Sometimes it may seem that email and social media are involved in a competition for the audience attention. Oftentimes both communication channels demonstrate different approaches to what is called the customer engagement. Indeed, the different technological stacks both email and social media are built upon imply the techniques and methods that could hardly go together. In fact, email and social have different purposes when it comes to digital marketing. Email is the best at customer retention while social is unbeatable for the community communication.
The common practice of assigning two different teams for email and social is inherent in many big organizations having large marketing divisions. Whether such an approach is reasonable remains questionable. Isn’t it better to combine the efforts in order to create a true symbiosis between email and social media? Can both channels complement each other in achieving the goals to improve the relationships between brands and their customers? The professional bulk sending platform SendPulse reveals how to transform a competition between email and social into a fruitful cooperation which can lead to much better customer engagement.
A single spear instead of two arrows
At its essence, both email and social are aimed at delivering a message of a brand to a target audience. It looks like two arrows fired from the bow of marketing towards the same target. In fact, both arrows will reach the target with varying accuracy, nevertheless. In the perspective of ROI, the email arrow strikes harder while the social arrow entails more viral consequences. However, communication via Facebook or Twitter, for example, lacks personalization, sometimes. At the same time, a highly personalized email communication does not take into account the peculiarities of the dedicated communities. It means that email marketers have to disperse their efforts between email and social in order to “patch all the holes” in their overall marketing strategy. Developing our “weapon” analogy, let’s consider how to remake two separate arrows into a single spear to be able to absorb the best from both worlds.
Updating contact lists via socials
The fundamental basis of every email campaign is a customer contact list. Such a user database determines what should be sent to whom. And the outcomes of each campaign in the form of the actual ROI depend on how abundant and precise the contact list is. The customer databases can either be purchased from outside or created by the email marketers on their own. The latter approach is recognized more reliable and effective by the marketers. However, the sources from where the customers’ data can be withdrawn are quite limited. In many cases, it is limited to the opt-in forms on websites only. In such a situation, the audience following a brand’s community on social media can be a rich extra source for updating the contact lists. People who are hanging out at the socials of a brand will be interested in hearing from the brand via email most likely.
Preferences in exchange for subscription
Even though an invitation to subscribe to newsletters via social media may seem obvious, the marketers should figure out the best way of engaging the followers. A lot depends on every particular business. Nevertheless, another effort to educate the audience wouldn’t hurt. Two basic approaches should be applied to the effort. First of all, a link to a signup page must be highly visible and easy to access. In fact, this step should be as simple to take as possible for the customers. Another aspect relates to the advantages people can get when they sign up for your newsletters. Every customer comes to the question “what is in it for me” before subscription. And the marketers must know the answer beforehand. Moreover, they should pre-empt possible hesitations of the customers offering them a clear idea how they can benefit from the subscription. A certain discount in exchange for signing up for the newsletters may sound more attractive for the customers than a trivial proposition to know more about a brand.
The embedded signup technologies in socials
Implementing such a practice in their marketing strategy, email marketers should appreciate the browsing experience of the customers. It means that the subscribing procedure should not interrupt their surfing through social media. In order not to take the customers away from the social web pages they visit, the embedded signup technologies should be applied. In fact, the biggest social giants have already taken care of that. Both Facebook’s customizable tabs and Twitter’s lead generation cards offer the convenient and easy-to-use tooling for the email marketers whose task is to involve the social media community in email communication. Thus, the required sequence of actions implies using an opt-in tab on Facebook, for example, allowing users to sign up for your newsletters without having to visit your website or a landing page – everything happens right in the social.
Enforcing social engagement through emails
The above-mentioned methods are aimed at supporting your email campaigns through social media capabilities – your subscribers’ database can benefit a lot from the social communities. How to arrange a backward assistance when the social engagement is improved through email campaigns? The methodology is the same actually: add your social media icons to your emails. The assumption that your subscribers’ audience can likely be interested in joining your social community allows combining emails and socials. This is the simplest and, at the same time, one of the most effective approaches to expand your social communities via email marketing. Besides, this method proved itself since over 70% of email marketers have been practicing such a combination. Indeed, email campaigns can act as a powerful driver making your subscribers aware of your social activities.
Think twice before adding social links to emails
Nevertheless, before including social icons into your emails it is worth considering how relevant the links to your social media will be to the general goal of your email campaign. This is about the customers’ time after all. Email marketers should clearly understand that redirecting their customers from email to social they take time of the subscribers. Such a redirection should have quite reasonable grounds. In case the subscribers can get something valuable from your socials which cannot be achieved through your emails, the embedded social links are sufficiently justified and even strongly recommended. In other words, the main call to action of your email campaign should not suffer from the dispersed attention of your subscribers due to a social link driving them away from your emails. Thus, think twice before adding social icons to every particular email campaign. And if you are sure the social media can help to reach your email marketing goals, the social icons can be added to your emails as extra drivers of the customer engagement.
Email as a trigger of social activities
When a well-grounded reason of adding social links to emails is found, some certain approaches to the process can be applied. First of all, a very forcible email campaign dedicated to a direct promotion of social channels is worth trying. It means running a specially designed campaign engaging the subscribers to a particular social channel when email supports growing of a specific social community. Another approach implies a gamified contest the subscribers can participate to get something for free in exchange for following one or another social media of a brand. Yet another method of social engagement via email suggests using the so-called SWYN (share-with-your-network) links when subscribers are able to share a specific content from your emails directly to some social channel’s interface. It works especially well for sharing discount codes and various coupons through the networks your email subscribers follow. And of course, social media can act as a “placeholder” of email for the unengaged audience who does not like your emails for whatever reason.
The methods and techniques mentioned above reveal how email and social media can complement each other for improving relationships between brands and their audiences. Email can work as a trigger to promote various social activities while social channels can feed email contact lists with new subscribers. The advanced marketing methodology suggests making email and social channels closely interlinked in order to acquire their cumulative effect for more efficient and holistic customer engagement. Thus, the marketers are recommended to integrate the peculiar capabilities of email and social media in various combinations in order to find more creative solutions for their campaigns.