Turner South Steps Up E-Mail After Traffic Boost

Two successful e-mail campaigns have spurred television network Turner South to use the technology regularly.

“We're working to roll out an overall e-mail marketing strategy,” said Valerie Ragsdale, director of Web development for Turner South. “We're using the video to grab people's attention … [but] we will definitely give people a choice: they can get straight text, HTML or Silverpop e-mails.”

Turner South is a Turner Broadcasting System network with programming available to 5.8 million homes in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina.

In July and August, the network dropped two Silverpop e-mails of 20,000 each to promote its “WCW Classics” program. Silverpop Systems, Atlanta, provides streaming software that does not require plug-ins to view with small, 3K to 4K, files.

Turner South's 20,000 in-house names came from Ringside, a monthly e-newsletter offered via Turner South's WCW microsite: www.wcwclassics.com.

The first Ringside e-mail included a short video of wrestler Dusty Rhodes with an offer of an autographed picture. Users could click through to the site to enter the contest, which included a viral offer. The first 10 people to sign up five friends for Ringside also would receive an autographed photo of Rhodes. Once users clicked through to the site, they could view videos of fans who had impersonated Rhodes in a local contest.

“Part of why rich media e-mail is so appealing is the viral aspect: you get this cool e-mail, and the first thing you want to do is send it to your friends,” Ragsdale said.

The second e-mail promoted another WCW program, “War of the Words.” E-mails included a 15-second video clip of the show. Recipients could click through to a microsite for the program to see additional videos and take trivia quizzes.

Ragsdale declined to give click-through rates but said that the two e-mails generated about 130,000 page views of the WCW Classics site.

“The biggest indicator [of success] for us was generating site traffic,” she said. “We have been able to see an increase in traffic to TurnerSouth.com's schedule page and the microsite [WCW Classics].”

In addition, Turner South increased its opt-in e-mail list, one of its major goals.

Because of the success of its rich media efforts, Turner South will include a video clip in each monthly e-mail, but list members will have the choice of text, HTML or rich media.

“We've learned this summer not to send too much multimedia,” she said. “You can't put all the games and other [creative] in the e-mail.”

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