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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How text messages brought hungry patrons to the doors of a 16-store Subway franchise in upstate New York.

Considering that Subway is one of the most successful fast food franchises in the world, operating in over 100 countries with 10,109 stores, it might seem a little unnecessary to go the extra mile with mobile marketing to bring even more attention to the brand.  However, any Subway franchise owner will tell you that getting hungry customers through the doors still requires a smart approach to marketing and great promotions. But a 16-store Subway franchise in the Buffalo/Rochester area of New York learned some hard lessons along the way before turning things around with a wildly successful SMS campaign.

The Need for Change

Of course, no good case study starts with what went right. Instead, we need to look at where the franchise came up short to really create a solid comparison. In this case, the problem begins with direct mail marketing. Under this system, the Subway storeowners spent loads of money on physical promotions that shipped out to customers in the area. The results for this direct mail plan? A 1 percent redemption rate. Needless to say, those kind of results just weren’t good enough, so the franchise owners made the move to a more forward thinking digital approach.

A Smart Plan of Attack

So how exactly did this SMS campaign unfold? To start, the restaurant owners promoted the upcoming text message initiative via more traditional outlets, like radio, TV, and local print ads. With these advertisements leading the way, customers soon started opting-in and sending a text to a shortcode number. By doing this, the “My Subway Mobile” campaign set the foundation for constant communications with potential customers via special offers and updates on products and pricing. However, to really get the biggest bang for their buck out of this marketing push, the franchise owners needed to throw in a little extra something for the customers.

Building Better Results with Extras and Freebies

Naturally, the best way to get customers excited is with discounts and freebies. As part of this, members of the texting list received four to six messages a month, each with an enticing offer for free drinks and food with the purchase of other menu selections. To help light a little extra fire under the user base, these offers came with an expiration date in the message, leading customers to come in sooner and take advantage of these discounts in a timelier fashion.

The Final Tally

In the place of the 1 percent redemption rate generated by direct mail, the SMS campaign pushed this number up to 9 percent. In terms of customers, more than 5,000 signed up, leading to a final tally of 13,000 messages sent. To put it plainly, it’d be hard to imagine the owners of these 16 upstate New York stores ever going back to dated and inefficient alternatives, like direct mail marketing, after experiencing the success that comes with a smart and well-planned SMS campaign.

Can You Use This Approach?

To get the same kind of results, you’ll need an audience that will respond to similar techniques and methods. The main points that come from Subway’s approach focus on connecting via the right channel, offering the right discounts and promotions, and making sure you give the customers an incentive for acting fast. In this case, text messaging, free menu items with appropriate purchases, and expiration dates all fit the bill respectively. With these tools in hand, your company can take a marketing path that offers a positive uptick in exposure and real results in your digital or physical store.

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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How text messages brought Peta2′s “Animals Don’t Smoke” campaign to the Vans Warped Tour.

Even if you prefer Frank Sinatra or Johnny Cash and can’t stand the latest punk and rock bands on your local airwaves, it’s hard to ignore the Vans Warped Tour and how it’s become one of the defining events in the modern music scene. With a combined 500,000 tickets sold in 2013, any marketer would be more than happy have a message that reaches this massive audience from stop to stop. The unfortunate truth is that most people showed up to the tour for the music and sports, not to listen to sales pitches. However, Peta2, the youth movement associated with animal rights activists PETA, broke through last year and showed us all how powerful SMS marketing at the Warped Tour, and other music events, can be if you pull it off right.

The Message behind the Campaign

So what exactly was Peta2 trying to promote? Like most of the issues covered by this organization, the focus was on the fair treatment of animals. The campaign, known as “Animals Don’t Smoke,” took up the issue of cigarette testing on animals by tobacco companies and how this practice constitutes animal cruelty. Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on when it comes to animal rights issues, the message behind the campaign is a key part of understanding Peta2′s process. It also showed that the organization believed a more youthful, active audience, like the guys and girls dancing in the mosh pit, was highly likely to resonate with this message. As we’ll see later, Peta2 was right on the money with this choice.

The Basic Premise

As the tour got under way, Peta2 hit all the major stops on the east coast of the U.S. At each event, banners, a booth in the merchandise section, and members of the Peta2 ground team worked the crowd, getting interested concertgoers to text “BUTT” to 73822. After doing this, two things happened. First, the newly acquired SMS list member sent a message to the FDA asking the organization to put a ban on this type of testing. Next, these same individuals received a follow up message entering them into a giveaway that included buttons, sunglasses, and bags. The last part showed that the organizers at Peta2 understand a key truth in the marketing world – people of all walks of life can’t resist free stuff.

Taking It a Step Farther

However, Peta2 didn’t just call it a good day after each concert event. Instead, they continued to push the overall campaign with some eye-popping visuals and infographics, as well as regular updates via text message to the new contact list members. When coupled with the face-to-face interaction found around the Warped Tour and at the booth where participants picked up their goodie bags, these tools added an extra boost to the already powerful campaign and kept the message rolling long after the bands hit the road for the next tour stop.

Big Time Results

By the time the East Coast tour stops came to an end, Peta2 had added an extra 25,000 members to its mobile campaign. Considering that these numbers only reflect the concertgoers that interacted with Peta2 members or saw the organization’s banners, and not the people who checked out the website later or told their friends after entering themselves, that figure becomes even more amazing. With that kind of perspective, it doesn’t take a marketing genius to label this one as a major SMS success.

