The debates have raged on long enough.
94% of internet users use email, while only 61% of them use social media. Social media marketing attracts fans to itself and engages in ‘pull’ marketing with 47% of Americans saying that Facebook is their #1 influencer for purchases, while email marketing is all about ‘push’ marketing – much less desirable.
“Email is so ‘yesterday’. Social media connects with Millennials.” Or “Social media is so frivolous and unaccountable. Email marketing gives measurable results.”
The truth is these conversations are missing the point entirely. As marketers, our choice of platforms does not depend on the one that is considered ‘coolest’ or the one that is easiest to measure. The platforms we pick depend on which ones give the best results – both quantitatively and qualitatively – in growing brand value and adding to the company’s bottom line.
If those are our yardsticks to measure a platform’s performance, then both email and social media turn in some stellar performances. So looking at the issue in all fairness, the best approach today would be to strike a balanced symphony between email marketing and social media marketing instead of picking one over the other.
Here are ten ways to achieve that.
1. Put social sharing buttons in your email
An email without social media buttons is a salad without it’s dressing. Social media buttons – whether they are ‘Like’ buttons on individual items in your emails or ‘Share’ buttons for the entire email itself – offer an added level of interaction between the users and your brand. It gives that much-needed zing to your email marketing that plain old text and image content falls short in.
An extra layer of connection between your brand and your email user serves to bring the user a tad bit closer to your brand in the long run. Besides, encouraging an existing user to follow your brand on social media is easier than getting a complete stranger to follow your brand on social media.
2. Ask your followers to sign up for your emails
Just as you encourage email recipients to share emails they like with their friends on social media or to follow your brand on social media using ‘follow’ buttons in your emails; it makes perfect sense to cross leverage social media to benefit your email marketing efforts by encouraging sign ups.
As Noah Kagan says on his blog, multiple platforms is key to marketing success:
People need multiple touch points to take an action. It’s good to ask them to subscribe in multiple places (YouTube, Twitter, email, etc.). Don’t assume your audience prefers only one point of contact.
This tactic netted him 50 new subscribers the first day he used it.
3. Share content from social sites in your emails
Got a great review from a fan via social media? Talk about it in your email newsletters! Carried out an interesting poll on social media? Share the results via email too!
Amplifying social content to your email newsletters helps attract more people to follow you on social media. All the interactions that social media creates can add credibility to your email content.
4. Tease your emails on social media
Email allows brands to go in-depth on various topics – something that social media restricts you from doing. Let your fans and followers get a taste of the detailed analysis, research or insights that you share with your subscribers via your email newsletters by sharing snippets of your emails on social media.
5. Maintain your brand across all platforms
A critical aspect of syncing your email and social media marketing efforts is to maintain a common voice on both platforms. This is easier said than done, as generally these two functions are handled by separate teams.
It pays to make a conscious effort to get both teams on the same page. Use the same brand guidelines and personality on both platforms to avoid user disconnect.
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6. Share complimentary content
A user that has subscribed to your social networks and your email newsletters does so in the hope of exponentially higher value from your end. However, when you copy-paste the same stuff on social media that you sent out in your last newsletter, you are essentially boring such customers and taking away their fundamental reason to follow you on both platforms.
Offer fresh content that is designed to work best on each medium, but keep in mind that these pieces of content need to be complementary and related to the same overall theme and tone of your marketing campaigns.
7. Offer goodies to ‘overlapping’ customers
If you want double the love from your users, be prepared to offer the same back to them as well. Give your users tangible incentives (over and above great content) to follow you on social media and on email.
This could be in the form of a coupon, a free goodie like a branded t-shirt as a keepsake or even a valuable white paper on a topic that is relevant to them.
8. Conduct contests and surveys on both
Once you have a common audience across email and social, engage this audience with activities that lend themselves well to both platforms.
Carry out contests using social media and email, with winners being showcased via both platforms as well. Conduct customer surveys or quick polls via email and social media with equal ease.
9. Bridge the social gap
On Facebook and Twitter, you can upload your email subscribers then target them with ads. It’s a fast and efficient way to show them new products or encourage them to upgrade. You can also use those email addresses to find and follow your subscribers so you can start a two-way conversation with them on another platform.
10. Gain deep customer insights
Both email and social media offer brands a wealth of information regarding users. From detailed profile information of users, to their preferences, likes and dislikes, a peek into their social activities, how they engage with your brand, the type of content they consume, the content that results in actual sales and more can be obtained by putting together email and social media analytics.
Use this extensive pool of data to build unique customer profiles for each user. These 360 degree profiles would work best with the user’s email ID as the central pivot around which all the data would be organized and would help in customizing content right down to each user’s level to maximize the chances of conversions.
To wrap up
Americans now spending over 16 minutes per hour on social networks. Similarly, 75% of all online adults choose email as the preferred mode through which they would like to receive brand information.
A happy marriage between these two marketing powerhouses has the potential for some real fireworks in your marketing campaigns. So put aside your doubts and acknowledge the importance of both these platforms in their own right. Leverage their individual strengths and let them make up for each other’s shortcomings to create a beautiful marketing symphony that users will enjoy!