It’s a new year, and our sights are turned towards making 2012 a successful one for our email marketing programs. There are so many ways one can “optimize” an email program (a word being used as much, if not more, than relevance these days).
Depending on the maturity of your email program, your product or even your company can drive the needs of this optimization effort. But one thing is sure: no matter where you sit in maturity, you can benefit by more effectively integrating social into your program this year.
Talk about having the world at your fingers; consumers are out there talking about you. There's no need to pay for a focus group -- it is all out there for the world to see. While I know I am teetering on becoming master of the obvious, since this topic has been discussed more than once over the course of the last 12 months, I wanted to share some ideas on integrating email and social more complex than the inclusion of a “share with your network” link in your email header (Is that even really integration?).
OK, so you have 1,000,000 Facebook Likes, 2,000 Twitter followers and 4,000,000 email addresses. So now what? Following are a few tips for integrating email and social for your programs’ success.
- Email and Social Opt-In
I would venture to guess that there is little overlap between those worlds -- and as we have long known, online marketing is not a “build it and they will come” type of situation. You need to provide a reason for your customers to engage with you in different channels – and what better way to draw attention to the other possibilities than by leveraging the channels where customers are? Alert your email subscribers to your Facebook presence, let your Facebook Fans sign up for your email communications on a tab and auto respond to your Twitter Followers with a link to your email subscription -- and so on. Approach these channels as a cohesive conversation, not just a one-sided attempt to talk at your customers.
- Listen and Learn
Want to know what the focus of the content should be for your next email newsletter, or what product is currently trending as “most interesting”? Listen to the social Web to find out. Customers are out there talking about your business – and what better way to respond relevantly than by featuring those areas of conversation in your communications?
- Keep to a Theme
As you grow the effort, the hope is that customers will be engaging with you in multiple channels – so you are going to want to make sure that there is some sense of cohesiveness to the experience from one channel to the next without directly duplicating the content you are sharing. Avoid the days of old, when email marketers would simply take their direct mail post cards, drop them into an email and call it a day. Many marketers are now simply taking their email content and putting it on Facebook. But if I can get exactly the same information in both places, chances are I will default to only engaging with one or the other.
- Take Your Learnings and Apply Them
Subject Line testing for your email communications can help you optimize your open rates -- but did you ever think how those learnings could be applied to Facebook ad headlines or Status Updates?
- Incorporate the Conversations
Bring the tweets and posts that are happening into the content of your email and feature them. Your customers trust other customers more than they trust you -- so let them do the work for you. Not only does this bring attention to the other channels where you have a presence, it also brings that sense of community to your email programs.
Provide offers that are specific to the channels where people are engaging -- or provide “preview” access. For example, provide offers that are only available to your Facebook Fans, or give your email subscribers early access to sales or offers before they are available in other channels.
Remember, you can use any of these approaches singularly or in conjunction with one another. No matter your business, your approach or your stage of maturity – leveraging these tactics are sure to impact your email program. (Side note: this is likely one of the few times you will not hear me say “it depends” -- but don’t get used to it.) Happy New Year!