What’s It Mean for Your Brand

Even if your message doesn’t spark a debate as heated as Peta2′s, there is still plenty you can take from wrapping all of the lessons of this case study up into a few key points. First, picking the right audience, and finding the right way to interact with them, be it in person or across a virtual channel, is your biggest asset. From here, having a fun gimmick, like freebies and giveaways, goes a long way. After this, keeping the good vibes rolling and your message on the consumer’s mind requires updates and a continued push for the overarching theme of the campaign. If you can hit all of these targets, you may just find your own brand standing in the limelight of a mobile marketing success case study one day.

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When it comes to email marketing, a security breach like the one that recently hit Yahoo isn’t just an interesting piece of news — it’s a seismic event that sends ripples throughout the industry and leaves everyone, especially those who use Yahoo’s services, wondering what happens next. The bottom line? These types of cyber-attacks aren’t going away any time soon.

Security attacks are unfortunately becoming a more regular occurrence,” said Jay Rossiter, Yahoo’s senior vice president for platforms and personalization products.

What Happened?

On Jan. 30, 2014, Yahoo announced that hackers, from an undisclosed third-party source, used stolen passwords to break into numerous accounts and steal private information related to recently sent and received emails as well as contact lists. While the execs at Yahoo didn’t give a number for how many accounts faced this issue, it’s probably safe to assume that a significant amount of users were affected, otherwise it wouldn’t have turned into a major news story. (Some estimates put the number of computers affected by the attacks at up to 2 million.)

How Did the Hackers Get User Information?

So how did the hackers break in? It looks like all of this started with breaches on other platforms. Basically, the hackers compromised accounts on other sites, like Netflix and Facebook, and used the login information from these sources to then kick down the doors of users’ private Yahoo inboxes. The worst part about all of this is that if these reports truly outline how the security breach happened, it could have easily been avoided by using one of the most basic Internet security tips in the book – don’t use the same password twice. This concept fits into pretty much every blog or article on basic web security, but the invasion of private Yahoo accounts just drives home the point that some of us simply don’t listen.

Yahoo’s Response to the Breach

Considering that the breach might not have even come from a security lapse or breakdown of Yahoo’s technology, there wasn’t actually much that the Internet giant could do for those who were compromised, outside of ask them politely to change their passwords. Aside from that, the company has also discussed implementing additional layers of verification to the login process. Unfortunately, for the Yahoo execs and administrators, this probably won’t do much to deter the remaining portion of the user base that still thinks having a single-step login is a good idea.

Are You at Risk?

The short answer to this question is yes – if you use Yahoo for your email services. If your account was one of the many that was compromised, then you’ve probably already heard from Yahoo. However, simply interacting with others who fall into this category could lead to an indirect association with the attack. Essentially, by being on the contact list or recently having an email chat with an affected user, your email address and any other personal info stored in the contact list could be compromised. However, you should be okay as long as you avoid opening any suspicious emails and incorporate strong, and different, passwords across your various web accounts.

Yahoo’s Image Moving Forward

Now, Yahoo’s brand is left with a little mud on its face. If the claims of a third-party network intrusion are true, then the focus could shift to the security habits of this undisclosed company, or companies, and how they let user information fall into the hands of hackers and malicious programs.

Lasting Effects for the Email Industry

For those who work in the email marketing industry, as well as people who simply enjoy using email to connect with others, these types of events can really create some serious backlash. Consumers never want to lose control of their private information, and when it happens, you can expect them to tighten up on whom they communicate with and how these communications occur. That being said, if you already have an established contact list that knows and trusts your brand, you should be good to go. It’s the new customers who might be a little hesitant, but that’s only to be expected. With a little time, patience, and a continued focus on high quality email marketing content, your campaign can weather this storm and keep right on moving past any potential pitfalls along the way.

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At Elite Email we love helping people. It’s basically our passion.

But, every little while we get to do something that goes above and beyond what we even hoped to achieve.

This leads me to an amazing story about the Village of Brookville in New York.

[You can read the full press release here.]

When Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeastern United States, it left the town without power, phone and internet. There was no way for the town leadership to communicate to residents at all….well, except for Elite Email, of course!

With an intermittent internet connection, the town leadership was able to connect to their Elite Email account to send out important updates to residents and officials about what was going on. It really helped that Elite Email is cloud-based because even without accesses to their offices, all they needed was any computer with an internet connection and they were all set to send out their newsletter.

Here is the exact quote from Winsome Citarella, the Clerk Treasurer:

Elite Email was a life saver for our Village during this recent crisis. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Village of Brookville lost power, phone and internet services leaving us completely out of touch with our residents and officials. Since I was not able to access my usual software to communicate I was saved by my Elite Email account. I was able to access your site from where ever I was able to get internet however intermittently and was able to send out important notifications to the residents which was extremely helpful to all of us. So thanks for providing a great service.

We know the town residents really appreciated these timely and critical newsletters because we were forwarded replies like this:

“The residents of our village are indeed very fortunate to have you as our Mayor. The endless hours you spent in contact with LIPA, personally traveling every street in the village and relaying information to us was truly outstanding.  We appreciate your daily updates and subsequent twice daily emails.”

“Thank you for the valuable update report.”

“Thank you very much for these updates. We are sincerely thankful for all of your hard work and all the Village has done. “

“Thank you so much for all your efforts – for the hours that went into planning and preparation, and for the excellent follow through.  
Your email communication has been invaluable and is much appreciated.
The entire community is in your debt .”

“Hi – I love these emails! Thank you for the daily update. “

“You are a wonderful leader for all of us.  Your emails are reassuring and help us to know that we are being well represented. “

“Just wanted to say thanks for all the hard work and keeping us informed.”

“Thank you for the frequent updates.  Although the news is never great, it’s better than being kept “in the dark”, sorry about the bad pun!  I really appreciate all that you guys are doing! “

WOW, are we glad to have helped make a difference in any way at all!

Remember, there are still many people in need, so please donate to the Red Cross.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin