by Adam T. Sutton, Reporter
Frank Malsbenden, VP and General Manager, Vision Retailing Inc., and his team manage several retail footwear websites, such as Shoeline.com, BornShoes.com and SuperShoes.com.
The team tests new ideas on Super Shoes and incorporates winners onto its flagship site, Shoeline.com. For several months, the team designed and launched social tools on Super Shoes. In April, they wanted to know if the tools could drive real marketing performance.
"One of our main goals this year is to increase our number of product pages viewed per visit on our website," Malsbenden says. "Thatís a metric we struggle with on Super Shoes."
Previous testing had proven that driving more product page views increased the teamís conversion rate, so they wanted to create social media campaigns that would drive more product page views. CAMPAIGN
The team designed a Twitter-based contest that used Super Shoes' new social tools. The campaign served as a proof-of-concept for the teamís sharing tools, as it tested a contest idea and highlighted new seasonal products.
Here are the six steps the team followed:Step #1. Make it easy to share product information
The team previously added the ability to drag-and-drop product images on its site to easily share links to product pages on social networks.
For example, when viewing a product category page, a visitor could click a product image and drag it. Three icons then appeared for Facebook, Twitter and email (see creative samples below). Visitors could drop the images on an icon to update their profiles with a short description of the product and a link to its webpage.
The system asked visitors for network usernames and passwords before sharing for the first time. Visitors could tweak or append messages before sending them out.
Hereís a sample Twitter update:
"Sofft Womens Sorrento-Black Patent: http ://www.supershoes.com/ppage.aspx?productid=23638"
Drag-and-drop sharing offered a simple and interesting way for Super Shoes visitors to send product links to friends. Step #2. Set contest rules
The team created a contest called "Twitter Bingo." The five letters of "bingo" were hidden in five of the shareable product descriptions mentioned earlier. Contestants were encouraged to drag product images to share links on Twitter to see whether they found a hidden letter. For example, one of the descriptions read:
- "Iím playing #twitterbingo w/ @supershoes_com. A must-have sandal with an oversized 'BOW' represents the letter 'B'! http: //bit.ly/dBmA6o "
The first person to find and tweet the five hidden Twitter updates won a free pair of shoes.
- Follow Twitterís rules
Twitter has several rules for running contests on its network. Here are the highlights (see Useful Links below for more information):
o Make a rule forbidding the creation of multiple Twitter accounts to increase the chances of winning the contest
o Discourage contestants from tweeting the same update over and over
o Ask contestants to add an @reply to you in their contest-related updates
o Ask contestants to only use relevant #hashtags in their updates
Make sure to follow these rules to avoid jeopardizing your teamís account and the accounts of your followers. Step #3. Build anticipation
The team planned to hold the contest on a Friday. On the preceding Wednesday, they promoted it to Twitter followers with messages such as:
- "So we're going to have some fun on Friday...We're going to play a new game called Twitter Bingo! Stay tuned, a Free Pair could be yours!"
- "Don't forget to join us for #twitterbingo tomorrow! A free pair of beautiful new shoes could be all yours if you play!"
The team also sent an update mentioning the contest to its Facebook followers on the day of the event and when the event concluded.Step #4. Explain contest rules in tweets
The team explained the entire contest through its Twitter feed. On the day of the event, it tweeted several times asking for people to register by replying with the message:
The team set the registration deadline at 1:45 p.m. EST. After registration closed, the team explained the rules (see creative samples below). Here are the highlights:
- Single product category page
Rather than asking followers to scour the entire Super Shoes website, the team sent a link to a single page that listed more than 100 pairs of womenís sandals. They focused the contest on one category page to raise awareness about its new seasonal footwear and to avoid making the contest too cumbersome.
- Drag-and-share basics
The team succinctly explained:
o How the drag sharing tool worked
o That theyíd hidden the letters of "bingo" in the default messages
o That the first person to find all five hidden letters would win a free pair of shoes
The process took roughly five tweets. But the contestís features and rules could be explained on a webpage if you wanted to use fewer tweets. Step #5. Launch and monitor
The contest opened as the team finished explaining the rules. Team members tweeted hints about which products contained the hidden letters. For example:
o "Hint for Letter "I": Find this INVITING thong for it contains the secret Tweet for Letter "I"! Drag and Share the secret tweet!"
The team included the hashtag #twitterbingo with every product description that contained a hidden letter. Hashtags are marked by the pound sign, "#," and are used to organize tweets into topics. This helped the team track contestants' progress using Twitterís search feature and TweetDeck, a free Twitter management tool (see links below).Step #6. Announce and notify winner
The winner tweeted the five hidden messages in fewer than 20 minutes -- much quicker than the team anticipated. The team announced the winner publicly to close the contest, and privately messaged the winner to request their desired pair of free shoes and shipping address.
"We thought it would take about an hour, but people caught on to it so [quickly]," Masbenden says.
"The campaign went really, really well. Basically, it exceeded our expectations," Malsbenden says. "I was a little worried that it might be somewhat complicated, but it wasnít. Our followers who participated figured it out right away."
The campaign generated:
o 15% more product page views per visit for the day, lifting its target metric
o 152,000 impressions for tweets mentioning "super shoes bingo." The team calculated impressions by multiplying the number of tweets a person sent by their number of followers
o 82,000 impressions for tweets with links back to the teamís website
o 83% increase in site traffic from Twitter during the day of the event
"I did not think our tweets mentioning us would reach that many people in that short of time."
- Huge sales lift
The team ran the event on Friday, and sales from the day of the contest through the following Tuesday increased 150%.
"I donít attribute all of this increase to the Twitter event," Malsbenden says. "Itís just seems too good to be true to me...but I know that it was a part of it."
Other factors contributing to the lift include the improving weather and that Mother's Day was just nine days away.
- Apply lessons to flagship site
The team is designing an overhaul of its flagship site, Shoeline.com, and plans to add the drag-and-share functionality and the Twitter Bingo strategy to the launch.Useful links related to this articleCreative Samples from Super Shoesí Twitter bingo campaign
Members Library -- Twitter ĎTeaserí Campaign Supports One-Day Sale: 5 Steps to a 4% Conversion from Tweets
Members Library -- How to Use Twitter to Push Your Products: Lessons from WootGuidelines for Contests on TwitterTweetDeckRadian6
: Tool used for post-campaign analysisSuper Shoes Twitter FeedSuper Shoes FacebookShoeline.comSuper Shoes