Blink: They Won’t Miss This Offer

I admit it. I’m average. When it comes to Internet shopping, I shop about as much as the next person, I save online offers like others, until my inbox is overwhelmed with discounts, coupons, and notices of special deals.

It isn’t unusual for me to file an email, intending to retrieve it later. By the time I’m finally ready to look at it, it’s either lost or the offer has expired.

That’s why I was intrigued, from both a consumer and a marketer perspective, when I first heard about CyberDrawer. CyberDrawer is a program that allows users to file offers and easily view them later. As a tool for marketers, it helps increase click-through and conversion rates. If you don’t grab the consumer the first time around, you may get them the second time.

That’s the theory. It’s working in practice, at least as far as today’s case study illustrates.

Blink is an online rewards program. Consumers sign up, then can win cash and gift certificates and get paid for discovering and using new sites. They can also save sites’ URLs into a personal directory they can retrieve from any computer. Blink started as an online bookmark site, so it was no surprise to discover the company would see value in a tool such as CyberDrawer.

Last summer, Blink ran a campaign featuring partner Eddie Bauer. The offer, mailed in late August, announced a clothing sale. The test mailing was split into two groups. One group received the standard announcement, an HTML mailing telling users they would receive Blink points for taking advantage of the Eddie Bauer offer. The second group was the CyberDrawer test cell. This offer was identical to the first except that it included a small, orange “save this offer” button near the top of the message.

Users who clicked the button were taken to the CyberDrawer tool, a Web page that resembles a virtual file folder. The page lists the advertiser, details of the offer, expiration date, contact info, and a delete button. The offer was filed into the folder. A user who did not already have a CyberDrawer account (almost everyone, as this was a fairly new program for nearly every recipient) was taken through a 30-second sign-up process.

A little over two weeks later, a reminder message was sent to consumers who had saved the about-to-expire offer in their CyberDrawers.

The result? The test cell outperformed the standard group by 200 percent. About three times as many recipients in the CyberDrawer test group responded to the offer than those who did not have the ability to click on CyberDrawer’s “save this offer” button.

“It makes sense,” says Eli Chalfin, Blink’s CEO. “We’re sensitive to the increasing problem of mailbox clutter. Every day, consumers get email offers that they either take advantage of immediately or they get buried. We thought this test was worth a shot.”

We don’t have numbers showing how often consumers returned to their CyberDrawers to review their offers, nor data showing exactly when recipients acted on the offer. Chris Bruno, CyberDrawer’s COO, says his company typically sees two spikes in conversions. The first happens almost immediately after the offer is mailed. The second occurs after the reminder message is received. In Blink’s Eddie Bauer test, the company saw these spikes, with the curve skewed slightly to the left.

Chalfin says Blink believes the program merits further tests. It’s currently conducting more tests with other types of products and offers. My intuition says this is the sort of program that will do well for gift certificates and other long-term offers. Just the other day, I was looking for an Amazon.com gift certificate I filed away. I never found it and ended up buying elsewhere.

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that the average consumer will shop around.

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