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Is Online Chatter Predicting The Success (Or Failure) Of Your Email Campaigns?

Here's an article I wrote for MediaPost:

I recently read a statistic in the Harvard Business Review that researchers who invested in brands based on online reviews did 7.9% better than the S&P 500 index. After studying four years’ worth of product reviews of 15 brands -- almost 350,000 reviews -- they found there were two major predictors of performance: one was the sheer volume of reviews and the other was negative chatter.

This got me wondering: Do marketers see email performance spikes or dives based on reviews and chatter over time?

The hypothesis here is that in some trailing period of time following negative reviews, email engagement will slump -- and then recover. Proving or disproving this statement could affect when you send your campaigns, the content you deliver and how you position it. The great thing is that reviews and comments live on online, so tomorrow, you can go back and take a historic look to leverage as a future predictor.

If you want to answer this question for yourself, there are two different kinds of data you need to get your hands on:

Reviews and comments
Start with the preceding quarter and gather all comments posted on your site via ratings and reviews, on your Facebook page or in your Twitter feed -- including the dates. You will clearly need more detail to develop a definitive pattern, but it is better to start small and increase the investment in the effort based on what you are seeing.

Email metrics
Get your hands on the engagement metrics for all of the email sent during the same period of time, including opens, clicks and conversions, to see if the comments affect different engagement elements differently.

Once you have the data, sort the feedback by day and attribute a count of comments per day as well as the dominating sentiment (positive or negative) and plot it against your email engagement metrics. Do you see a correlation? If you do see a marked drop in engagement following negative reviews, how might you address it with your program?

· Option 1: Track ratings, reviews and online comments as part of determining sending patterns. If you had a spike in negative feedback on a specific day, you may want to forgo sending standard, promotional communications in the immediate days following.

· Option 2: Have you seen spikes in performance when largely positive reviews or comments are obvious? Bask in it. Send messaging that may complement the focus of the positive sentiment, including some of those positive comments.

· Option 3: You see no correlation with online comments about your brand .Currently there is no concrete evidence that there is or isn't -- but it certainly is a curious proposition.

Realistically, a spike in reviews or online chatter is likely tied to other efforts supporting your brand, possibly a product launch, financial reporting, industry buzz, take your pick. But given the weight being put on peer reviews and legitimate customer feedback, it’s worth a little number-crunching to see if you can increase the performance of your program by 7.9% over the S&P 500, right?

Posted by: Kara Trivunovic at 7:00 AM
Categories: email, email marketing, campaigns

CSN Stores Generates 3X Lift in Email Referral Program Performance with StrongView Influencer

StrongView announced a new case study with CSN Stores this week that showcases an overhaul of their existing customer referral program. CSN Stores believed that its existing email-based referral program wasn't living up to its potential or making it easy enough for these customers to spread the word about CSN Stores. As a result, CSN Stores turned to StrongView to create a new referral program that leveraged StrongView Influencer and our strategic services team to spread the word about its CSN Rewards loyalty program and inspire people to shop with CSN.

Working with StrongView, CSN Stores developed a StrongView Influencer campaign that incentivized current Rewards members with a credit to their Rewards account for each friend that enrolled in the program and made a subsequent purchase. Additionally, referred friends were also rewarded with a credit for extending the offer to their networks. CSN Stores then launched the StrongView Influencer campaign via email to its Reward members and also featured it in the weekly CSN Recommends email newsletter.

Read the Full Case Study >>

Not only did the StrongView Influencer-powered referral campaign increase reward program sign-ups by a factor of three, it significantly expanded its reach beyond CSN's existing customer base. For every 1.8 customers from the initial mailing who shared the email, one new CSN Rewards account was created, and one in ten of those new members went on to complete a purchase.

This is a powerful example of what's possible when you leverage the natural synergies of email marketing and social media to acquire new customers. If your current referral campaigns aren't leveraging social media, you should consider refreshing them to boost program performance.

Posted by: Kristin Hersant at 4:25 PM
Categories: Influencer, new customer acquisition, referral campaigns, social media, socialized email marketing