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September 30, 2014
Case Study

Email Marketing: Pinterest-focused email campaign draws a 124% increase in social sharing

SUMMARY: With a roster of conversion-focused email campaigns, the marketing team at True Citrus decided to build two campaigns based around social media sharing.

By creating a campaign focused on Pinterest content, followed by another campaign that rewarded subscribers for sharing content, True Citrus created a campaign that resulted in 4,000% more shares than any other effort and increased its overall social sharing by 124%.
by Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content

CHALLENGE

Lindsey Paolucci, Digital Marketing Manager, True Citrus, has been with the company, composed of around 25 employees, has had to be nimble in her marketing strategies.

"The marketing department really consists of me and my boss, the VP of Marketing and Customer Relations, Heidi Carney. That's it. It's just us," she said.

As a small company, Paolucci's team has a marketing budget equal to the size of its team, which means a focus on social media inbound tactics and email marketing is crucial. Digital advertising dollars are scarce, she added, and the focus is on trying to increase brand awareness.

"When you’re a small business and you’re trying to get your name out there, a small marketing budget can sometimes be a struggle, especially when you're going up against bigger brands in the category that have tons of marketing dollars," she said.

True Citrus is active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, with Facebook emerging as one of the top vehicles for traffic directed to the True Citrus website, truelemon.com.

Paolucci said it's been harder in recent years to reach fans on Facebook without spending advertising dollars, and because of that, "we actually saw a decline in organic traffic to our website, looking at our Google Analytics report."

However, after noticing that decline, the team also saw a big increase in traffic coming to the site from Pinterest.

"In an effort to capitalize on these findings, we decided to create an email campaign that would be solely content driven and optimized for Pinterest," Paolucci said.

They turned their focus to content sharing.

CAMPAIGN

True Citrus already had quite a few automated and segmented campaigns in place, including:
  • A welcome series

  • A first-time buyers series

  • An anniversary campaign

  • A re-engagement series

  • A recipe newsletter

  • A promotion-driven email campaign (Shop True) for products sold on the online store

Once these staple campaigns were established, the team wanted to start a weekly email campaign that was purely focused on content — specifically images, quotes and other inspirational content that would appeal to True Citrus's growing Pinterest audience, called "Packetful of Happy."

The team also integrated a social sharing email campaign designed to reward customers for social sharing.

Step #1. Create a Pinterest content campaign

Paolucci wanted to respond to the social media inclinations of True Citrus customers, so "'Packetful of Happy' was born," she said.

The goal of "Packetful of Happy" was to stimulate social sharing account-wide while really focusing on Pinterest, which had proven to be a better driver of traffic to the True Citrus website versus Facebook or other social sites.

The email went out to subscribers every Friday and, "simply includes a large, inspirational photo. It's typically a photo with a quote on it, and then a 'Pin it' button below," she said.

The objective of the email is to make it easier for people to see the content and quickly pin it to their Pinterest boards, Paolucci added.

At the bottom of the quote or photo is a small blurb of copy, usually pertaining to a special offer or announcement.

"The image [is] most important, copy secondary. We really wanted this campaign to be a takeaway for our customers and something to give back to them, versus us pushing products on them. So [it's] just something to brighten up their week," she said.

The most important thing about the "Packetful of Happy" campaign, in addition to stimulating social sharing in brand accounts, was that "True Citrus as a brand in itself, we really strive to encourage our customers to live their truest, fullest, healthiest life," Paolucci said.

Having this pin-able content based around inspirational messaging and quotes that "subscribers can look forward to opening and seeing on a weekly basis really became a crucial piece of this campaign, in addition to it being easy enough for them to pin that content and stimulate that social sharing account-wide," she added.

Step #2. Integrate social sharing into other email campaigns

Aside from "Packetful of Happy," all of True Citrus’s emails contain links to the company's social sites. Some of the campaigns even encourage customers to share a photo of them using the products on Facebook or Instagram and then tag the company in the image.

"We have a section on our 'Shop True' email campaign that shows what our fans have been 'Gramming,’ and we take a few posts from our customers per month to include in that, just so other customers can see how other fans are using True Citrus products," Paolucci said.

In another campaign series, True Citrus sends out a special coupon code for a percentage off their next online order to customers who shared a photo of True Citrus products on Instagram or Facebook.

Step #3. Reward social sharing

With "Packetful of Happy" doing so well for True Citrus, "with regard to helping us ramp up sharing of our content on Pinterest, we actually decided that not only did we want to give our customers more content to share, but we also wanted to reward and thank them for actually doing the sharing," Paolucci said.

About a year after the launch of "Packetful of Happy," the team decided to launch a three-part social sharing series. The campaign was automated based on the amount of times a customer clicked through to share content.

"It basically incentivizes our customers to share our content," she said.

The first email is sent to customers who had shared True Citrus content at least three times with their network. It thanks them for spreading the word about a True Citrus product and for being a loyal customer, "and provides them with a super-fan 'social super-fan' badge, which was very pin-able. It had a 'Pin this' icon under it," Paolucci said.

The copy of the first email reads:
"Hi There! We've noticed you've been sharing our content with your social networks, and we just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate it. As a small, growing company, word-of-mouth is definitely the best form of advertising for us, and we're so grateful to have loyal customers like you who spread the word about True Citrus products with your friends and family. Thank you!"

Subscribers would receive a second email if they shared content two more times, for a total of five shares. This send included a limited-time offer for 25% off their next online order.

Lastly, the third email acted as a friendly reminder to use the limited-time offer and encouraged fans to continue sharing.

"The reasoning behind doing a three-piece automated campaign is to keep our customers engaged. We didn't want to just stop after saying, 'Thanks for sharing our content.' We wanted to encourage them to share more," she said.

Paolucci added that, in the future, the series will continue to evolve as social media does — for instance, the badge offered in the initial email.

"It was really launched around this whole Foursquare craze where you could earn badges for how many places you'd been to and unlocked. Specifically the badge, we're thinking it may not really be pin-worthy to our customers," she added.

RESULTS

"Packetful of Happy" was an entirely new campaign for True Citrus, with a list count of zero upon launch until they added it to its opt-in form. Since the campaign’s launch in June 2012, the list has grown to 5,606 subscribers organically. “We’re really excited about this,” Paolucci said.

Social sharing behavior within the "Packetful of Happy" campaign also occurs at a 4,000% higher rate than any other campaign it has running in its account. Since the campaign's launch, True Citrus has more than doubled sharing behavior within its account, ultimately increasing the likelihood that customers will share its emails with their friends and family.

"We are a very small company. We have a small marketing budget. Word-of-mouth is really important to us, so when our customers share our content with their friends and family on social media, we're very appreciative of that," Paolucci said.

Twelve months after the launch of the "Packetful of Happy" and social-sharing campaigns, the True Citrus email program has seen a 124% increase in sharing within its network.

Data "doesn't lie," Paolucci said, and it's important for marketers to take the time to continually review email account stats and their Google Analytics to determine which social platforms and specific content are working most efficiently and effectively for them.

"Customers are using Pinterest and pinning this content. For them, you're able to tailor a campaign and the content within them, and the strategy toward just those customers specifically … So definitely, the big picture takeaway is just making sure you're continually looking at your data," Paolucci concluded.

Creative Samples

  1. Packetful of Happy send

  2. First Social Sharing send

  3. Second Social Sharing send

  4. Third Social Sharing send

Source

True Citrus

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