Participating in the world of social media marketing is a challenging and sometimes daunting task. It's all fairly new territory, and strategies are just emerging to quantify the impact of this channel on your overall marketing campaigns. Such a dynamic medium requires flexibility in your approach—and ultimately, the tools you employ to communicate to your customers. Marketers that use e-mail as part of the media mix can leverage dynamic scripting language to aggregate social networking content into their e-mail messages. What better way to justify your social networking ROI than with improved e-mail clickthrough rates?
These scripting processes can integrate social media content into various types of communications, such as:
- HTML e-mails
- Text e-mails
- Landing pages
- SMS (text) messages
The script is a signal for the marketing platform to run a process at the point where you include such content in your message. Such scripting technology can be used for all sorts of useful functions, such as creating relationships in data, adding metadata, providing logic control and formatting data values.
In addition to inbound uses for such scripting technology, e-mail marketers can take advantage of its outbound capabilities as well. The scripting language allows marketers to tag content for sharing in e-mails and to provide subscribers with the ability to share content with social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with the click of a button.
Takeout and delivery pizza chain Papa John's used ExactTarget's AMPScript technology in its March Madness e-mail campaign this year, which offered subscribers a chance to win a trip to the Final Four by joining Papa John's Facebook fan club. In the first three days of the campaign, the pizza giant added more than 45,000 fans to its Facebook page, bringing the total number of fans to more than 270,000.
This is just one example of how scripting can be used to integrate e-mail campaigns with social networking efforts. Other ways marketers might choose to share content depending on the type of communication or call to action are:
• Special Offers/Rewards—Many marketers enable sharing on special offers sent via e-mail that are specific to the individual subscriber receiving the offer. In that case, marketers typically make only one section of the communication sharable—such as a section called "Share the offer with your friends."
• Multiple Features—If there are multiple calls to action or features in an e-mail, marketers often make each item sharable and create content that is able to stand alone on social sites.
• Newsletters/Content—In some cases, marketers want to enable sharing on the entire communication, such as with a newsletter, so when the content is shared the viewer is presented with the information in its entirety.
Colby Cavanaugh is a partner marketing manager at ExactTarget, a provider of e-mail marketing and digital communication services. He can be reached at email@example.com.