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Kirkland’s lead-generating loyalty-building holiday sweepstakes

Jessica Charlton, social media developer at home décor retailer Kirkland’s discusses the company’s holiday sweepstakes campaign and the role various channels play in its overall marketing strategy. The company uses ePrize’s technology to power its initiative.

Kirkland’s current campaign, the planning for which began early summer and which is live through December 25, asks people to give their email address and to create profile. In return, customers get points toward a $10,000 grand prize.

What are your business goals around this campaign?

The main objective through that was email acquisition and customer engagement.

We acquire emails and customer information through a lot of different channels, which allows us to build loyalty and communicate repeatedly. We knew the holiday would be a great time to contact our customers and get them into our communication funnel. We have a lot of customers who will only shop with us during the holiday season.

What’s your most important channel?

Our most important channel is our 300 brick-and-mortar stores. That’s where the majority of the customer interaction takes place.

Did you do anything this year that you hadn’t done in years past?

A big initiative for this year was life-cycle emails. Making sure once we acquired an email address, we immediately provided value to that customer, to make sure we were speaking with them in the right place. If they were new to the brand, we wanted to make sure we communicated with them correctly.

Going forward, we want to make sure we’re providing valuable content and we’re giving our customers the information they want from us. And on our e-commerce site we want the whole site to be social.

What made you implement this strategy?

We were finding there was an opportunity for it. We found click-through rates are high when we get the right message to the right customer. We segment based on where they entered our email list, and there are myriad other initiatives, like birthdays and other campaigns. We have a whole email team.

In your overall marketing strategy, what’s the role of email and what’s the role of social media?

We used email as a starting-off point because we could track and measure our emails very well. We got over that hurdle and we decided to make social media a place where customers could interact with our brand and products. Seasonal merchandise, we wanted to wait for customers to see that digitally.

They can also take a personality test and it gives them personal gift guides they can take into the store. It provides shopping assistance.

We love the two-way communication of social media. We’re traditionally brick-and-mortar and we’re used to communicating face-to-face and social gives us that capability.

What sort of customer information do you track?

Traffic to the e-commerce site would be a great side metric. We’re certainly tracking email and customer acquisition and coupon revenue. And the last one is sign-ups for our SMS campaign. [Customers] can text and get coupons straight to their mobile phones. All of those things play in.

Why SMS? I wasn’t aware that’s a popular channel compared to mobile browsing.

A lot of our customers don’t have smartphones. And it’s a simple, easy way for customers to be in a store and get a coupon. We did a beta a few years ago and it was really successful and we have positive feedback for our customers.

We’re in the process right now of integrating with CRM, so that will make it easier. It’s a bit of a challenge to report and track our social activity and in-store activity. We work together across departments and hopefully the CRM will make that easier.

Does SMS drive e-commerce traffic at all or is it mostly in-store?

Our SMS campaigns are store-specific. It doesn’t translate to e-commerce. But we do measure and monitor all of those things.

Did you have a significant social presence prior to your current holiday campaign?

Prior to the campaign, we had a great social presence. All through 2011 and 2012 we spent growing our social community. Investing in Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Now we want to provide valuable content in those channels and make sure those investments have paid off in the long-term.

How so?

We try to make sure across all of those channels [that] we send the right message at the right time. People on Twitter take in information differently than someone on Facebook and a lot more differently than someone on Pinterest. So on Facebook, we might make sure we have a photograph and more explanatory text. On Twitter, we make that copy easy to swallow. And on Pinterest, we use the best photography and only a little bit of verbiage.

When it comes to developing a branded social media presence, what advice do you have?

Think about your audience and develop a content calendar. So many people create the Facebook page, a Twitter page, or a Pinterset page, and find the day-to-day management is frustrating. It’s hard to answer all your customers or manage content. So create a calendar that you can repeat. Every Tuesday, we share this on Facebook.

What percentage of your sales do you think are driven from social campaigns?

It depends what we have going on. An average might be 2% coming from social, but that fluctuates depending on promotions and media. It’s going to keep growing as people move to more socialized e-commerce.

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