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CANASTOTA, N.Y. -- If it has anything to do with digital marketing or social media, chances are Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes will be using it this year to boost consumer engagement and build its brand.
The Upstate New York convenience store chain recently launched a multifaceted marketing campaign that leverages unique tools such as Facebook, Foursquare, e-mail and texting to communicate with and advertise to consumers who voluntarily "opt-in" to receive messages.
"Developing these new forms of consumer engagement is a burning goal for 2011," said Jared Sturtevant, Nice N Easy's director of marketing. "This is all about building brand advocates, and that begins at the store level and is reinforced using social media and digital marketing."
Since first introducing its Facebook fan page in 2009, Nice N Easy has steadily grown its arsenal of digital marketing tools. As CSNews Online reported exclusively last June, the chain started a text marketing club and YouTube channel, and was exploring e-mail marketing. Today, all of these initiatives are still going strong and have been honed for better results.
-- Facebook: The social media site is a great way to have two-way communication with customers, Sturtevant said. To grow Nice N Easy's fan base -- which as of this morning was around 1,900 -- the chain is getting its store employees involved by asking them to "Like" the page and share it with their Facebook friends. The company is also using targeted Facebook ads to add fans; users can "Like" the fan page directly from the advertisement. In the near future, Nice N Easy will begin offering exclusive coupons and a grand-prize sweepstakes to its fans.
-- Text Club: Nice N Easy is targeting its text messages to club members around specific times of the day, and special events and holidays. For instance, at drive time, the company will promote a meal offer such as whole pizza discounts, while its lunchtime message will be an offer on a pizza slice or half-sub. Redemption of the text coupons has been between 2 percent and 8 percent depending on the offer, according to Sturtevant. The club is steadily growing by about 50 members per week and the retention rate is over 97 percent.
-- YouTube: The chain is currently using this free Web site to host its commercials and training videos, and to embed video on its Web site homepage. However, Sturtevant said he sees a lot of potential in video and intends to do more with it this year.
-- E-mail Club: Nice N Easy has signed on with e-mail marketing provider Constant Contact, and added a sign-up form for the club to its Web site and Facebook page. The retailer now has more than 1,000 members enrolled, and will soon deploy its first e-mail message.
In addition to these programs, Nice N Easy is utilizing Foursquare.com, a location-based mobile app that allows users to "check in" at venues. The person who checks into a venue the most times in 60 days is deemed its "Mayor." Nice N Easy started out a few months ago by rewarding the "Mayor" of each store with a 16-ounce coffee for just 48 cents every visit. "We have since switched to offers that are unlocked after three check-ins, so more users are able to get the discounts," Sturtevant said, noting the Foursquare offers change every month.
Also new this year, the company is venturing into online advertising for the first time. On Feb. 1, Nice N Easy launched its first digital campaign on Microsoft Media Network. The four-month campaign will receive a minimum of 400,000 zip code-targeted impressions per month on hundreds of Web sites, Sturtevant explained. Nice N Easy's ads will change each month and be directed to either the brand's Web site, Facebook page or a landing page with coupons.
The company is advertising on a local radio station's Web site as well. The "Powered by Easy Street Coffee" ads link to a landing page that contains an exclusive printable coupon for a 69-cent Easy Street coffee. (The coupon is available via mobile devices too.)
Additionally, the chain introduced its first-ever mobile Web advertisement on Syracuse.com. The mobile banner ad directs the viewer to a landing page where they not only find mobile coupons from Nice N Easy, but also the address to the closest Nice N Easy store.
Each ad has a unique UTM code that allows the c-store operator to use Google Analytics to track which ad style/type, ad position and advertisement graphics are generating the most traffic.
With so many strategies working in tandem under this new campaign, Sturtevant said the marketing opportunities are endless. Nice N Easy's Web ads are advertising its Text Club; its Text Club includes links to its Web site and Facebook page; while its Web site and Facebook page direct people to sign up for its Text Club or check in with Foursquare -- just to cite a few.
"We are marketing our marketing with our marketing," he said, jokingly.