Email + Social Marketer Spotlight: A Look at Pier 1 Imports
By Stephanie Colleton
This month we wanted to feature one retail marketer who’s embracing social and integrating it with their email program. In January, Pier 1 Imports sent an email campaign dedicated to promoting their new daily deal on Facebook.
One knock on this campaign is that it was not optimized for preview pane viewing or for viewing with images suppressed. The offer and call to action are at the bottom of the creative and can’t be seen at all when images are suppressed.
Then in February, they sent another email campaign focused on social. This time the email promoted a fan appreciation week.
They also consistently promoted Fan Appreciation Week in their Facebook posts by using a teaser, an announcement and a reminder and tied the campaign to Valentine’s Day and how much Pier 1 loves its fans.
As far as driving followers it seems to be working. In January Pier 1 had 332,872 followers, in February they had 400,000 and now they have 444,000. Their posts also drive a good deal activity when they ask people about their plans or opinions (after all, Facebook is in good part about talking about oneself):
All in all, Pier 1 Imports appears to have mapped out a clear strategy for social media that includes leveraging the power of their email subscriber base.
However, what about a little reciprocation? Social can be used to drive email subscriptions. We didn’t note any mention of email on Pier 1 Import’s Facebook page or in their posts. At the end of the day, email is still a marketing workhorse with strong and measurable ROI. So brands should make sure that their social strategy includes givin’ some love to email.
For Facebook in particular, marketers will need to tweak their integration efforts this month. Last week Facebook rolled out their new Timeline profile format for brands. Companies have until March 30 to create their Timeline page. After that, their page will be automatically converted. Gone is the default landing tab. Also gone are the other tabs on which some marketers included links to sign-up for email. Timeline has an About section, but that is not likely to generate many subscriptions.
The real power comes by mentioning your email program in your Facebook posts. Most people who “Like” a brand never go back to the brand’s page. They see your posts in their own feed. So while your social media team will need to ensure your Timeline page looks good, the effectiveness of Facebook still lies in your content strategy.
Plan to include posts that feature a call to sign-up for your email program and consider offering an incentive. You can also post a link to read your latest newsletter and make sure the newsletter web page includes an email sign-up. Make sure a post featuring email in some way is a regular part of the social calendar.
Stephanie Colleton is director, response consulting at email-certification, security and reputation-monitoring-services firm Return Path.