National Geographic Society deploys e-mail campaign encouraging Facebook 'likes'

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The National Geographic Society will launch an e-mail marketing campaign this month, incorporating a Facebook “like” button, to support its feature documentary Restrepo. The nonprofit worked with marketing firm Epsilon on the campaign, which will launch by next week.

The group's goal is to encourage consumers to discuss the film on the social networking platform and to urge them to see it when it hits theaters in their markets.

Restrepo is a documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of US soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.

Marc Haseltine, manager of e-mail marketing at the National Geographic Society, said in-theater attendance is reliant upon “grassroots appeals,” as the company doesn't have a big budget for advertising.

The Facebook “like” button will allow consumers to virtually support the film directly from the e-mail, as opposed to driving recipients to the fan page, he said.

“[It's about] getting people in one channel and then getting them involved in the community,” said Haseltine.

This is the second Facebook-connected e-mail marketing campaign the National Geographic Society has launched in the past week. It rolled out an e-mail marketing campaign August 12 incorporating the comments of Facebook users who saw the film and posted messages on its fan page.

“We're trying to draw attention to the Facebook page of the movie, which seems to have taken on a life of its own. It has a very engaged fan base,” said Haseltine. “[Our] posts generate a lot of comments and a lot of ‘likes' in proportion to the size of the audience of the film.”

To measure the campaign, the National Geographic Society will measure click-through rates and monitor the number of consumers who “fan” the page on Facebook.

“We want to see if we're getting spikes on the days when we promote the Facebook page,” Haseltine added.

Restrepo, which debuted in June, will appear in theaters on a rolling basis through the end of October. This week, it will show in Tempe, AZ, Savannah, GA and Boulder, CO.

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