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Swoozie’s brand colors are pink and orange, but during the month of October they are all pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month, the brand offers its customers the option to purchase a PinkPASS – all proceeds benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation – which also allows the customer to receive 20% off all purchases through the end of the month.

To further help spread awareness for the cause, and to further engage with their core target market in the online community, Swoozie’s hosted a #PINKPASS Twitter chat on October 23rd. The chat included special guest @brokesocialite who recently lost her mother due to a battle with this terrible disease.

The chat lasted one hour and Swoozie’s received participation from strangers, customers, and blogger-friends alike. We hosted the chat in the evening, meeting our core demographic during a time they were generally able to be online and connected. The conversation was heartfelt and authentic, engaging passionate supporters for the cause, while still having a little light-hearted fun with questions like “What is your favorite shade of pink” in the mix.

Through our work with client Swoozie’s, we have created deep-rooted blogger relationships and this paid off as so many of them willingly joined in the conversation and spread the hashtag virally among the online community. What is true in real-life is true online as well; it’s all about the relationships you build and the people you meet along the way. We were thankful to have this group of Zealots to further the engagement for this special online conversation.

In all ….

306 #PINKPASS mentions.
More than 1M impressions.
More than 121K followers reached.

While the chat garnered impressive numbers, the most noteworthy moment of the night was listening to the inspiring story of Kelly Spalding, who lost her mother to breast cancer and is newly diagnosed, herself. We’re proud to support Swoozie’s – and women like Kelly – this October.

Since the many changes to Facebook since the Timeline update to Pages, we’ve found great successes in utilizing Facebook Advertising.

A recent campaign we ran for specialty-retail client Swoozie’s produced a .35 cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of new Fans to their Facebook Page, helping us to reach the 15,000 Fan level in a very cost-effective way.

A few best practices we’ve found to be helpful in driving success for your campaigns.

Be Goal-Oriented

Set a single, very specific goal for each Ad you run. The more focused you are on your goal,the easier it is to accomplish. Facebook Ads are shown to produce better results if what you’re trying to accomplish lives on the same platform, for example, driving Facebook Event RSVPs or new Likes to your Fan Page, as opposed to driving a contest on your brand website.

Dive Into Your Target

Go deeper than the standard demographic targeting you’d normally use. One of the best things about Facebook Advertising is the specificity in which you can target by lifestyle, behavior, interest and so much more. And, remember you can use the visual component of the ad to mimic the segment you’re targeting.

Be Organic

If you’re campaign goal is to add new Fans, always run a “Sponsored Stories” ad type as part of your campaign to help drive Likes. To the average consumer, this Ad type feels less like an ad and more like a functional feature of Facebook so they’re more likely to take action. And, remember to target only those people who are not already connected to your Fan Page.

Tap into the Power of Referral

Add a deeper level of referral to the “Sponsored Stories” Ad type by also targeting “friends of Fans” of your Fan Page. The old saying is true – birds of a feather flock together. Friends are more likely to trust and join in the fun because they see others in their peer group are taking action. I bet you’ll find this to be one of your top producers campaign after campaign.

As soon as Guest Relations Marketing heard of Pinterest, we were hooked. Not only has the majority of our office been Pinning on our personal accounts for months, but we were eager to be an early adopter with one of our clients: Swoozie’s.

The vast majority of Pinterest users are women ages 25-54. Swoozie’s target market? The same.

Perfect. We signed them up.

And while Swoozie’s Pinterest Followers were growing at a strong, steady rate, we knew these numbers could jump significantly. So we came up with a plan.

Using the promotion Pin It to Win It, for one day we focused on a single retail item: a pink, plastic tumbler. We Pinned the tumbler along with the message that one lucky Repinner would win it. The Pinning ensued. With each Repin that was made – an entirely new network of Pinners was exposed to the image.

By incorporating this promotion in Swoozie’s e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter communications, word spread fast. By the end of the day, not only had the tumbler received 143 Repins, but Swoozie’s had gained more than 100 new Followers and Pinterest was officially Swoozie’s third highest referring website.

