Social Influencers and BurntToast

During a Webinar I recently led on ClickZ on the future of e-mail marketing, one of the hottest topics centered on how to identify the social influencers on your e-mail lists. I’m working with lots of experts in the industry to pull together a full whitepaper on this topic, but in the meantime I wanted to share this particularly perfect real-life example with you.

Wendy Ackland, director, BurntToast Marketing of Queensland, Australia, came up with this tip, below. After reading this, you will be inspired to look to your own list and find ways to identify your influencers. Enjoy!

    A couple of months ago we managed the event invitation process for a communications provider who was launching a new product to the local market. The event was only publicized via email invitations and all RSVPs were made online via a linked booking form/landing page off the email. The mailing list was deliberately small (426 emails) and there was an event capacity of 50 people.

    While the event went very well, when comparing the mailing list to the list of attendees it was noted that a particular subscriber who was considered a very “hot prospect” had decided not to attend and on further inspection, they’d been recorded as not even opening the email. However, they had 4 click-thrus recorded against the link to the booking form. So why had they decided not to book?

    After a little digging we managed to find the answer. The 4 clicks had come from other people both within and outside the same company who were not on the original mailing list. All four attended the event and after a period of time, all purchased multiple units of the product being launched — as did the “hot prospect.” As it turns out, the original recipient had another commitment that day so could not attend the launch, but identified others who they felt would benefit and passed-on the email direct from their inbox (as opposed to using forward to a friend). It doesn’t sound like much of a forward but this alerted us to a trend, which we have monitored ever since in our campaign data.

    Having identified this behaviour we now look for anomalies in all of our client’s lists and are particularly interested in the total opens and clicks recorded for a single subscriber. For example, if a subscriber has a total open rate of 44 but no data recorded against [forward to a friend] FTAF (which happened this week), there’s a pretty good chance they have forwarded their email to a large number of people across their network and that all of their friends have opened it. When you consider that most email readers have images blocked, that’s an impressive total open off a single email address. And a clear indication of “social influence.”

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