Integrating E-mail and Social Marketing: Do's and Don'ts

  |  February 25, 2010   |  Comments

Avoid the cookie cutter approach when sending messages on Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail and three other factors to consider. Second in a two-part series.

My last column examined how savvy e-mail marketers are integrating social media into their online marketing strategies - and that includes knowing their audience and determining the importance of each channel.

In this column, let's look at four other points to consider when integrating the two channels:

Don't Be the Cut-and-Paste Social Marketer

As an agency CEO who sees great financial opportunities on both the client and agency side for social media, there are very few things that get me annoyed as the cut-and-paste social marketer. This occurs when "gurus" have convinced their company or client that they have mastered social marketing because they update all social media in one click. Under this scenario, if you are a fan or a follower of a company on Facebook and Twitter and other platforms, you get the exact same message.

This approach often spills over to e-mail, though the e-mail messages are lengthier. Each medium, in my opinion, is unique and deserves a specialized approach. Conversations, including tone and personality, should vary depending on each channel. Facebook, for our clients, is a more casual and fun conversation platform, while e-mail is a bit more buttoned up. Generally, the audiences reflect and drive that notion. And the same is true when providing offers and overall value to customers and prospects.

Brands that cut and paste content and offers on all platforms dilute the value of opting in to each experience. If you send me the same offer on Facebook as you do on e-mail, one will be ignored. Therefore, be sure to alter tone and value based on the conversation. It's worth the extra time and effort.

Do Share Content and Value

Content and value drive sharing; buttons do not. Including a "forward to a friend" button in an e-mail doesn't mean you've launched a viral campaign. Nor will your e-mail campaign automatically become social if you add a "share" button or Facebook and Twitter logo to the e-mail. Yes, that may buy you some time from the executive who just realized his company needs to have a social strategy. Dig deeper. I have seen too many e-mails that have huge share/add, Twitter/Facebook buttons above the fold (with no context added to them) and thus, distract from the real purpose of the e-mail.

Sharing is powerful; it can exponentially grow your message reach and facilitate engagement. But if your e-mail stinks, why would someone share it? Test placement and wording, and remember to give a reason for why someone should share the message or become a fan of your brand if they already get your e-mails.

Do Open a New Door if Another One Closes

During or after someone unsubscribes from your e-mail, test offer the person the option to become a fan on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. This doesn't violate CAN-SPAM as long as it doesn't intrude on the actual unsubscribe process or add an extra step. Some people may just be sick of your e-mails but want to stay dialed in with your other marketing efforts.

Do Build Lists Strategically

Social networks are underutilized for driving opt-ins of e-mail programs. Reminding your fans and followers that you offer great value via e-mail (assuming it isn't the exact same content as provided via social) is a no-brainer yet rarely done. More practiced is using your e-mails to build the databases of social (and to a certain extent, that really is what you are building on Twitter and Facebook). When done correctly, the impact can be significant.

One of our clients - a major consumer brand - used the success and momentum of its e-mail program to grow its Facebook page into one of the largest in existence today. It did so through testing and making clear that a great community was already in place.

That is the key in making a conversion; a click from your e-mail to a Facebook page isn't a score. Getting a subscriber to engage or become a fan is, though it isn't as easy as most think. Facebook is now making it easier for marketers.

Those with battle scars, please add your comments below on what has worked and hasn't worked when trying to integrate e-mail and social media.


Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of and, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at and

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