If you operate in retail then you know that your sales will fluctuate throughout the year. It doesn’t matter what it is you’re selling; some periods will be quieter, and some will be a lot busier.
A florist will be busy before Mothers Day, a clothing outlet will get hectic around Christmas, and a lingerie retailer will be met with greatly increased demand in the lead up to Valentine’s Day.
During these peak seasons interest in your product category will be significantly heightened. This means that potential customers will be a lot more receptive to your messages, making the lead up to a busy period an excellent time to run any sort of marketing campaign or discounted offers.
If you’re able to properly identify and take advantage of your busy seasons then you put yourself in an outstanding position to do a serious amount of business, reach an enormous audience, and generate a lot of revenue in a very short span of time.
In this post we’re going to break down how one of our customers, an online lingere retailer called Adore Me, generated 54k social actions thanks to a holiday giveaway strategically run in the weeks leading up to their busiest time of year 🌹 Valentine’s Day.
We’re also going to break down some of the key growth techniques that Adore Me use to drive more E-commerce sales.
Introduction to Adore Me
Back in 2010, French born Harvard MBA student Morgan Hermand-Waiche was broke and in a position that many of us know all too well. Searching for a birthday present for his girlfriend that wasn’t completely out of line with his budget. He wanted to buy her lingerie, but, as he said:
Anything I could afford was outdated, under-designed and of poor quality.
He figured if he was having this problem, then countless women must be as well. He did some research and found that those dominating the US lingerie industry were charging too much, not releasing new collections often enough, and only properly catering for an extremely limited size range. It was clear that there was room for better.
Hermand-Waiche came from a family that had been in the fashion retail industry for three generations. He always wanted to start his own company in the industry, and when inspiration struck he knew, in his own words, that
It was time to shake up the lingerie industry, lower its prices, speed up its fashion, and make it accessible to everybody.
And just like that, Adore Me was born.
The brand launched in 2012 and has since grown into a disruptive online retailer that serves hundreds of thousands of customers every month. Helen Mears, a former Victoria’s Secret Head of Design is now putting her skills to work in the same role for Adore Me, and the company is thriving thanks to their focus on being sexy, comfortable, affordable, up to date, and inclusive.
The Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway
A key reason for Adore Me’s success is their ability to continuously grow their following and expand their consumer base. One growth strategy that Adore Me have found great success with is running competitions and giveaways.
Elise, a Social Media Coordinator for Adore Me has found that
Competitions are a great way to engage our following and to provide incentive for taking action on our pages
When it comes to running contests and giveaways the team at Adore Me have found all their needs satisfied by the Gleam platform. In Elise’s words:
The platform is easy to use on the brand end, and our followers and fans who take part in competitions never have any difficulty entering or using the platform.
Using the Gleam platform, Adore Me has run many successful campaigns, but for this case study we’re going to be looking at one in particular, the Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway.
As a lingerie retailer, Adore Me knew that the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day provided them with an excellent opportunity to engage with an audience who are primed to take an interest in their product. Out of this opportunity came the Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway. Like all of their contests, Adore Me’s aim for the Lovestruck Giveaway was to bring awareness to their offerings whilst engaging current followers and gaining new ones, and thanks to their perfect timing, as well as their excellent contest setup and promotion, it was a resounding success.
The contest itself was fairly simple. Users in the USA over the age of 18 could enter a draw to win a prize in a variety of ways, such as uploading content tagged with #WhatDoYouAdore, watching a video on YouTube, visiting their social media channels and much more.
Encouraging users to share content with the #WhatDoYouAdore hashtag was an important part of the campaign to the Adore Me team, who told us that one of the types of campaign their consumer respond best are giveaways that involve sharing content.
Our customers love giveaways that include sharing content! We’ve had a great deal of success with campaigns that include customers posting photos, memories, or favorite products to Instagram.
The beauty of giving people a tonne of ways to enter the contest is the more ways you entered, the greater your chance of winning. Allowing users to enter the contest multiple times in multiple ways encouraged users to interact with the brand and share Adore Me’s messages across several platforms, which helped foster in-depth awareness and familiarity. This goes a long way when it comes to converting an online audience into customers.
While it’s great to give people a bunch of different ways to enter your contest, you still need to make entry enticing. This, in large part, comes down to having a prize that people can’t ignore. The Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway offered winners $1000 to spend at Adore Me. This is an outstanding prize, as it’s highly relevant to the brand’s audience, it will expose winners to the brand in a hugely impactful way, and it’s high value helps encourage mass entry.
Adore Me uses high value prizes like this to encourage their prospective customers and followers to take part, especially if they’ve just discovered the brand.
They’ve found that contests that encourage brand involvement can take Adore Me from being a brand a customer is aware of to a brand they actively shop with.
This is exactly what you hope to get out of a contest. You want to encourage users to interact with your brand so they gain familiarity, develop positive associations, and ultimately become customers. However, in order for Adore Me to draw so many participants into their contest, they needed to promote it.
