Email Marketing + Social Media = Better Results
Since the start, and meteoric rise, of social media, many businesses have turned their marketing attention away from email to this new, increasingly popular and potential-rich channel. They’ve forecast the growth of one, social media, as the demise of the other, email.
Only, as the years go by and the social media networks increase in number and users, email hasn’t fallen by the wayside. Far from it. Email continues to grow, and remains far bigger than even its biggest social media ‘rivals’. Worldwide, there are three times as many email accounts as all of the Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. And the widely held prediction is that email traffic will only increase more in the coming years.
The customer experience of email and social media
The fact is people use email and social media for widely different purposes. Social media is primarily for having fun and staying connected to people – and studies have shown that marketing messages aren’t particularly welcome there. People may follow, like and share your brand through their social networks – which provides its own powerful business benefits – but they don’t want a hard sell because of that.
Email is a different story. It’s where, and how, people organise their lives, for work and for home. Perhaps that’s why it’s not so surprising that the 2012 Channel Preference Survey revealed that 77% of online consumers would rather receive marketing messages via email than any other marketing channel.
This has put the email campaign back into the game with a vengeance. The focus is no longer email marketing vs. social media but email marketing + social media. Successfully integrating the two is the goal of businesses far and wide, large and small.
7 ways to integrate email marketing and social media
- Add social network icons to your emails. If you have social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc – it’s important to add their icons to your emails. First, it ensures that your subscribers know you’re there and it provides them with an additional channel to communicate with you through. Second, it can increase the click-through rate of your emails – by as much as 30%, according to GetResponse’s ‘Email Marketing and Social Sharing Media Integration Report’.
- Directly encourage sharing. Now that your email subscribers know that you’re on the social media networks, ask them to share your messages, promotions, etc with their contacts. Often businesses incentivise this request with special offers, free products, etc because consumers are all-too-aware of the power they hold in being able to extend the reach of your brand and business through their social channels.
- Send a dedicated email about your social media presence. If you’ve recently joined a social media network, or are providing exclusive offers and/or information through one, send out a dedicated email to announce this to your subscribers. To make this even easier, most email service providers have ready-made social network templates that you can utilise.
Be sure to consider how people will benefit if they do follow you, be it special deals, helpful tips or valuable information, and clearly communicate this in your email.
- Email sign-up from social networks. If your Twitter tally is taking off, or your Facebook friends, don’t be shy about asking people to sign up to your email list through these networks.
- Build an email opt-in form on Facebook. Another quick win for email marketing/social media integration is to take advantage of the fact that Facebook allows you to embed an email sign-up form as one of your apps. It’s a great, simple way to encourage your Facebook friends to opt into your email list.
- Utilise social media testimonials in your email marketing. If you’re receiving positive feedback and praise through social media networks, make sure to incorporate these messages into your email marketing. As they come from real customers, they make for a very powerful endorsement of your products/services and can positively influence potential customers.
- Use social media data to provide opportunities for targeted messaging in your email marketing. Thanks to social media, and the metrics available to analyse the data it provides, you can find out more about the people that follow you than ever before. Like what social networks they’re on, how they interact with social media generally and with your brand in particular, if and how they’re sharing your content, any enquiries or complaints they have about your products/services, etc.
The more you know, the better you can target your marketing messages to achieve better results. For example, most email service providers include metrics on who has shared your emails the most often, and also the effect their sharing has had on opens, clicks and conversions. This enables you to identify your biggest supporters, and to send dedicated emails to them to ensure their continued support.
Rather than marketing rivals, the truth is that email and social media can provide powerful, accountable results when they work together. That’s what the smart businesses are focusing their efforts on, and where you should be too.
About the author
Shannon Forbush is a freelance creative director and copywriter in the UK with over 15 years’ marketing experience. She is writing here on behalf of email marketing company little green plane, an industry leader and provider of award-winning software, campaigns and services.