Western River Expeditions, an adventure vacation company with destinations in Idaho, Utah and along the Grand Canyon, does an excellent job integrating social media into their digital marketing efforts. If you’re a regular reader of Jay Baer‘s Convince and Convert, you may remember his “Three Amigos” post from August which outlined how Western River uses email marketing, blogging and social sharing to drive their business.
To summarize, Western River emails customers after they’ve returned home, invites them to submit a story with a picture about their adventure, posts the story to the company blog, then emails them to let them know it’s live and they should tell all their friends about it. The customer-generated content allows the company, which doesn’t have a huge marketing staff, to scale content, win more search results and have the coveted third-party recommendations shared all over social networks.
Because Western River uses Compendium Blogware (a client), I keep an eye on them and their successes. And they’ve just unveiled a holiday promotion that takes the social media activation of their content factory to a new level.
Last week, Western River sent an email to its customer base announcing a new contest. Each family was to post another story with a picture about their adventure, or go back to the old one, and see how many Facebook Likes they could engineer for their post. The family’s story with the most likes by Christmas Eve wins a trip for two to raft the Colorado River.
The effort will do a number of things for Western River:
- It creates more content for their blog
- It helps capture more search engine results for their blog
- It reconnects with their customers who have likely forgotten their months-ago vacation
- It keeps them top-of-mind with their customers
- It engages their customers and gives them a clear, and fun, call-to-action
- It encourages viral behavior around their brand
- It fosters a higher level of brand awareness and attracts new eyeballs
- It rewards the most active and loyal customers
- It communicates with loyal, hand-raisers who are more apt and willing to pass along recommendations
- It only costs them the email send and the trip cost
The salient point I really enjoy out of what Western River is doing is that they are finding interesting ways to engage people who are already customers that results in spreading the brand to those who aren’t. It’s not just about integrating email, blogging, search and social media into one, beautifully orchestrated package. It’s about integrating retention and acquisition at the same time.
Stick that in your Mashable Awards pipe and smoke it.
Now it’s your turn. What other business do you know that are integrating several digital elements in interesting ways. How can you use Western River Expeditions as an inspiration and build similar engagement activities with your audience … ones that drive business, not just engage alone?
The comments are yours.
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