Social Media & Email Marketing Integration Part 1: The Business Case

September 9, 2013
By TowerData

bang for the buckWith all the buzz social media has seen lately, you might think it’s time to move your marketing budget away from email and focus exclusively on social media. You’d be wrong.

Email still works. In fact, 75 percent of social media users said email is the best way for brands to communicate with them, according to a MarketingSherpa survey.  What’s more, social media usage actually makes people even more engaged with their email inbox. A 2011 survey by marketing agency Merkle found 42 percent of social media users check their email more than four times a day, compared with just 24 percent of non-social media users.

But email can’t work in a silo. And more importantly, your customers don’t want it to. Ron Rogowski of Forrester Research explains: “For customers, a major frustration is the inability of companies to leverage data to maintain continuity and context from one touch point to the next.”

That’s why, to get the most bang for their marketing buck, smart marketers integrate their email and social media strategies. Here’s how you can leverage this integration to full advantage.

Expand Reach

Email messages can point readers to your social networks, which can encourage likes and followers. And social networks can share content from your emails, which can encourage new opt-ins. A Silverpop study showed that adding “social sharing” buttons to email messages increased the reach of an average email by 24.3 percent. And a StrongMail study showed nearly half of business leaders plan to increase their investment in email marketing with the intention of driving growth in their social media channels.

Identify Key Influencers

DJ Waldow at Social Media Examiner points out that most email service providers (ESPs) offer metrics on who shares your emails and how this sharing impacts other metrics, like opens, clicks and conversions. “Once you’ve identified these key influencers,” Waldow says, “you can send dedicated campaigns to your biggest supporters.” This could give your general campaigns a whole new set of legs.

Amplify Promotions

Say you’re planning on running a promotion on Facebook that will launch on Wednesday. Starting on Sunday, you can send highly personalized emails announcing the promotion, effectively driving traffic to your Facebook page. You’ll end up with far more hits on your Facebook page with this cross promotion approach than you ever could with a social-only approach. In his eBook “Almost Everything About Email,” Loren McDonald of Silverpop calls this approach “Sideways Marketing,” and he believes it’s the direction in which all digital marketing is evolving.

At the end of the day, it’s all about customer preference. As Waldow poses, “Why limit your communication with prospects, customers and/or fans to one network?” Take advantage of all of the channels at your disposal. Give your customers options, and leverage these options to provide the most interactive, seamless customer experience possible.

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Photo Credit: ~C4Chaos

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