Authors Stephanie Colleton Director of Professional Services firstname.lastname@example.org Julia Peavy Director of Professional Services email@example.com
Table of Contents Chapter 1: The Trends Chapter 2: Best Practices
Expand Your Reach
Chapter 3: Pitfalls to Avoid Chapter 4: Key Takeaways
Chapter 1: The Latest Trends
Email is still holding strong as a marketing channel. Source: ExactTarget Subscribers, Fan, and Followers Study, 2010
Consumers who love social also love email
Marketing executives expect to increase spending on social and email
Email is still the most popular way to share content by a wide margin. Source: April 2011 “Content is the Fuel of the Social Web” report by AOL and Nielsen
54% of marketers see better results when social is combined with email.
Chapter 2 Best Practices: Expand Your Reach
In this example, Coldwater Creek includes an email sign up box that promotes “exclusive email updates” on their Facebook page. By promoting the exclusivity of the email program, Coldwater Creek is providing their Facebook followers a reason to sign up for their email program.
In this example, ValPak includes a sign-up form for their daily deal emails right on their Facebook page, helping to increase conversion by simplifying the process for their social media followers.
Sierra Trading Post uses their blog to provide valuable information to their audience, and includes a call out with an incentive to drive people to sign up for email. Subscribers are provided with something “extra” (25% off their next order) for signing up for the email.
Vail Resorts posts their snow totals and takes you to a link where you can sign up to receive these notifications via email. What could make it even better? Include some text promoting the ability to get this info via email. Something like “Get the snow totals delivered to your inbox!”
Of course for customers who don’t want to interact with your company by email, social can offer a different way to stay connected. On the Cost Plus World Market unsubscribe page, subscribers have the option to follow the company on Facebook or Twitter.
In this example from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, there is a little blood drop icon with the other social media icons. It takes the subscriber to a page on the LLS website that explains the details of their social media presence. (Next page …)
This is a great way to aggregate all opportunities subscribers have to stay in touch with an organization to foster community. It could be improved by calling out the destination more clearly in the email.
Another more direct approach we’ve seen some marketers take is to send a standalone email asking subscriber to join the company’s social network. In this example, Initials has created a promotion called Facebook Friday in which subscribers can receive free products each Friday by being a fan.
In this example from The Limited, they are specifically promoting Twitter and do an excellent job of listing reasons why a subscriber would want to follow the company.
NASCAR offers an incentive to follow on Twitter. Like most incentives this works because it’s targeted. It is only appealing to people who are like to be fans of the brand.
Chapter 2 Best Practice: Encourage Sharing
In this REI example, the ability to share content is included at the bottom of the email. However, it is not clear what content will be shared. The entire newsletter? The mega deals? The backpack? Ensuring subscribers know what content they will be sharing increases response.
In this Whole Living example, subscribers are able to share the content via email or several social networks via the “ShareThis” call to action. The sharing call to action is clearly linked to the content and easy for subscribers to understand.
In this Mamapedia example, web site visitors are able to share the deal via Facebook, Twitter and email. While social sharing is growing, email is still the primary way to share content. Include all opportunities to allow subscribers to share as they want.
This California Psychics blog allows readers to share the content via Facebook, Twitter, and email. In addition, they include the ability to sign up for the daily horoscope newsletter.
One seemingly simple best practice, but one we’ve seen executed poorly, is to make sure your share link displays on your subscriber’s social network in a way that optimizes your brand and content. We’ve seen several marketers include share links that show a generic, unbranded post. In the example above from a well known national clothing retailer, this subscriber’s friends and followers will have little idea what their friend has shared with them.
Chapter 2 Best Practice: Be Interactive
In this example, Williams-Sonoma is encouraging interaction with video content. The arrow, as well as the screen shot of the video entice the subscriber to click. Williams-Sonoma also integrates subscriber feedback with the 5 star rating from the web site incorporated into the email. This subscriber feedback helps strengthen the message and support a more “social” and community feel to the email.
In this example from Force Factor, they not only include pictures of fans on Facebook to encourage a sense of community, they also include social media chatter within the email.
This newsletter from Betty Crocker has a number of interactive features: 1. A link to a survey on the new design of the newsletter. 2. Four calls to action for each recipe: click to see the recipe, share it, print it and add it to the subscriber’s online recipe box 3. A prompt to see the answer to the latest ask the expert feature.
But wait, there’s more! On the bottom half of the email the interactivity continues: 1. A few voting call outs, one for recipes to make for games watches and one for spring recipes. 2. A “rate this email” feature at the bottom of their emails to gain direct feedback (beyond analyzing opens and clicks) from their subscribers on how useful their emails are.
Chapter 4: Pitfalls to Avoid
Common Integration Mistakes While there are many benefits to integrating the social media and email channels, it is also important to be aware of tactics that may negatively impact on successful integration. Below are a few common mistakes to avoid:
Inconsistent messaging. Ensure that the purpose of the message you are conveying in both the email and social channels is the same. Avoid offerings discounts or promotions in one channel that you can’t honor in another, especially if users are likely to interact with your brand across both channels. The tone in both channels should also be consistent for a streamlined and holistic brand experience. Weak brand voice/personality. Social media offers a unique opportunity to give your brand a voice and personality. This can be carried through into your email campaigns as well; however, the brand’s persona should be clear to consumers. Who is your company? What is your company passionate about? Your definition of your brand’s personality should be consistent in all social content and email marketing. Inauthentic content/information. The purpose of creating consumer interactions through a social media presence is to build consumer relationships with the brand. As a result, social content cannot have an aggressive sales message focused solely on product promotions for driving purchases. The secondary benefits of a successful social media strategy may well be increased sales; however, social content should focus on increasing brand engagement by providing valuable content to consumers and two-way interactions that are unique to the social and email channels.
Chapter 5: Key Takeaways
Double The Impact Email and social are don’t have to be competing marketing strategies. Used together they can complement each other to drive response for both channels. Look at your program holistically. Use your emails to drive sign-ups for social and use your social efforts to drive email subscriptions. Scan your whole website and all of your emails. Make it easy to share content from your emails using both email and social. Make it easy to share content from your social sites. Make sure it’s very clear to your user what he or she will be sharing – an offer? An article, a whole email? A specific blog post or a link to the blog in general? Finally make sure it’s clear to the recipients of the shared content what they will be clicking through to. The post or email should be specific. Make your content share worthy. Email needs to be more interactive than ever. And your social posts should encourage a conversation. Look to receive feedback and engage followers.
Need help?The Social Email Solution A comprehensive plan for integrating your email and social media programs. For more information go to www.returnpath.net/proservices
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