Despite the rumors and meteoric rise of social media in recent years, e-mail marketing is far from becoming a lost art form. Instead, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social media platforms can provide serious momentum to an e-mail campaign, and vice versa.
But exactly how do you go about blending these two approaches? How do you take a good old-fashioned e-mail pitch and turn up the social volume? Based on my experience providing e-mail and social media marketing solutions to businesses, here are four ways to work the two approaches together to reach more customers.
1. Add an e-mail opt-in form to your Facebook page. Reel in a boatload of fresh subscribers by thinking inside the box—an e-mail opt-in box, that is. A simple, straightforward box in a color that pops might be all you need to convert an occasional visitor into a subscriber in a matter of seconds. Throw in a non-pushy call-to-action, such as, "Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter" or "Get Exclusive Info and Special Offers" and watch the names on your mailing list multiply.
Need some inspiration? Check out the Facebook page of Birdy Botanicals, an organic skincare company that also does a great job of using the space above its newsletter opt-in box at the bottom of the page to promote popular products.
2. Send a social media-designated e-mail campaign. A short-but-sweet e-mail announcing your new Twitter account will likely land you a bunch of new followers. If you're really anxious to get the ball rolling, most e-mail service providers have ready-made templates for these types of announcements. For example, a Twitter e-mail template may feature a blue-and-white color scheme with the platform’s signature bird. Be sure to add a sentence or two about what people will get when they follow you (tips and tricks or special deals, for example). Include your company logo, a call-to-action button that says “Follow Me!” that links to your Twitter account, and you’re off and running.
3. Make it easy for people to find and share your content. Let your messages travel beyond the confines of customers’ inboxes by including social sharing buttons in your e-mails. This encourages readers to share your content with their friends, and works particularly well if your content includes a special offer or coupon. You should also add "follow me" buttons to both marketing and transactional e-mails, in case people don't know that you’re on social media.
Pet Camp, a family-owned pet boarding facility in San Francisco, does a great job of raising the "woof" with their online marketing by including social sharing and follow buttons near the top of all their e-mails. They also post all their hosted e-mail newsletters to Facebook and Twitter.
4. Build a social media campaign around your e-mails. If you’re announcing something big via e-mail to your subscribers, it’s also a great opportunity to extend the content—and conversation—into social media. Let's say that you operate a small, independent winery and are preparing to unveil your newest cabernet with an e-mail newsletter. Once that’s sent, you can schedule a series of Facebook posts featuring photos of the harvest, or links to recipes that pair well with the wine. A real-life example: When King's Hawaiian Bakery revealed its new island-style hot dog and hamburger buns to their e-club members this summer, the 87,000+ Facebook users who Liked the post were also treated to a bunch of recipes featuring these new items.
When it comes to making your e-mails “go social,” always remember to entice customers with a great incentive for interacting with your company—one that can't be found anywhere else.
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, which provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses and non-profits including e-mail marketing, social media, event marketing, direct mail and online surveys. She's also the CEB (Chief Executive Blogger) of the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog for Small Businesses.
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