In this era of digital marketing, the strongest communication channels available for marketers to engage with their customers are social networking sites and email. However, these two platforms are distinct categories and the same customer’s responses on each will be different. So, industry experts advise that if you want to maintain strong, reoccurring ties with your customers, it is better to find a find a balance with social media and email marketing rather than rely on one of them alone.
According to the Exacttarget Marketing Cloud 2014 State of Marketing study (which surveyed more than 2,600 mid- to senior-level marketing managers across all industries) by leading cloud computing company Salesforce.com, a good percentage of marketers have raised their budgets to incorporate both email and social media marketing techniques in 2014. Around 57% of marketers plan to increase the number of emails sent out in 2014 while around 49% are planning to send more than half a million emails in 2014. Though the study shows the capabilities of social networking sites have not been explored much, around 66% of marketers claim that these sites indirectly influence their business performance.
Amalgamating email and social networking platforms would definitely help you harness the best of both worlds to spread your marketing message.
Social Media vis-à-vis Email
Social networking sites offer a myriad of possibilities to build your connections and market your products or services. By analyzing the number of ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘retweets’, you can learn more about your customers such as what their interests are, how interested they are in knowing about your product or service and so on, allowing you to communicate with them more effectively. Posting free offers or contests on a social networking sites like Facebook is a great way to drive attention.
Once you build strong connections, you can conduct your internet marketing using the advertising options that these sites offer. Social networking sites are most promising platform for successful cross-channel marketing (the ability to connect with potential customers across different mediums) owing to their peer-to-peer accessibility.
If social networking sites offer insights on how customers respond to your content on the whole, email offers a direct, personal link to help you target specific interests. Email creates a direct path between you and potential customers. Providing email forms on your website allows customers to provide you with their email addresses so that you can establish contact with them, get their permission, and send out your marketing messages. Email-based marketing strategies are particularly useful for small businesses. The success of this marketing technique depends on providing content that can really catch their attention.
Integrating Social Media and Email
Though social networking sites offer several kinds of opportunities to market your product or services, challenging your audience personally via these platforms can be quite challenging. Email campaigns, on their part, lack the so-called viral component that improves customer connections. That’s why a strategy that combines both would work best to build connections, engage with your existing customers and build new contacts – all at the same time. Here is how you can integrate your social media and email marketing campaigns:
- Prepare your content
- Update your various social networking profiles with the content
- Ask your audience to sign up for inclusion in your mailing list. You should clearly specify the benefits they will get from doing so. Video appeals can be used effectively here.
- Measure and analyze audience response to your content
- Identify the content that interests your targeted customers the most and create and send out emails based on that. You can also use such content to create newsletters and ask them to subscribe.
Suppose you are promoting your product by offering gift cards through Facebook’s contest feature. You can ask people to sign up for this offer with their e-mail address and specify whether they want to receive occasional emails about promotions and new offers.