October 9, 2008, 12:00 AM

Social networking widget spreading the word for Diapers.com

Diapers.com’s test of a new widget from Silverpop gets its e-mail content posted on 50 social network pages.

Diapers.com is using social networking in its e-mail marketing program to build awareness of its brand and acquire new customers, says Matt Lindenberg, assistant director of marketing. In an early test of a new social marketing application now in limited release from e-mail marketing services vendor Silverpop Systems Inc., Diapers.com saw its e-mail content posted on 50 social network site pages thanks to the new widget, Lindberg says.

The widget, plugged into e-mails, allows Diapers.com to embed in the e-mail a set of links that allow recipients of the e-mail to easily share content of that e-mail on their Facebook or MySpace page, by automatically creating a thumbnail image and a blurb of the featured item the e-mail recipient wants to share. The e-mail recipient can then add this summarized content to her own social network site page, e-mail list or blog for distribution-and that content includes links that allow viewers to see the full, original e-mail which contains links back to Diapers.com to view and buy the product.

The application includes reporting capacity that tracks how many times recipients on Diapers.com’s list share the e-mail with others, how many times the shared copies were viewed, and whether anyone who clicked on the e-mail was an original recipient or a shared recipient, as well as which links they clicked on and whether they then converted to a sale at Diapers.com. Diapers.com also can track redemption of special offers in its e-mails with a unique redemption code, for added information about how its original e-mails are spreading virally through the social networking application.

With the new application in place on the site for only about a month, Lindenberg hasn’t yet compiled data on how it’s affecting sales. Eventually, he says, Diapers.com will use that data in future e-mails and to improve merchandising on the site.

Diapers.com, No. 231 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, anticipates that adding a social networking element to its e-mail marketing program is a strategy that will work for its targeted audience, mothers of young children-a group that participates heavily in sharing information on social networking sites, according to Lindberg. “It’s a new type of marketing and you can’t push the messages out there-these moms are pulling the communications points that they choose to, both positive and negative," he says.

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