Digital Marketing, Email, Social Media Case Studies, Email Marketing Advice

Runza Combines Social Media and Email – Something to Chew On

Remember, the goal isn’t to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media.

Here’s one of the best ways to live that creed. Proactively use your social outposts to drive behavior among your current and prospective customers that has a higher value than just a one click “follow” or “like.”

We get so caught up in social media empire building that we sometimes forget that we’ve already invested years of effort and many dollars into building other elements of our businesses, like websites and email lists. While it’s true that these legacy programs are the Jan to social media’s Marcia, that doesn’t mean they aren’t tremendously effective.

runza facebook pageThat’s why I was happy to see Runza Restaurants using their custom Facebook landing tab as a sign-up mechanism for their “Tast-e-mail” program. “What’s a Runza” you ask? Son, you clearly are not a Husker. Runza is as much a part of Nebraska as corn, Tom Osborne, and the penis of the prairie (the iconically phallic state capitol building).

Runza is a (perhaps not coincidentally) football-shaped pie filled with delicious ground beef, onions, runza insidecabbage and spices. Sort of like haggis, but wrapped with dough instead of stomach. Or, the world’s most fabulous Hot Pocket.

One Goal. Multiple Channels

Runza’s commitment to the Taste-e-mail program doesn’t end at Facebook, either. The home page of the Runza website devotes significant real estate to email sign-up (although I wish you could subscribe from the home page itself, rather than having to click to another page. Conversion studies have shown that being able to sign up without a click increases response rate considerably)

It’s interesting that the website sign-up for Runza’s email program asks for mobile phone number to opt-in to text message offers. I love this idea, but curiously the Facebook sign-up form doesn’t include this field. Puzzling, since upwards of 150 million people access Facebook from a mobile device monthly.

I also wish that Runza (and almost all companies) asked for Twitter handle and/or Facebook address. This would make it a lot easier to determine how Runza could connect with its customers in social media, could it not? Instead of asking for birth year, city, and state (plus zip), couldn’t Runza instead ask for Twitter handle? And wouldn’t they be more likely to get that information?

Immediate E-Gratification

Runza does a great job with the initial email once you’ve signed up. Within seconds I received a confirmation with a bar coded, time stamped offer. That’s the way to do it. Drive action by putting a time limit on redemption. If I was still in Nebraska, I’d be at drive-through right now.

runza in storeI don’t, however, love the way Runza handles the in-store sign-up process. It’s terrific that they are promoting the Taste-e-mail via tents on each table in the restaurants. But, they ask me to go to the website or ask an employee for a sign-up form. Seriously? The Runza website doesn’t allow sign-ups from a mobile device, so I either need to take a picture of the sign-up form, steal it, or go to the counter and ask a harried Runza worker for a paper form. None of those options are very convenient.

Why aren’t they directing me to Facebook (which isn’t even mentioned). Or better yet, why aren’t they allowing email opt-ins via text message – a fantastically effective way to build email lists at point-of-sale?

Mmmm. Social Media plus Email Marketing. Mmmm.

There are many elements of this Runza program that I love, including their commitment to a particular, high value, user action (email subscription) across multiple channels. I love the Facebook landing tab. Asking for mobile phone number is smart, too. Yet, there are details of this program that could be improved, and the inconsistencies in data collection and approach lead me to presume that different people at Runza are responsible for different components of this effort – as is often the case.

The best practice is to first take the cake you’ve already bought, and then add social media frosting to it. And the optimal way to do that is to use one set of bakers.

Overall, this Runza email/social effort is done well, and if you ever find yourself in Nebraska, you need to try one. Trust me.