Dec 15, 2009

Using Twitter For Promos Without Being a D-bag, Part II

People Love Free Stuff

It’s hard for me to believe that we ever thought it would be difficult to give away 1,000 tshirts. On September 10th when we launched the promotion, all 100 shirts we made available were claimed within two and a half minutes. That’s one tshirt every 1.5 seconds. I was well aware that people love MailChimp, but it was amazing to witness in that way.


For the sake of comparison, I’ll tell you that when we announced Freemium pricing on September 1st, I recorded 425 tweets containing the term "mailchimp". On average, that’s one tweet mentioning MailChimp every 3.5 minutes, and it was the highest explicable one-day tweet volume we had seen up to that point.

tweet volume on September 1, the day we launched MailChimp's Freemium plan

A few days later on September 10th when we began giving away tshirts, I recorded 244 tweets mentioning "mailchimp". Free tshirts literally created more than half the amount of buzz as our announcement of a new pricing model. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

tweet volume on the September 10, the day we launched the 1,000 t-shirt promo


To state the obvious, it takes a lot of time and numerous pairs of opposable thumbs to pack 1,000 t-shirts. So when we started seeing tweets from people getting impatient that they hadn’t received their shirts yet, we got the whole office involved. Below, Mark from Marketing is camped out next to our catered burrito lunch. If you ended up with some inexplicable grains of rice or a few shriveled black beans in your package, just think of it as a holiday bonus!


Paul the Unicorn Intern even helped out! Even though he had zero opposable thumbs to contribute to the cause.


The real hero in all of this is our office manager April. She developed what you might call a rather special relationship with the employees at the post office down the block. Apparently they have a rarely enforced rule that you can only mail fifteen parcels at a time. And since April was a "chronic offender," she had to endure dirty looks and lots of attitude while spending hours at a time standing in line, sending her fifteen parcels, and then standing in line again. But it was all for you, dear customers!

Pro tip from Co-Founders Dan Kurzius and Ben Chestnut: "We stuck our business cards in with a some of the packages to get feedback from people."


I Wish We Had…

1. There are a few things I think we could improve on or do differently in the future. I would like to have some sort of "remaining t-shirts" counter that actually refreshed its numbers in real time as folks filled in the form. Since the tshirts were repeatedly being claimed within minutes of tweeting that they were available, I think it would have been reassuring for people who were trying to win one but weren’t having any luck.


Kind of an affirmation that yes, we really are giving away tshirts and no, this is not some kind of exercise in frustration or just a hoax. Ultimately, a counter would have added an additional element of credibility for those less familiar with the MailChimp brand.

2. Another thing that we didn’t do the first time around but implemented with our winter promo was using the Google Analytics URL builder to create custom links each time we tweeted that shirts were available.


Since the link that the Google Analytics URL Builder spits out is a long beast of a thing, I ran it through (our in-house URL shortener) to get a short, sweet, custom link that I could then tweet and track.

3. It would also have been a good idea to start collecting email addresses of people interested in hearing about tshirts and other MailChimp swag in the future. Particularly when the form was turned "off" and basically just lying dormant.


We did this for our winter promo, but I wish it was something we had implemented earlier.

MailChimp Is a Social Monkey

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