Considering 6 months ago nobody knew what Pinterest was – these numbers are simply remarkable.

Have you joined Pinterest yet? Send me an email and I’ll gladly invite you to your new addiction.

As we’ve discussed in the past, the Guest Relations Marketing team is Zealots for CURE Childhood Cancer. Not only are they our client, but we’re passionate about the cause. So much so, that April sits as President of the Board of Directors for the organization. If that’s not Zealotry in Action, we don’t know what is.

As the holiday season approached, we were thrilled to find out that CURE would be selling Elves from Catie as a holiday fundraiser.

These Elves were inspired by Catie Wilkins, one of CURE’s kids who lost her battle with cancer in 2007. Elves from Catie visit your home – or office – during the holidays and remain completely frozen in place whenever you’re around. But as soon as you leave? Chaos ensues. Not only are Elves from Catie a fun addition to any household, but a portion from each Elf sold goes directly to CURE. So it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Elves from Catie have only been visiting GRM for a few days and they’ve already been caught creating mischief.

If you would like to add some spirited fun to your home or office his holiday season – and support CURE – you may purchase Elves from Catie online at or in-stores or online at Swoozie’s.

We have a feeling this isn’t the only time these Elves are going to get in trouble this month. You can’t leave these guys unattended for one second.

As the holiday season approaches, retailers plan for one of the biggest shopping days of the year – Black Friday. Brand Zealots stake their tents and line up to experience the rush of this chaotic day of shopping. It’s not just about the deals – it’s about the experience.

However, not all Zealots are created equal. For those not cut out for braving the mall with the masses, there’s another day. A day called Cyber Monday.

For a retailer, Cyber Monday is a godsend. Advertising your business’s promotions digitally is relatively inexpensive. And oftentimes free. By integrating a cohesive marketing plan through all digital outlets – including social media – your brand Zealots help spread the word for you. With a simple click of the “share” button, your message has fallen into the laps of hundreds, if not thousands, of your Zealots’ closest friends.

According to ComScore, online sales on Cyber Monday were up 22% from last year, coming in at a record $1.25 billion. When compared to 2010, some of the largest online retailers, such as eBay, did not see as drastic of an increase in sales. However, smaller online retailers have been booming. In fact, most smaller merchants have seen better year-over-year growth on Cyber Monday, compared to Black Friday.

Swoozie’s is one of these success stories. Going in to Cyber Monday, Swoozie’s implemented a cohesive digital campaign to promote all of their online sales specials. By promoting different Cyber Monday specials throughout the day – through social media – Swoozie’s was able to keep the buzz going and encourage their Zealots to not only interact with their brand, but also share the specials with their network of friends. By the end of the day, Swoozie’s had exceeded their online sales goal by 49%.

This proves that a strong digital campaign – with a heavy emphasis on social media – works.

Here at Guest Relations Marketing, after working with a client, we can’t help but become zealots. We research the client, we research their customers, and we think about their brand everyday. It becomes a part of our lives.

After working with Swoozie’s this year, we have become zealots for all-things-Swooz. We don’t just go into the store for client meetings. We pick up our favorite teams’ tailgating supplies. We Ooo and Ahh over new products. We order Holiday cards.

Now through October 9, 2011, Swoozie’s is hosting their Annual Customer Celebration event. Swoozie’s wants to let their customers know how much they love and appreciate each and every one of them by offering a 25% discount.

We’re just a little excited.

Not only that, but Swoozie’s wants to get to know the people behind the “OOs” by highlighting the creativity of their customers on Swoozie’s blog. To encourage customer creativity, Swoozie’s has placed a printable copy of “OO” glasses on their blog. You simply print them out, add some “pizazz,” and post pics on Swoozie’s Facebook page.

Like I said, we’re zealots for Swoozie’s. So we couldn’t resist.

I stopped into Swoozie’s this afternoon for our weekly meeting and couldn’t resist snapping a shot of these oh-so-social cocktail napkins! Rest assured you will see these at our next tweet up …

In full disclosure, Swoozie’s is a client of Guest Relations Marketing; the opinions I express are my own.

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