May 10, 2012, 10:57 AM

A resort more than doubles its Facebook following thanks to an e-mail campaign

Within a day of its initial message, Rancho Las Palmas boosted its Likes 50%.

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Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa last year noticed that a slowing down in the growth of consumers on Facebook clicking that they Like the luxury resort.

To draw attention to its Facebook presence, the resort worked with social media marketing vendor GroSocial to launch a Facebook contest. In order to enter the contest, Facebook users had to Like the resort’s page, enter their e-mail address and share the contest on their wall. The design was aimed at leveraging the social network to spread awareness about the resort.

Because a multipronged e-mail campaign was central to the effort, Rancho Las Palmas turned to e-mail marketing firm BlueHornet Networks Inc. for assistance.

The first e-mail the resort sent to its nearly 100,000 e-mail subscribers had a single call to action, “Like Rancho for a chance to win a desert getaway” that offered the chance to win a two-night stay in a suite at the resort, along with spa treatments, unlimited golf and tennis, a cabana rental and dinner for two. When a consumer clicked on the Like button in the e-mail message, it took her to the contest tab on the resort’s Facebook page. Within a day of sending the e-mail, the resort increased its fan base, which had been about 4,550 consumers, nearly 50%. Moreover, the e-mail had a 17.9% open rate and a 25.9% click-through rate.

Because of that response, the resort added a second grand prize. A week after the first e-mail, the resort sent a second message, which also included the Like button. The e-mail had a 17.5% open rate and a 24.1% click-through rate, as it resulted in another surge in fans.

After the contest ended, the resort sent a final e-mail to non-winners, offering a 25% discount on its room rates. The e-mail had a 63.1% open rate and a 25.4% click-through rate. Twenty-three consumers actually booked a room.

In total, the contest boosted the resort’s fan base 134% from about 5,900 consumers to roughly 13,800.

“The contest provided a way for us to clearly communicate to our subscribers and convert them to Facebook Likes,” says Melissa Paden, the resort’s online marketing director.  

E-mail marketing strategies will be addressed at the Internet Retailer 2012 Conference & Exhibition next month by Alaa Hassan, vice president of iNetVideo, in a session titled “Fresh ideas for amping up your e-mail marketing.”

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