Why Fan-Only Promotions Work

By Lauren Sleeper A Facebook user will become a fan of your Facebook page for many different reasons-- to express their brand affinity/they are already a loyal customer, to learn about your company, to get new product information, to gain a behind the scenes look at the brand, to gain access to contests and very frequently to gather information on sales, coupons and fan offers.  The latter is an enormous draw that more and more brands are taking advantage of, especially during the high purchasing holiday season.  A Facebook fan has already directly expressed interest in your brand or organization, but now that they are a part of the community it is up to the brand to keep them active.  Fan-only offers help brands retain the fans they have by keeping them engaged and rewarded, and also encourage new fans with a direct call-to-action.  Below are some of my favorite fan exclusive campaigns of the 2011 holiday season, and why they worked.

The Yankee Candle Company

 The Yankee Candle Company releases new fragrances each season.  As a reward to their Facebook fans, Yankee released a limited-supply of a winter candle that was only available for purchase by their Facebook fans.  Furthermore, the scent was part of the "My Favorite Things Collection," meaning that the exlusivity of this scent served as an even stronger incentive to customers who wanted to own the entire collection.  Yankee supported this initiative with a custom Facebook tab, as well as a unique listing and call-out for the scent on their website.

Heinz Ketchup

Heinz Ketchup is clearly the leader in the condiment industry, and has amassed an incredible following of almost 900,000 fans on Facebook.  Clearly, Americans like their ketchup. Big news in the ketchup world, Heinz has created a new flavor of Balsamic Ketchup.  Similar to the Yankee Candle promotion, Heinz offered the product to only their Facebook fans.  They will of course be publicly launching this flavor,  but what better way to reward a ketchup enthusiast than early access to a brand new product?  Heinz posted regularly to their fan base, and also created a custom tab to alert their fans to the promotion.

Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor continually does a fabulous job of rewarding their Facebook fans with exclusive coupons and offers.  In the first week of November, they offered  a 'Friends and Family' 40% off  discount code to their Facebook fans for four days.  40% is clearly a huge draw to customers, especially leading into the Holiday season.  Unfortunately, their site experienced some issues due to the mass amounts of customers trying to purchase. Instead of ending the promotion at the scheduled date, they extended the offer to fans due to the technical issues.  Even though the promotion did not go as smoothly as they had originally planned, they were incredibly responsive to complaints on their wall, they addressed the issue with the website, and were able to satisfy all of their customers who wanted to take advantage of the offer.  As with the other promotions discussed, Ann Taylor posted regular reminders (as well as updates on the website issues and extensions), along with creating a coupon posted on their site that fans could redeem online or in-stores.

Kate Spade

Sample sales are generally exclusive events, accessible to a fairly small amount of people in a particular city and/or retail location.  With the advent of social media, "sample sales" are becoming a whole new entity.  Kate Spade has been rewarding their Facebook fans by presenting them with exclusive access to "sample sales," or heavily discounted products.  These sales are short-lived, and they only post about the sales on their Facebook page.  Fans could access the sale by a link provided in the status update, and purchase Kate Spade handbags, clothing, and accessories at up to 75% for the day.

ModCloth ModCloth is an online retailer that offers affordable independent designer women's fashion.  Their "Serendipitous Surprise" promotion was a day-long promotion for both their Facebook fans and Twitter followers.   As the image included depicts, they tapped into their current customers via an email campaign, as well as regular posts on Facebook and Twitter both leading up to the event, and throughout the day.  The email component served as both support for the initiative, and also to encourage their current customers to join them on their social profiles with a clear call-to-action, and example of what they offer to fan/followers.  This promotion had fun with their offer and required fans to answer a question on a custom, fan-gated Facebook tab to gain access to the discount code (or the "Serendipitous Surprise").

What fan-only promotions have you seen recently that you either took advantage of or liked?  Share with us in the comments!