Over the last year or so, there have been countless articles describing social media and email marketing as an either/or proposition. It seems that marketers sometimes forget that the goal is not to be an excellent social media marketer or email marketer, but to be a results-driven source of conversion whether your business objective is a click, a call, a sale, or a “like.” Ultimately, our customers and clients expect us to meet them where they prefer to engage. Often that means using multiple channels with various messages – the classic “marketing mix” we learned in school, but with new tools and messaging strategies.
Email and social media actually play quite nicely together, and each enhances the other in many ways.
- Social media extends the reach of your email marketing with the integration of social sharing tools. Integrating “Like” or “Share” on Facebook or links to tweet or share in other social networks are tools your subscribers are more likely to use than the “forward to a friend” links of yesteryear. The more trust you build with people in social media channels, the more likely they are to open your emails, click through to your landing pages, and convert.
- Social media can increase the return on investment (ROI) of your email program. Ask your customers to share offers with friends for additional incentives or simply to be a good friend. Let subscribers “share” a specific offer in your email (ExactTarget and Lyris HQ make this easy), discuss the offer on your Facebook page or on Twitter, and drive new subscribers who may be enticed by that one offer you happened to mention. Using social tools, you can also identify your key influencers and offer them special incentives to be your brand ambassadors.
- Using social media tools can improve your brand awareness and reputation. Social media has opened a floodgate for consumers to speak their minds, and speak their minds, they do. Don’t be afraid – even if your customers are unhappy, when they offer fair and constructive feedback in your social channels, your honest and prompt response will turn even the loudest complainers into raving fans and build trust among your followers and fans. Social customers are surprisingly tolerant of human foibles as long as you own up to them and communicate consistently.
- You can grow your email lists using social tools (and grow your social networks using emails). One easy way to do this is to integrate newsletter content or offer an email list subscription form on a Facebook landing page to drive qualified opt-in leads directly to your list. Using social media channels to complement your email marketing and other marketing efforts allows you to add names to your opt-in list organically, reducing cost of other lead sources. It also contributes positively to search engine optimization (SEO), web traffic, and positive sentiment about your brand across the web. Add social media badges for each of your social properties to each email to let subscribers know where they can extend the relationship and engage with you, potentially encouraging their friends and colleagues to sign up with you. With customers connected to your company through both email and social media, you have a powerful opportunity to build your relationship and trust with them.
Of course, in all of this opportunity lies challenge as well: Content has to be compelling and sharable for this to work. You will need to carefully monitor the feedback loop you now have in social channels to fine-tune your message, offer, creative, and more. You will have to identify which social sites your target audience use and how and where they interact or share the most. You have to give your readers a compelling reason or incentive to share and be bold about asking for it. And if you successfully drive new prospects through social channels, you’ll need to devise landing page strategies that convert them to subscribers and customers in their own right. In all of this, you will also need to consider consistency across channels so that they are distinct but work well together so your audience gets a cohesive message seamlessly as they navigate.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities? Just give FulcrumTech a call at 215-489-9336 or email us. We can help you integrate social media and email to make the most of both channels.