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Integrating Email Marketing for Small Businesses

  |  February 16, 2012   |  Comments

You must understand what your demographic and your audience finds valuable enough to share.

Mark Twain once wrote in a letter in 1897, "…the report of my death was an exaggeration." This too can be said of email with so many experts proclaiming its demise. The reality is, email marketing isn't dying just yet, but it is changing. It's becoming more efficient, especially when integrated with your other marketing channels. The trick to being successful at it in today's socially-engaged world is that the marketer has to understand their audience, not just a demographic.

With the growth of social media, experts were proclaiming that surely this was the channel that would kill off email. That couldn't be further from the truth. People still subscribe to email lists because they want to get that information right to their desktop; they don't want to have to go out and search a social community or go to a search engine to find the information that they are interested in. There's a convenience factor to email that a large segment of the general population still finds attractive.

Unfortunately for the user, there's no way to communicate back with an email in a way that appeals to social channels, and most emails come from a generic email address that a human doesn't man. This is where integration comes into play. Remember with your email list you already have a captive audience that is interested in your message; make sure that you give them every opportunity that's available to become engaged with you. This means using a more enhanced means of email marketing than the old-style "list serve" system.

Email Marketing Has Become "Socialized"

No longer is email marketing about a plain text email being sent out, which is why the rise of very affordable email services like MailChimp, Blue Sky Factory, and Constant Contact has taken place. These types of services offer an array of "social add-ons" where you can make sure your email marketing message can be engaged with on your available social channels. They also make it easy for any small business owner to launch a socially-engaged email campaign.

Some of these services allow you to segment your email lists by way of how subscribers are socially engaged. For example, if you were running a specific campaign just on Facebook, you could send out a very targeted email campaign to subscribers on your list that also use Facebook with that same email address.

Integrating With More Analytics Than Ever

Any of the email services that offer the social media add-on also offer some very slick analytics. Paying attention to these analytics will help you in the long run of building a successful email marketing campaign. You'll be able to see not just open rates, but on which links your subscribers are clicking on that aren't going directly to your site.

When you combine those analytics with analytics from your website and insights from other social channels such as Facebook or social media monitoring services, you'll be able to see just how to tweak your email marketing messages to appeal to different segments of your audience and customer base.

Don't Limit Your Email to Just Text

Social media's rise is also a boon for email marketing. No longer do you have to send just a plain text email. You can add in photos, videos, and even audio, which can increase the open rates and click-through rates of your email marketing campaign. This is also an opportunity to work with exclusive content with a very captive audience; one that wants to not only receive your message but to share it.

You can even add "share" buttons directly into your email campaigns for different types of content you are promoting. If list subscribers are opening your emails, they are certainly finding what you are sending them rather valuable and a lot of times they want to share it with their friends. That's why your campaign should make it very easy to allow your list members to share the content with their networks. That's the type of integration any small business should love.

Integrating your email marketing strategies with other channels can be done rather easily; it just takes a bit of planning and reviewing your analytics. Remember, the foundation of your success in integrating your email marketing campaigns with your other marketing channels lies in understanding both your demographic and what your audience finds valuable enough to share.



Liana Evans

Liana "Li" Evans is the author of the award winning social media marketing book, "Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media" and she is the president and CEO of Da Li Social, as well as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University's Mini MBA Program. Liana has also been featured in the books "Online Marketing Heroes" and "Video Marketing An Hour a Day." As an established online marketing industry veteran with over 15 years of experience she's focused her unique skillset to specialize in integrated marketing and how companies can successfully strategize integrating all online marketing channels as well as offline traditional media. Her deep technical combined with a public relations background enables her to partner with clients for establishing successful online marketing campaigns that combine cross-channel tactics cohesively.

Li was the search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing architect for such companies as QVC and Comcast (Fancast) and has consulted with several other different sized companies such as AOL MovieFone. Her wealth of knowledge in dealing with large e-commerce and content sites allows her a wider perspective into what it takes to launch successful marketing campaigns in the online space.

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