While opt-in e-mail marketing campaigns have proven their effectiveness time and time again, companies are now realising that in order to maximise online exposure, drive sales and maintain or enhance customer service, it's beneficial - if not vital - to combine e-mail communications with social media marketing. With this in mind, it's no surprise that Robertson Winery sought the expertise of Digital Fire - a Cape Town based e-mail marketing specialist and division of London's Spencer Boyd New Media Group.
Robertson Winery's main objectives were to grow their database, develop brand awareness and stimulate customer interaction and feedback - all of which was achieved through an optimised social media strategy led by Digital Fire. Utilizing their profiled opt-in database, Digital Fire enabled Robertson Winery to entice high LSM wine enthusiasts into joining their new Facebook page via a bulk (permission-based) email which, in turn, allowed them to engage in building a Robertson Winery "community" in which they could interact with each other, and proponents of the brand itself.
This process was achieved through generous offerings of exciting incentives including, for example, a complimentary weekend away to the exquisite Wine on the River Festival. All customers were required to do was "Like" Robertson Winery's Facebook page, pick someone to accompany them to the event, and get that 'someone' to participate in the process by simply "liking" the post.
And while reward-based social media marketing efforts are indeed an effective means to gain new customers, it's equally important to keep customers motivated, entertained, and involved. As in the case of Robertson Winery, this has been accomplished through frequent postings of "Did you know" type comments, along with regular updates as to what the winery is up to, as well as general posts that promote a sense of goodwill - all of which, through Digital Fire's direction, helped Robertson Winery reach a 2072-strong Facebook fan base within little more than a month!
But the impact of email marketing on social media doesn't end there. Depending on the semiotics, tone and atmosphere that characterises a social media marketing structure - which is essentially shaped and moulded by all participants within the communication process - as well as the nature of the product itself, the spin-offs of social media marketing may progress into something completely profound and unexpected. This was clearly demonstrated when two customers enjoyed a virtual glass of Robertson Shiraz on Robertson's Facebook page. Not only did this rouse interest, since they carried out their virtual meeting in real time, it also led to the one customer - who happens to write for Food24 (Media24) - to write an article about her virtual wine appreciation get-together; which, in essence, translated into additional brand exposure over and above the original social media marketing campaign, as well as increased hits for Robertson Winery's website.
That said; it's evident that the act of simply feeding a target market with marketing material is no longer enough to win over new customers, let alone keep them. Indeed, conventional forms of media have their place in increasing brand awareness, but in order to achieve noteworthy success in terms of deepening customer relationships and developing a following, a more dynamic approach is required; one that does not regard the customer as a passive recipient of information, but rather an active contributor to the actual marketing process.
This is Digital Fire's mantra, the driving force behind each of its tailor-made digital marketing campaigns. And whether you believe it or not, by neglecting to embrace it you will inevitably find yourself alone, encaged in a glass box from which you will watch your competitors rise above you, along with your customers, and your profits.