June 28, 2012, 12:30 PM

A 'Pinteresting' subject line increases opens and social sharing for Ballard Designs

One e-mail helped increase the e-retailer’s Pinterest followers by more than 15%.

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Ballard Designs, an e-retailer of furniture and home goods, early this spring added the ability for consumers to ‘Pin’ products featured in a promotional e-mail message directly to Pinterest, the growing social network where users collect and show off things they’ve found around the web. The e-mail, which featured best-selling items from Ballard’s spring collection and used “Our Customer Favorites are Pinteresting” as its subject line, had an open rate 2.8% higher than Ballard’s average and within in a week helped increase Ballard’s following on Pinterest by more than 15%, the e-retailer says.

The e-retailer, a unit of HSN Inc., No. 26 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, was able to embed links to Pinterest into the body of the e-mail through functionality developed by its e-mail marketing vendor, Experian CheetahMail. Ballard Designs launched its Pinterest presence last August, and the e-retailer says Experian CheetahMail approached it early this year about adding the Pinning capability to e-mail marketing messages.

The “Pin it” functionality was included on six products featured in the e-mail, and Experian CheetahMail’s analytics tracked how many consumers Pinned those products and how many other consumers Pinned them after seeing the initial  Pins on the social network. Within a week, a wall clock featured in the e-mail saw a 180% lift in Pins, for example, and 56% more shoppers Pinned a pair of accent pillows. Overall, Pinboard activity for Ballard Designs’ featured products increased 33%. “We are extremely pleased with the results of our first ‘Pin It’ campaign,” says James Pope, director of public relations and social media at Ballard Designs.

An Experian CheetahMail spokesman says the Pinterest functionality for e-mail is part of its standard e-mail marketing offering and doesn’t carry an additional charge.

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