As stand-alone tools, email and social media can each play a valuable role in achieving your marketing goals. Marketing tactics are changing to include on-line communities. And email marketing remains a viable marketing tool.
It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each channel to use them effectively. Email has long been a preferred tool for lead generation because it is cost-effective, isn’t technically challenging to implement, and can be easily tracked. However, most emails lack an interactive component that can deeply engage an audience.
In contrast, social media is an excellent tool for informal, interactive conversations, building brand awareness and sharing information. However, relationships on social networks are very easy to taint by continuously “hard selling.”
A recent study by GetResponse found that including an option for social sharing in email increase click-through rates by as much as 30%.
(source: Get Response)
The study also showed the number of social media links impacted click through rates.
(source: Get Response)
Mini case study: Dick’s Sporting Goods provides a real life example of how effective this strategy can be. Last winter the company sent an email containing an interactive scavenger hunt for a discount code. The digital scavenger hunt required recipients to complete three steps to receive the discount code:
- Like the company on Facebook
- Follow the company on Twitter
- Opt-in to mobile messaging.
The campaign increased membership in their online communities, increased mobile opt-ins, and improved sales via a one-day sale offer. This was a B2C example, but B2B can integrate social media tactics as well.
As with all marketing initiatives, you must first define your goals and understand the specific characteristics of your business and customer; what worked for Dick’s Sporting Goods may not be the right approach to your target market.
Here are some questions to help you evaluation social media tactics for your organization:
- How do you do you want your audience to engage with your brand via social media?
- Do you have the resources to manage and create relevant content consistently for your social accounts?
- Which social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are most applicable to your target audience and your brand?
- What is your primary goal (e.g. lead generation, feedback, engagement)?
Only after you understand your goals and needs should begin selecting tools, because implementation will vary based on needs. For example, if your goal is to engage your audience and build your social community you might include links to join your social network versus a link to share with friends, which would only result in an increased audience.
Once you’ve defined the strategy, social media can be used in conjunction with email in a number of other ways like:
- Increasing your email opt-in list by allowing users to sign up on your social network profile page
- Leverage social media like a virtual focus group to monitor customer conversations
- Expand brand awareness by including a “Like Us” or “Follow Us” button in your emails. The recipients connections will also be exposed to your brand.
Aligning email and social media efforts can yield noteworthy benefits: from deeper customer engagement and increased reach to improved email campaign relevance and better ROI.