Even though social media and e-mail marketing are often opposed to each other, in reality, there is much in common between these channels. Both revolve around communication and relevance. Naturally there are also differences, but social media, in a cross-channel marketing reality, are just like e-mail marketing an opportunity to start a meaningful dialogue with the customer.
In practice, we see that increasingly more companies are searching for possibilities to integrate social media and e-mail. Actually, it isn't really integrating, but more combining both and having them strengthen each other with the preferences of the customer as a reference point. However, many companies still have a hesitant attitude regarding this integration. A pity since you can really do very relevant things with the interaction between both channels, certainly if you use for example peer reviews, referrals, influencers and loyalty programs. The hesitant attitude is comprehensible in many cases. For companies from specific sectors, such as the media industry, one of the most important tasks of e-mail marketing campaigns is usually generating traffic. Many are fearful that, for example, the integration of social media sharing buttons would reduce traffic. Nevertheless, this is not necessarily the case, as you will read further.
Offering your clients various channels like e-mail and social media, depending on their preferences is one of the ways to counter marketing fatigue.
This post contains three important strategic tips to have e-mail and social media strengthen one another in function of your customer and business goals.
1. Have social media and e-mail marketing strengthen one another in function of the customers
Many marketers include social sharing buttons in their e-mails with a single purpose: to enlarge the reach of their mails. In itself there is nothing wrong with doing that. Identifying online influencers and making content in your e-mail "share-worthy" will enlarge that reach even more. Social media presences, like a Facebook page or blog often also contain a registration form for the e-mail programs and to recruit more subscribers. However, also do the opposite: make sure that your e-mails attract "fans" and followers on social media. After all, it is about the customer, the connection and the interaction, not about the medium. Why, for example, not an e-mail campaign to find people that are interested in your social media presences and as such have an extra channel to interact?
2. Identify your customer's behavior on social media, in e-mail and on the intersection of both
There is surprisingly little overlap between the subscribers to your newsletters or e-mails and your social media "fans". Identify the behavior and the needs of both kinds of customers, because they are customers, even if they often don't "buy" anything (yet). Ask the subscribers of your e-mails which social networks they use. The other way around, ask your social media users how they feel about (your) e-mail program (and at the same time offer them the possibility to subscribe). There are also ways to find the social media accounts of your customers, based on their e-mail addresses. However, many people use different addresses to subscribe to social networks and newsletters. From that perspective, it is always interesting in CRM to gather both the work address and private e-mail address of your clients. And finally, when you blog, for example, don't forget your RSS feeds. RSS is often used by readers, among other via FeedBurner, to receive e-mails when you publish new content. Integration and cross-fertilization are possible here as well.
3. Select your social media tools depending on your objectives
As said, many companies, among other things in the media industry, are afraid that including social media sharing tools will lead to a "cannibalization" of their traffic. In other words: they are afraid that offering, for example, a Facebook sharing-functionality in an e-mail will lead to a fragmentation of the traffic. In practice this is mostly not the case and links on social media in time only lead to more traffic (bookmarks, incoming links, SEO,…), but naturally you have to test. Whether you are an online publisher, e-commerce company or B2B player: select the social media sharing tools depending on your target groups, the behavior and the needs of your clients, as explained in the points above, and obviously of your objectives. For instance, in the case of an online publisher, including a Twitter button will lead to more 'reach' and traffic if the sharing tool is used in a proper and clear manner and the content is worth sharing.
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