Promoting the Giveaway
As an online retailer, it only makes sense for Adore Me to make online activity the focus of their promotional efforts. Elise, the Social Media Coordinator told us that:
Social media cross promotion is our main way of promoting the campaigns.
This was certainly the case for the Lovestruck Giveaway.
In addition to making posts directly relating to the contest, Adore Me also bolstered their promotional efforts by sharing other Valentine’s Day material.
They shared photos:
Videos from a television campaign:
And even a supplementary Valentine’s Day Giveaway on Instagram to help build buzz:
These efforts compliment their contest promotion beautifully, as they stimulate a desire for lingerie in the build up to Valentine’s Day and encourage users to follow their activity. This should lead to users with a piqued interest in getting lingerie for Valentine’s Day discovering, and subsequently entering, the contest.
So it’s pretty clear that Adore Me did a stellar job of promoting their campaign. This is made even more apparent when you take a look at the outstanding results of the Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway.
The contest generated 88841 impressions, and lead to 54129 actions being made by 19254 users (mostly within the first few days of the contest). This shows that the Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway was able to reach a huge audience, and engage with them, which is shown by the 21.7% conversion rate.
The campaign was hosted locally on the Adore Me website, which means all of the entrants were able to explore their products and make purchases afterwards (this is a common step many stores overlook).
By using the Gleam platform, Adore Me were able to let people enter the contest by completing various actions that had been setup.
In a typical contest setup you might only offer a singular way to enter, in this campaign users on average completed 2.8 actions.
They were able to drive social followers on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Get people to watch their videos and even post to Pinterest.
The number of impressions and actions generated by the contest just goes to show how much of a success the Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway was in terms of helping Adore Me build build their audience and spread their message.
One of the ways the campaign was designed to spread the word was via our Viral Share action. This generates a unique link for each user and awards them additional entries for referring friends.
You can see from the stats below that 363 users referred over 1200 friends into the campaign.
The conversion rate of Viral Shares is an important statistic to keep an eye on. If this matches your overall conversion rate (which it does in this case) then it shows that your Prize is resonating with your audience. If the conversion rate is low, then the users that are seeing the Shares aren’t your target audience.
Another savvy promotional move came from Adore Me when they announced the contest winners across their social media channels, using the contest’s payoff to build positive perceptions and encourage future contest entry.
And here’s another post on Twitter:
Congratulations to the winner of our Lovestruck Valentine's Day Giveaway, Savannah Fritz! pic.twitter.com/5QsAPB2fm0
— Adore Me (@AdoreMe) February 4, 2016
5 Key Growth Takeaways
Adore Me’s Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway was without a doubt a massive success, but what are the key lessons you can take away from it and apply to your own contest?
1. Align Regular Contests With a Busy Times of The Year
The key to pulling off a great contest is generating huge amounts of user interest. A lot of this comes down to how well you promote your contest, how enticing your prize is, how low the barriers to entry are, and how much of a following you have going into the contest.
All of these factors are undeniably important, but there’s something else you control that can make an enormous difference to your contest’s success; the timing.
If there’s a particular time of the year when you see a boosted interest in your brand or product then it can be a terrific idea to run a contest to cash in on all the added interest.
This could be:
- No Shave November for a Beard Company Giveaway
- Valentines Day for a Flower Store
- Black Friday for an Electronics Store
- During Big Game Releases for a Gaming Store
- Mothers Day for a Gift Shop
- Fathers Day for a Hardware Store
- During an Event for an E-Sports Giveaway
Just look at how well this worked for Adore Me. By running their contest in the lead up to Valentine’s Day they were able to seize the attention of an audience at a time when they would be much more receptive of the brand message and much easier to convert from audience members to customers.
Another benefit of aligning your contest with a busy time of the year is that you already have a theme ready to go.
Adore Me were able to build their contest around a Valentine’s Day theme, which worked wonders for them, and the same tactic could work for you. Just look at what times of the year you’re busiest, think about why, and then build your contest theme around what you discover to be your peak sales period.
It may be Mother’s Day, Christmas, or even the beginning of a new season. Whatever it is, building your contest around it is a sure-fire way to garner extra attention, convert your audience into customers and ultimately give yourself a boost in revenue.
2. Synchronize Your Promotional Channels
This is a topic we could talk about all day, we often see many businesses just fail to execute their promotional strategy properly. Then wonder why the campaign flops?
Elise from Adore Me understands that when it comes to running a successful contest:
Promotion is key.
This is absolutely true. If people don’t know about your contest, they won’t enter it. It’s as simple as that. So when you’re running a contest always remember to promote, promote, promote.
Utilize promotion across social platforms, email blasts…anywhere you can.
You should be using every social channel at your disposal to promote the campaign:
- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+
- Facebook Live / Instagram Stories
- Google Hangouts
- Banners / Popups on your site
Absolutely anywhere that can help you drive users to the campaign.
The lessons you can learn from Adore Me about contest promotion don’t end at what platforms you use. The actual promotional material and effort that Adore Me put in to advertise the Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway is simplistically sensational.
