How Social and Email Helped Mazda’s Limited-Edition Preorders Sell Out Crazy Fast

Under the hood of the automaker’s timely digital promotion

Mazda bet big on social and email to tap into the classic roadster’s fervid fan base for its first all-digital pre-sale event to build buzz around a line of limited-edition MX-5 Miata cars.

In April, Mazda announced the sale of 100 25th anniversary Miata models at the New York International Auto Show. The brand quickly started churning out Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus posts to point consumers to a microsite where they could sign up to preorder the sporty car beginning on May 20. So, did these organic efforts pay off? Well, orders on the microsite filled up within 10 minutes, indicating that the digital work leading up to the promotion did indeed pan out for Mazda.

"We wanted to get the message out in a very concise way, so after we did the initial mass launch via the Auto Show announcement in New York, we then started talking it out in all of our social and digital channels,” said Russell Wager, vp of marketing at Mazda.

The Helloworld-powered site rolled out on May 1 with a countdown clock, asking car enthusiasts to type in their email addresses. Consumers could then sign up for an email reminder when the site went live, resulting in 1,600 email captures, Wager said.

A total of 250 sales leads were collected in the first 10 minutes of the promotion. Since only 100 cars were up for grabs, the additional 150 entries were gathered as back-ups in case some of the initial winners didn’t want to go through with buying the car.

The site generated 9,231 visits leading up to the promotion, and pulled in 6,519 clicks from May 20-26.

Mazda had intended to keep the microsite open for 10 days to turn out these 100 qualified sales leads, and credits some of the direct response-heavy social and digital efforts leading up to the promo as significant in triggering the the instant flood of responses.

The car brand has more than 1.5 million Facebook “likes,” a little more than 130,000 Twitter followers and roughly 820,000 Google Plus followers.

Between April 16 and May 20, Mazda posted a total of 11 Google Plus posts, 19 tweets and seven calls-to-action on Facebook. May 12 seemed to be the sweet spot in terms of engagement on Twitter and Facebook. Mazda’s tweet about the anniversary car was the brand's most retweeted tweet of the day, and a Facebook post the same day with almost 2,500 “likes” was shared more than 160 times.

“We have a huge enthusiast fan base first for Mazda, and second, specifically for the MX-5 Miata,” Wager said. “On any given weekend in the U.S., more people are racing in Mazdas than any other vehicle, and the majority of them are MX-5 Miatas.”

The Irvine, Calif.-based automaker now plans to follow up with the remaining 150 consumers who did not receive a car with information about upcoming product launches and offers as part of a push to ramp up CRM and loyalty efforts.

The microsite also now features a call-to-action to sign up for Mazda’s email newsletters.

"We’re actually using this as a little bit of a test case," Wager explained. "Maybe there will be some other limited-editions for other vehicles, maybe specific interior configurations [or] specific colors, but we’re definitely going to take this as a learning [tool] and we’re going to look to do this again in the future."