The replacement theory has never proven true in the digital marketing business. TV was supposed to replace radio. The Internet was supposed to replace TV. And with all due respect to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks, the death of email has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, last summer Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told a digital marketing conference that "email is probably going away
It’s still here, and still powerful. Like most displacing technologies and applications, social media has changed the game but has not canceled the game anymore than the Internet has canceled TV.
Social media is a powerful force. If it can be harnessed to fuel email campaigns, then companies need to embrace that power. Social media and email can work together. In fact, they must work together to make digital marketing and messaging work at maximum speed.
Here are five ways to bring the power of social media into email campaigns.
Give customers the social option: GetResponse’s "Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Report," released in June, showed that email messages that included a social sharing option such as share, recommend or Tweet, generated 30% higher click-through-rates (CTRs) than emails without a social sharing option. Messages with three or more sharing options generated 55% higher CTRs. Emails with a Twitter sharing option returned over 40% higher CTRsthan messages without any social media links, indicating the benefits of sharing may be vastly underestimated. Including social media sharing options adds to the email campaign. Email customers are a company’s most qualified ambassadors. Let them spread the message and your email campaign works more efficiently.
Be aggressive; be committed: The old advertising saw says: “No one ever got fired for buying more TV.” Same goes for email. A July Pew research project found that email is just as ubiquitous as search. More than 92% of adults use email every day. According to Pew, email is similar to search (and many other online activities) in that the youngest online adults, the college-educated, and those in the highest income categories are more likely than others to engage in the activity. If email is a consistent part of the marketing strategy, it will be easier to integrate social links and then use the social media element as a point of customer engagement.
Play by the old rules: Just because an email campaign includes social media icon links, don’t throw the rest of the rule book out the window. Define the campaign goals. Is the desired outcome more social media “followers?” Or is it to get customers to convert on an offer as well as share it? Social integration still demands campaign planning and optimization solutions include speed and efficiency for transactional emails, split testing, and related feature-based improvements designed to maximize results.
Build new lists: Facebook can be a great vehicle for attracting and retaining email addresses. Just as email can drive users to Facebook (or other social sites), Facebook can drive users to your email list.
There are a few ways to accomplish this goal. First: designate the sign-up tab as the default -landing pageon your fan page. That way users who have not yet become fans will see this tab first when they arrive on your fan page. Next you need to encourage users to enter their email addresses. This will work at a basic level without any additional incentives. Being a fan should logically lead to a desire to be part of an email list. But incentives can take this effort to a new level. Think about loyalty points, special discounts or exclusive information in return for a social-media-driven email address.
Keep your social contacts updated: And if you’re going to send your emails to this specific group, make sure you create valuable and targeted content and personalize the messages so that they retain LinkedIn communication style.
Remember that email adds value for the customer’s relationship with your company. Make sure that part of that value is extending the social experience as well.