How Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Found Success With Its Email and Social Media Campaigns
While we don't usually cover restaurant chains here at The ROI Report, a presentation I listened in on at the Email Evolution Conference in Miami earlier this month made me change my mind.
During the presentation, attendees learned how Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes — a healthy-eating restaurant chain with 112 establishments in 15 states — grew its monthly Club Veg email newsletter membership from 712,000 subscribers in September 2008 to 1.2 million subscribers to date through several email and social media initiatives.
In January, for example, Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes — along with its internet marketing agency Red Door Interactive — encouraged subscribers to refer friends to sign up for its Club Veg email list.
Subscribers were enticed to get their friends and families to sign up for Club Veg emails with exclusive members-only offers, birthday discounts and additional coupons. Subscribers who got the most people to sign up had a chance to win 20 free meals at any Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes restaurant.
The results? Of the 70,000 subscribers who signed up in January, 17,000 were attributed to the refer-a-friend campaign.
Embracing Social Media
Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes also fully embraces social media, which in turn has become a key acquisition engine.
“We’ve seen great success by being an active participant in social media in terms of increased brand loyalty, customer feedback and store traffic,” said Jill Trecker, manager of guest loyalty for Garden Fresh Corp., the parent company of the retail brand, who spoke during the presentation.
Last February, for example, Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes entered the social media world in earnest, sending emails to subscribers encouraging them to sign up for the company's Facebook fan page.
Then in April it launched a lemon-themed "Pucker Up" contest, which encouraged individuals to submit photos of themselves depicting sour faces to the chain's Facebook fan page. The winner received free meal passes. Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes promoted the "Pucker Up" campaign via email blasts, website notices and tweets.
"We saw a 400 percent increase in Facebook fans as a result of this promotion," said Pilar Bower, an optimization and internet strategist at Red Door Interactive. "What's more, as a result of that promotion, we gathered more than 100 pieces of user-generated content that we can use for additional marketing programs."