Using Social Media for Email ProspectingSeptember 12, 2012 By Brian Killen
One of the biggest challenges email marketers face when employing a prospect emailing campaign is figuring out how to deliver the most relevant offers to the right people. Blasting out a one-size-fits-all message to a randomly selected list, or to a targeted list based on demographics alone, could lead to a high opt out-rate, eliminating future communications with important consumers.
A couple of sources of highly valuable targeting data that are often overlooked by email marketers can be found within social media sites like Twitter and even blogs. Most social media marketing efforts focus within social media platforms in the form of banner ads, sharable content and brand pages. Meanwhile, social media platforms claim their influence rankings or number of friends may provide lift. On the contrary, the fact is the current influence tools have not yet hit a high mark because the complexities of identifying true influencers remain a hindrance and have not performed nearly as well as traditional offline data assets available in the market.
Social Media Informs Traditional Channels
A more effective social media strategy is to leverage social media platforms in order to inform traditional marketing channels, where brands already have robust platforms, experience and measurement tools. These are the platforms where consumers are already comfortable being marketed to, thank you very much. Think of social media as a conduit that brings you closer to your customers and prospects, allowing you to deliver more timely and relevant offers based on buying signals, life stage events, hobbies and interests that consumers openly share. You can blend traditional data elements to qualify the signals gleaned from social media to ensure you are messaging to people who fit your best target audience profile. There are a number of products and strategies available today that can be combined to take advantage of this opportunity. Here are a few suggestions that can help get you started:
- Social Login Buttons: Making the link between social and offline consumer data is key to harnessing the vast amount of unstructured data in the world of social media. There are endless approaches to making this link, but the easiest way to start is by enabling consumers to make the link themselves between their email, name and address with a social ID like a Twitter handle. You can leverage the social media platform's API and build your own buttons, or leverage a product like JanRain's turnkey offering.
- Social Media Monitoring/Listening: Once you have linked the social world to your offline consumer data, it is time to start mining the unstructured world of social media for marketing gold. Many companies already have a social listening solution in place for market research and public relations use. These platforms can be repurposed to identify buying signals, life stage events, hobbies and interests. Be creative on the choice of topics. Limiting yourself to only "I'm buying a car next month" leaves a lot of opportunity on the table when you might also include "I crashed my car last night" or "I don't think my sports car has room for car seats." If you don't have a capable tool in house, here are a few options to check out: Converseon, Attensity, Collective Intellect and Visible Technologies. Another similar service worth taking a looking at is PeopleBrowsr. They have a slightly different mix of services and could be a nice way to augment your program. Make sure you perform strict due diligence on vendor data and security practices to ensure you comply with your own company's policies.
Once you have identified what you think are the right capabilities and built some scale on your social linking program, you can perform lookalike modeling to scale up the results to other, similar prospects. Over time, you can add more sophisticated linking and signal sources like mobile apps and loyalty solutions. As an added benefit, these platforms will automatically link the consumer's information to social and mobile insights, thereby adding scale to your matching program and adding new layers of intent signals. The most important thing is gleaning intent and building a historical database of richer affinity and interests to augment the data and insight you are already working with.