In recent weeks, two deals in the email marketing space have caught our attention: Constant Contact’s acquisition of NutshellMail and Exact Target’s purchase of CoTweet. These deals combine two of the leading services for managing your company’s email communication (we previously looked at three great options here) with emerging social media management tools.
With tens of thousands of businesses already relying on Constant Contact and Exact Target’s services, we’re about to see a new wave of interactivity between small businesses and their customers as these two email giants begin integrating social media into their toolsets. Let’s take a closer look at what each of them do:
NutshellMail lets you track and manage your social media accounts from your email inbox. With support for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Ning, users get an email digest with information like their friend requests, comments, replies, new followers or even a list of people that have stopped following them.
The selling point of NutshellMail is that it serves as a filter for all of the noise you get when you sign onto social media sites. There are tons of customization options, including which information you want to see, how often you get the digest, and even the ability to reply to people on social media sites through email.
Thus, if you don’t have the time to monitor all of your accounts all day – or are more active on LinkedIn than Twitter for example – NutshellMail is a perfect solution for staying up-to-date with the information you care about. Constant Contact’s thinking in acquiring NutshellMail is that it will help their customers improve the quality of their email marketing, since they’ll be far more in-tune with what their customers are saying in the social media sphere. We think that makes a lot of sense.
ExactTarget is taking a similar approach with its acquisition of CoTweet. In a statement released when the deal was announced, the company’s CEO said that they did the deal to “deliver new innovations and help drive your business by bringing together the power of email marketing and social media.”
CoTweet is a different brand of social media management than NutshellMail, however. While NutshellMail looks to simplify by reducing noise, CoTweet is a hands-on Web-based application for actively managing your company’s Twitter presence. Features include keyword monitoring (like your company name or that of your competitors), the ability to view your conversation history with different people, and stats tracking for your links.
It’s also very much a CRM tool designed for mid-to-large companies – for example, you can assign tasks to other users (CoTweet supports multiple accounts), allowing different levels of access to different employees, and get notifications to see who’s working. And CoTweet is used by a number of big brands – Ford, JetBlue, and Coca-Cola are some of its customers.
The message behind these two deals re-enforces the obvious: small businesses are embracing social media, and Constant Contact and Exact Target realize they need to get ahead of the curve (or catch up to the curve as the case may be). Email marketing remains vitally important to businesses small and large, but now these providers are looking at it from the perspective of becoming both broadcasting and engagement platforms. We expect the trend to continue with email marketing services either building or acquiring tools that can make their products more social.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto,scibak