There’s nothing overly flashy about this post, but it does everything a good piece of promotional material for a contest should. It provides a link to the contest, mentions the prize, highlights the multiple entry feature, highlights the brand’s products and conveys the Valentine’s Day theme of the contest. These are all key points that should be touched on, so keep this campaign’s promotion in mind when crafting your own contest.
One way you could improve this is by asking users to do more in the post itself, take this one as an example:
We ask users to interact with the Facbeook post first, before the enter. Giving the campaign that extra reach it needs.
While their current promotional efforts are doing just fine, Adore Me is always looking to the future, and you should be to. Live features on social media platforms are gaining traction, and Adore Me plan to keep up and use these emerging promotional tools to help them with future contests.
As we become more active with live social (Snapchat and Instagram stories along with Facebook Live) we plan to test promoting campaigns through broadcasts and live video streams.
They are making good use of Snapchat, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and also Google Hangouts:
3. Get The Most Out Of User Generated Content
The Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway let people enter the contest in a lot of different ways, and the ways you let people enter your contests will depend on what platforms you use and what you’re trying to achieve. However, one type of entry method that’s always a good idea is the sharing of user-generated content
UGC came into play during the Lovestruck campaign as people could enter the contest by sharing something they adored accompanied by #WhatDoYouAdore. This resulted in the sharing of Instagram posts like this:
Getting people to share this type of user-generated content can help make an audience feel actively involved in your brand and can play a big role in the development of your customer relationships. The sharing of UCG can even help you spread your brand message around. Brands running UCG contests will often ask specifically for brand related content, but even if you don’t ask, fans may still take the opportunity to give you some love. This was the case for Adore Me who enjoyed fans spreading messages like these as part of their contest entry.
When asked about the importance of use-generated content, Elise told us that:
UGC is vital! Not only do we love seeing their content, but it allows us to better understand the styles customers are fond of.
One of the best ways to use UGC is to collate it into a Gallery that you can display on your own website, which is exactly what our Gallery app does. You can see a selection of images from the Adore Me campaign below:
Incorporating user-generated content into a contest helps businesses build relationships with potential customers and also gets them to spread your message to their followers (in a way that suits them), but it is also a fantastic way to cultivate a deeper understanding of your customers which will help you gain insight on exactly what your market is looking for and how you can best reach them.
4. Use Your Contest to Promote Your Product
We’ve talked about how promoting your contest is of the utmost importance, but you can’t forget to actually use your contest to promote your brand. The whole point of running a contest is to raise awareness, build brand associations and acquire some new customers, so you can’t neglect promoting your brand or products when you’re designing a contest.
Adore Me did an excellent job of this with their Lovestruck Valentine’s Day Giveaway. All of the different ways you could enter the contest worked to promote the brand in one way or another, with most entry options involving interacting with Adore Me on various social media platforms, or sharing their message in some way.
One of the entry options Adore Me included in their contest was the option of entering the contest by watching a YouTube video.
Watching a video has fairly low barrier to entry (depending on the length), and as a result it was the most common way people entered the Valentine’s Day Giveaway.
This is an entry method you should seriously consider when devising your own contest, as it’s something that people are clearly willing to participate in, and you can use the video to achieve any number of ends.
Adore Me used their video to highlight some of their products and encourage purchases, almost 10k people watched it – which could have a huge impact on sales.
This is an superb idea that you may want to emulate, the possibilities of what you can do in a video are virtually endless, they are also getting a lot of additional exposure over normal image posts across a range of social networks.
But it does take time, money and effort to create videos. A good idea in the beginning is to partner with influencers who can help you create this content, then figure out what works before you start filming your own.
5. Continue Engaging Your Audience
Adore Me believe that one of the most important things to do when running a contest is continuing to engage your (partially newfound) audience once the contest has ended. Elise advises that you:
Continue engaging your following – even after the campaign ends, keep in contact with the new followers, entrants, and winners.
It’s absolutely crucial that you do this. If you’ve just run a contest and found a horde of new followers then you need to strike while the iron is hot and turn these followers into customers while all the interest your contest generated is fresh in their heads.
Elise told us that at Adore Me, they “continue to engage with these new followers on social — it’s the simplest and most effective way to get personal with customers. That personalized experience helps develop loyalty to the brand, and thus, sales”.
Adore Me do a great job of engaging their new followers on social media…
…but where they really excel is the personalised experience they offer on their website.
When you first visit their site, you’ll be asked to sign up and complete a quick quiz (which asked me a lot of questions that I was not ready to answer).
Once you’ve completed the quiz you’ll be met with a personalized experience that caters to all of your needs and preferences (along with a sneaky discount to get you across the line).
You be presented with lingerie options in your size that suit your preferences. You will also be able to receive blog posts and newsletters on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and you can opt out of the service entirely if you wish.
This personalized experience is an outstanding way to keep engaging your followers after your contest has ended. The quiz is a stroke of genius and the overall way that Adore Me engages their following online in the aftermath of a contest is something you can definitely learn a few lessons from.