Apr 22, 2010

Using Facebook to Keep the Conversation Going

This isn’t exactly ground-breaking research in the world of social media or anything, but I just did a quick Facebook experiment that I thought I’d share.

It’s quick and easy, and doesn’t require a huge fan base…

Today I had to send this email to about 3k customers telling them that we dropped their monthly plan prices by creating a new pricing tier. Yes, dropped. It’s not often you get those kinda notices (or that I’d agree to give up that sweet, sweet monthly revenue), so we hoped people might want to tell their friends on twitter or something.

At first, I thought I’d add our social-sharing icons to the email. You’ve seen these SWYN icons, right? They’re supposed to be replacing those old "forward-to-friend" links?

sharing-icons

But I didn’t think this would get many shares or mentions. Personally, I’d love saving money, but wouldn’t exactly tell my friends.

We could’ve just asked people to tweet about it, but that’s a bit too salesy for me, and not really appropriate for this specific occasion.

I also considered using our twitter email template, which showcases our twitter profile, recent tweets, faves, etc. While that template is great for socialites who want to share a weekly summary of updates or faves with their loyal followers, it was overkill for my quick little message.

So in the end, I decided against twitter.

Instead, I used Facebook:

ps-hop-on-facebook

As you can see, I just added a simple text link to the P.S. at the bottom of my email, asking customers to visit our Facebook fan page and tell us what they’re gonna spend their $15 on.

No fancy facebook_icon-15 icon, and no requests to share anything. It’s basically just an old-fashioned invitation to reply (but on Facebook instead of via email), and continue the conversation with us.

I’m so glad I took this approach, because here’s the response so far:

Instead of asking for an email reply, we asked people to talk on Facebook.

Instead of asking for an email reply, we asked people to talk to us on Facebook about how they'll spend the money they saved.

Here are all the ways this is cool:

1. We also published a press release about our price drop at 8am this morning, and got no response from it. Well, we got one tweet (and even then, it was just a bot). Granted, press releases aren’t really directed at our customers. But when we sent our email, we got instant response on Facebook.

2. It’s spilling over onto twitter, too.

3. Normally, I’d get replies to my newsletters in my inbox, and it’s great fun replying back to our customers and getting to know them. With facebook, I also get — well, faces. And I love seeing faces.

4. The conversation started as "one to many" when I sent the email. When each customer replied back, it was "one to one." But now that it’s on Facebook, it’s turning into a "many to many" conversation, where I get to know our customers, and our customers get to know each other.

By using our Facebook page, our customers have an opportunity to share what their businesses are all about with each other. Now that’s something to tell a friend about.

Results of campaign

Here are the results from the day after:

Open and click rates above my list (and industry) averages

Open and click rates above my list (and industry) averages

I was pleased with the clicks and opens we got from this campaign, especially when you consider the subject of the email was "Price drop."

My initial subject line idea was going to be: "Price Reduction On Your MailChimp Account."

But I was afraid my content and subject line would get flagged by some spam filters, and even worse, I just thought people would ignore subject lines about "lower prices." I get emails like that all the time, and I throw them away.

So I checked our subject line suggester to see what others have used, and what kind of results they got:

Using the subject line suggester

Using the subject line suggester

Sheesh. The phrase, "Reduced Price" performs horribly! But then again, so does just about anything with the word price.

Gulp. I decided to just go with "Price Change For Your MailChimp Account."

And juuust to make sure that wouldn’t cause problems, I ran it through our Delivery Doctor tool

In the end, it all worked out well.

Here’s the clickmap showing where recipients interacted the most:

Clickmap report from the price-drop campaign

Clickmap report from the price-drop campaign