not effective at getting these engaged customers to follow through and invite their friends to join.

Given the explosion of social media, CSN Stores began looking for a solution that would leverage this powerful new channel in a way that made it extremely easy for customers to share the CSN loyalty program with their friends and family.

“We had a lot of positive feedback on our CSN Rewards programs from existing members, so it came down to finding the right solution that would motivate them to invite their friends to try it too,” said Ed Macri, vice president of advertising and business intelligence at CSN Stores.

CSN Stores worked with StrongMail to develop referral marketing campaign that incentivized current CSN Rewards members with a $15 credit in their Rewards account for each friend that enrolled in the program and made a subsequent purchase. Members also received a $75 bonus when they referred five friends who went on to sign up, for a total possible account credit of $150.

To make the program even more viral, the referred friends were offered the same $15 credit for extending the offer to their networks. Once this offer was finalized, CSN Stores launched the referral campaign to its Reward members and featured it in the CSN Recommends weekly deal alert email.

The StrongMail Influencer referral marketing solution tracked each participant’s progress towards the goal of getting five referrals to complete a purchase and sent status updates that kept them up to date of new invitations that were accepted or purchases made. Once the threshold of five purchases from a referred friend was met, the $75 credit reward was automatically sent to the individual who earned it.

In addition to making it easy for CSN Stores to check the status of the gifting and reward activity in real-time, the system also leverages fraud detecting technology to flag suspicious claim activity.

The viral sharing capabilities of Influencer enabled CSN Stores to generate click-through rates four times higher than those reported for simply adding a sharing link to an email template. In fact, click-throughs from Influencer-enabled sharing (via email and social networks) generated an 80% lift in total click-throughs as compared to click throughs from contacts on the original email list.

More important, for every three customers from the initial mailing who shared the email, one new CSN Rewards account was created, and ten percent of those new members went on to complete a purchase. Ultimately, CSN Stores was able to boost program performance by three times.

“The success of this program lies largely with StrongMail’s technology that enables our customers to easily control how and when to share CSN with their friends and family via their favorite social networks,” said Macri.

StrongMail Influencer tracked each participant’s progress towards the goal of getting five referrals to complete a purchase and sent status updates that kept them up to date of new invitations that were accepted or purchases made. Once the threshold of five purchases from a referred friend was met, the $75 credit reward was automatically sent to the individual who earned it.

In addition to making it easy for CSN Stores to check the status of the gifting and reward activity in real-time, StrongMail Influencer also leverages fraud detecting technology to flag suspicious claim activity.

CSN Stores’ strong focus on fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty is one of principle reasons that the company is so successful today. Extending this commitment into social media is a natural fit that paid off in new customers for the business.





Kara Trivunovic is senior director of Strategic Services for StrongMail Systems. A 10-year email marketing veteran, Kara has programmatic email development, execution and strategy experience from senior positions across the client, agency and provider sides. At StrongMail, Kara is responsible for helping marketers optimize email marketing programs for greater returns. Most recently, Kara was founder and principal of The Email Advisor, a respected email marketing consultancy focusing on email strategy and channel optimization. Previously, Kara led strategic services for the email division of Premiere Global Services.

Reader Comments.

I never try Strong mail. It looks pretty good.

JKOnline @ buy bedroom furniture

Posted by JKOnline | 8:10 pm on January 5, 2011.

Sounds like a great approach but it must have cost a pretty penny to implement the custom solution, its not something small businesses could do.

Posted by BYO Swing Set | 4:54 pm on December 5, 2011.

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