E-commerce Link : The Dynamic Duo
How to harness the powers of email and social media to drive your marketing campaignsJanuary 2013 By Reggie Brady
All the buzz today is about social media, but keep in mind email is a productive channel that provides a high ROI. Let's start with research from the DMA in late 2011: Email is the channel that produces the highest ROI. For every dollar a marketer invests in this highly profitable channel, the ROI in 2012 is $39.40.
It makes sense to leverage email and social initiatives to drive business for your company. Let's address some ways you can do this.
Get the Opt-In Buy-In
Marketers are missing the boat if they don't use social media to collect email opt-ins. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are wonderful for branding and engaging customers. Thus far, e-commerce has not worked well. Customers are "liking" or "following" a brand and commenting on their experiences, but most companies find that this is an experiential environment and not a selling environment.
One way to influence your fans, followers and social visitors is to motivate them to sign up for your email program.
• Retailer JCPenney has a dedicated area on Facebook called "Get Connected," where individuals can sign up for email and mobile alerts.
• Nonprofit Habitat for Humanity has a Facebook area called "Habitat World," which encourages emailsign-ups.
• Publisher Condé Nast Traveler has a Facebook tab for "Upgrades and Extras" that promotes a series of partner sweepstakes offers. Each offer includes the option of signing up for the magazine's email program.
• Email service provider Silverpop provides a call-to-action to sign up for the company's e-newsletter.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
It takes time and effort to create your email newsletters and promotional campaigns. Leverage this effort by posting your content or offers on social media channels, as well. But remember, it's important to vary the message to each audience.
• Retailer Brooks Brothers tweets about its recent emails. For example, an email promoted the company's non-iron shirts for women. On Twitter, the post began "Ladies, enjoy 3 ways to style our classic non-iron …" and linked to the email.
• Chili's restaurant sent an email with the subject line "Free App? Free Dessert? You Choose!" On Twitter, the tweet was "Celebrate Saturday with a FREE App or Dessert!" which linked to Facebook.
• Marketo, a B-to-B marketing automation firm, relies on whitepapers to build awareness. The company promotes these in email and on social. On Twitter, the tweet was "The Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing: Download our brand new 80-page e-book for Free." On LinkedIn, the company promoted the same material with the headline "Secrets to Social Marketing Success: 6 Questions You Should Be Asking."
Leverage Your Campaigns for Sharing
Not every email is share-worthy. Your strategy will vary depending on the type of communication you send. Just think: If your content, product or offer compels just 1 percent of your audience to share, then you have extended your reach.
E-newsletters provide wonderful grist for compelling your audience to share. Readers often want to share the particular article that piqued their interest.
• Entrepreneur.com's email presents four or five articles, and after each content clip there are links to share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
• Other newsletters will have a dedicated section for social sharing. Sometimes this area is near the top and other times it is a section of the newsletter. I believe the editors want to have a clean, uncluttered look and sprinkling sharing icons after every piece of content adds additional design elements that make the layout look busy.
• Modern furniture company Design Within Reach (DWR) has a newsletter titled Design Notes. It includes several social elements in the header—links to the DWR blog, DWR videos, and to Facebook and Twitter. In addition, there are clear calls-to-action to participate on social.
Promotional emails will generally include sharing icons either near the top of the email or the bottom of the email. Both approaches are viable; although, until your reader has digested your products and offers, they may not be ready to share.
• I like the way Dick's Sporting Goods promotes sharing. The company includes icons near the top of emails promoting forward-to-a-friend via email, Twitter and Facebook, as well as viewing a mobile version.
• King Arthur Flour takes the opposite approach. Most of the company's emails provide great recipes that all depend on flour. So, the scrumptious treat is front and center with links to access the recipe. After the main content, there are sharing links.
Target Your Advocates
Most email service providers allow you to track who has forwarded or shared an email. These are your brand advocates. Even if this group is small, they are actively spreading the word about your products, services and offers. Come up with a plan to treat this group with kid gloves. Perhaps it's a very special offer, but make sure that you are relevant to this group in your email and acknowledge they are some of your special customers. Oh, and then you might suggest they share the offer with friends and colleagues.
These are a few ideas to allow you to integrate email and social channels. They are easy to implement and will contribute to sales and profitability. Put them in place today!
Reggie Brady is president of Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions, a direct and email marketing consultancy. Reach her at (203) 838-8138 or firstname.lastname@example.org.