October 29, 2009
How To

Merge Email, Microsites and Social Media for Product Launch Success

SUMMARY: Finding new twists on product launches can be difficult in this day and age. Most ideas have been worn out, making it harder to cut through the clutter and create brand awareness.

See how an email and social media combo did the trick for a graphics technology vendor, and discover how they gained nearly 250,000 prospects into the sales funnel in only five weeks.
Wacom, a global marketer of digital pen tablets and displays, was looking for a thoroughly interactive way to introduce their newest product to the graphic design marketplace.

John Bistolas, Director, Marketing Communications, and his team decided to merge a series of emails with a pair of social media assets -- a microsite and a contest -- to see if the effort would create buzz within their target demographic.

"The goal was to launch the product to a large-but-fragmented audience of creative professionals and make them aware of the new offering," Bistolas says. "And, we wanted to give them some sense of everything they could accomplish with the new tool."

The three-part campaign worked better than they had hoped, exceeding expectations for a wide range of performance metrics the team had deemed important. Here are a few of the notable results from the five-week, global campaign:
o 247,664 unique visitors
o Visitors came from 175 countries
o 2.41 pages viewed per visit

Bistolas says the campaign met sales expectations, but explained that specific statistics like conversion rates or sales figures couldn’t be disclosed because Wacom is a publicly traded company. More importantly, the product has continued to sell long after the initial campaign ran earlier this year.

He adds, "We’re absolutely happy with the number of visitors. We believe we’ve received a 70% awareness of our target audience. I mean, that’s really good. Not many companies are going to achieve that kind of awareness for a new product launch."

Here is a trio of key elements that drove the effort:

Element #1. Sleek, global microsite

Bistolas and his team first set out to create a microsite that would impress the designer demo.

They were releasing what they believed to be a "next-generation product" -- the Intuos4 pen tablet, which lets designers draw and create imagery with a digital pen and tablet -- and wanted the site to live up to the claim.

- A clickable world map allowed them to select their location so they could get the most geographically pertinent information.

- Viewers could choose one of a dozen languages, including English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Dutch, as well as the most prominent Chinese and Japanese dialects.

- Visitors were greeted by an optional video that demonstrated the possible design utilities of the unit. However, product videos were tailored to English-speaking users, which make up 80% of Wacom’s market.

By focusing on English while localizing for many countries and languages, according to Bistolas, they targeted the anticipated lion’s share of visitors without dismissing the remaining 20%.

- To encourage conversions, a bottom-of-the-page navigation bar included the links, "Order Now" and "What Size is for You?"

- The team also utilized a "share this" link, allowing visitors to share the microsite with major social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

- Additionally, viewers could receive information on which version of the pen best suited their needs, and allowed them to purchase additional accessories.

Element #2. Contest

Using an incentive is always a solid strategy when trying to increase online awareness. The team ran a contest at the popular graphic design site, deviantART.com, which has more than eight million registered users in the brand’s target audience.

They offered giveaways of the Intous4 tablet, as well as cash prizes, for the best user-submitted "good vs. evil" animated stories. Copy for the contest -- dubbed "Bring Your Vision to Life" -- clearly stated that the event was open to designers from all media.

The contest gained additional attention from mentions on two other designer-focused sites, ConceptArt.org and CGSociety.org.

"More than 9,000 people entered and there were two million page views," Bistolas says. "It was a huge success."

Element #3. Three-part email campaign

Over the course of the five-week campaign, the team evenly staggered three email distributions that concentrated on driving traffic to the purchase page of the Intuos4 microsite.

The emails echoed the sleek design of the site and were cohesive with the established Wacom brand image, which involved prominent use of black and a clean, uncluttered layout.

- The first email used the subject line: "Introducing Wacom's Intuos4 tablet, Developed for Creative Professionals."

- The second and third employed the subject line: "Check Into Wacom’s Intuos4."

- Each email featured a large product image along with the headline copy, "Hello Beautiful," in large, pink type.

While the campaign was global, and the microsite was developed for a dozen languages, Bistolas and his team used their house list (80% of the send) and a purchased file that centered on the U.S., Canadian and Latin American markets.

Bistolas explains, "The emails were only sent to the U.S. audience segment because the fulfillment was done through our ecommerce engine, and we don’t ship product to Canada and Latin America."

But the emails provided the kind of direct-marketing punch for which Bistolas and his team were looking. More than 19,000 visitors came to the microsite from the email messages.

"We had really good open rates and click-through rates," he says. "I take a lot of pride that the look and feel of the campaign was so consistent across the board."

Useful links related to this article

Creative Samples from Wacom’s product launch campaign

How a Single Email Led to the Best Product Launch Ever - Test Results




eROI: managed the emails, micro-site, photography and video post-production:


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