Have you noticed the recent love affair between email marketing and social media? Check out a few of your latest emails from your favorite online retail sites.
I’ll give you an example. I just got newsletters from Staples and Pareto Logic. Both, along with numerous others I’ve received, provide me the opportunity to join them on Twitter, Facebook and other social sites…to share and allow others to opt in to be able to receive these emails.
So…what’s the advantage? Why not just ask these subscribers to forward the email to a friend?
After all, email itself can be viral…spread when you forward emails to your friends, family and co-workers. However, email itself is like a contact virus compared to an airborne virus when something moves via social media. A study done by Silverpop shows that while emails are likely to be forwarded or shared with 1 or 2 people, a S2S (Share to Social) is likely to result in a 24% increase in reach on average. So…it really does make sense that smart businesses want to add social media to their email marketing efforts.
You’ll notice I didn’t say “replace their email marketing efforts”, but rather add to those efforts.
Direct marketing, “snail-mail” USPS efforts have been partially replaced by email, and for some businesses, completely replaced. Email is more cost efficient, but…still…it can’t replace that touch and feel of “real” paper…the visual, tactile sense that people get with direct marketing efforts. So direct marketing is still done…and still effective. Just…not in the same way it was.
When you’re comparing email marketing to social media marketing, you know the amount of visual information that you can put on an email can’t be contained in a “tweet” or a “writing on the wall.” But the small amount of text, and the links that you can share on social media sites is “out there”…essentially on a bulletin board where everyone can reach in and grab it, where they can see and share much faster.
At first, email marketers had a real fear that email marketing would quickly disappear when social media came in. I think that fear has abated…albeit not disappeared…as it became more and more apparent that using both…together…made so much more sense.
More and more commercial emails come with embedded social bookmarks. It’s a great idea, and definitely something every email marketer should either already be doing…or strongly considering.
Like all marketing techniques, there’s a difference, though, between just doing it…and doing it well. So, if you haven’t already done so, before you plunge into the addition of embedded social bookmarks, consider these things:
- Why would your subscribers share? Make sure there’s a link next to your social site share button that provides education and support for this call to action.
- Which social sites does your target audience spend the most time? These are the “Share” buttons you’ll want on your email. Keep your eye on these statistics…because they change.
- Test your social sharing button locations. Do split testing to determine the best placement for best results. Make it easy to share.
- Test everything else. When you’re integrating email with social networking, test to find out what gets shared. What is “share worthy?” Use more identified “share worthy” content in subsequent emails, and keep testing.
Communication methods change constantly and grow exponentially. You’re always trying to keep up with a new communication method.
Marketing…not so much…really. It’s still about one person talking with another, persuasively presenting something that may fill a need…either a physical one or a psychological one. As you move from one means of communication to another, you’re just learning to do the same thing…differently.
That’s what keeps marketing exciting…almost…like making old wine into new.