Golfballs.com debuts social e-mail campaign

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E-commerce firm Golfballs.com has found that social media and e-mail marketing go hand-in-hand, and is using both in its latest version of the “Coolest Pair on the Planet” campaign.

The campaign, which launched on June 1, encourages consumers to design their own golf shoes for the chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate. To get the word out about the campaign, Golfballs.com sent e-mail to its customer database. Once the submissions have been judged (at the end of the summer), Golfballs.com plans to remarket the designs back to the customers via e-mail. All of the e-mails feature a forward-to-friend and share-to-social options for the recipients.

“You trust your friend's opinions more than you trust a business's opinion, so -- leveraged properly -- social media can help anyone grow their business,” said Tom Cox, CEO of Golfballs.com.

Golfballs.com is working with e-mail service provider StrongMail Systems, which recently launched a social media platform. The firm also studied the marketplace and found that social media is a big deal with e-mail marketers, with 66% marketers planning to integrate the two channels in 2009 and 48% that have already formulated a strategy for doing so.

For Golfballs.com, integrating a social feature into the e-mail is a natural evolution of the firm's marketing programs. The firm has been running this design-your-own style social promotion since 2007, and has used various social media channels to promote it.

“Social sharing is not unlike a tell-a-friend e-mail, only instead of tell-a-friend with an e-mail address, you can click a button to share to Facebook, which has the benefit of sharing with your entire community,” Cox said. “Now that social media is on fire, we have found a shift more to sharing across the social media networks.”

The StrongMail study also found that 55% of marketers said one of their biggest challenges with integrating social media and e-mail marketing is determining metrics by which to measure success, and 48% struggle with establishing business goals for the program.

“The more commercial you make something, the less likely the share function is going to work, but the less commercial, the less likely they are to buy," Cox said. "You have to find the right balance, because our goal is to make sales, not just friends or followers.”


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