Twitter and E-mail as a Media Channel

  |  November 19, 2009   |  Comments

The crossover of social media and e-mail as a marketing channel. And how Twitter can become the e-mail marketer's best tool.

I've become increasingly interested in analyzing the crossover of social media and e-mail, as a marketing channel. To a certain extent, channels like Twitter, e-mail, and mobile share common ground and require overlapping skill sets for proficiency. They are all push media -- pushed out to prospects and read either on a phone, an inbox, or a twitter feed. There is immediacy -- a "here today, gone tomorrow" aspect to this type of marketing that not only binds them together from a marketing standpoint, but makes it difficult to monitor and report on competitive intelligence.

My company has started monitoring the Twitter space. The data I'm collecting is as fascinating as when I first started monitoring the e-mail space. First, it's amazing how much the two have in common: e-mail has a subject line, Twitter has the tweet. An e-mail has a body text, Twitter has a link to a landing page. Right now, I'm only monitoring brands that are sending out offers via Twitter that include an embedded link driving traffic back to a particular offer page. Being able to see the overlap in offers -- e-mail versus Twitter -- for a particular campaign is fascinating, both for when they complement each other and when they don't.

Take for example, On November 17, just a few days ago, it sent out two different e-mail campaigns. One was a standard "Get 15 percent off" sale for the week with a promo code. The other e-mail campaign was much more "personality" driven, supposedly being sent by "Josh the Intern" to promote UGG Australia boots.

On the same day, it sent out five different Twitter campaigns. One was promoting the UGG Australia boots with a $20 gift code. One was for its fall clearance sale. One pushed people to its blog, another pushed people to an interesting article which mentioned The final one was a direct response to someone who mentioned the blog article.

Seven unique and targeted pieces of marketing collateral going out in one day. And because of the strategy of making the e-mails seem like blog posts, the blog posts pushed by Twitter, and Twitter offers that seem like e-mail, none of these efforts seem like overkill. It's actually staggering when you think about it.

And when you compare the Twitter channel to more traditional media channels, you can begin to make connections that help explain social media in terms that the traditional side of the house will understand: reach, frequency, and effectiveness. Think of a tweet like a television commercial: you purchase media time on various outlets that expose the message to a pre-determined number of eyeballs to meet a specific media objective.

In Twitter, you can look at it the same way. There's a unique reach number for each tweet that changes dramatically from brand to brand and offer to offer. Brands can attract followers or influencers that act as a television station: rebroadcasting your Twitter offer to their followers, who then can broadcast it to their followers. Each follower has a specific influence ranking determined by how many followers they had at the time they rebroadcast your message, multiplied by the number of times they have broadcast your message: reach and frequency. Gross Rating Points for Twitter!

As an example, look at Marvel, which is one of the top performing "advertisers" in the Twitter space. As of right now, Marvel has around 44,000 followers. But over the last few weeks, it sent out 151 Twitter offers. But more than that: 246 "influencers" have directly rebroadcast that message to their followers. Add it all up and Marvel has exposed its offer to over 66 million eyeballs over the past few weeks!

And look at the difference between offers: seven tweet offers were sent out on November 17 promoting Marvel properties. Five offers weren't rebroadcast by any of the influencers for Marvel and had an overall reach of about 43,000 eyeballs. But two offers were picked up by multiple influencers, boosting the potential reach of these offers to over 1.4 million (one was about a Thor movie update that was rebroadcast by seven influencers. The other was a pre-Black Friday subscription offer for Facebook fans).

By using tweets to try out various offers, identifying those that can increase the reach of your message, Twitter can become the e-mail marketer's best tool.

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Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder and chief evangelist for Email Data Source, a competitive intelligence resource for e-mail marketers. He was named one of online advertising's 50 most influential people by "Media" magazine and one of the 100 people to know by "BtoB Magazine." He's been a recognized pioneer in interactive advertising for over 10 years.

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