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Consumer Email Behavior: Leveraging Social in Email Marketing

  |  September 24, 2012   |  Comments

Nine sound bites for improving social marketing effectiveness. Part four in a series.

This is the fourth column in a series that features insights from a consumer survey conducted by my firm. This survey was completed in May 2012 and features results from nearly 400 respondents. The previous columns address "Leveraging Mobile in Email Marketing," "Using Images in Email Marketing," and "The Impact of Relevancy and Frequency."

Consumers continue to have a great appetite for email, as 97 percent check their personal email account every day, making it the leading text-based consumer communication channel. However, we can all recognize the ubiquity and explosive growth of social sites and applications. Data from my firm's study reveals this growth:

  • 59 percent report to update their Facebook status on at least a daily basis.
  • 33 percent shared something in a marketing message on Facebook or Twitter, which interestingly is equal to the amount of consumers that report to have recently signed up to receive online banking statements or e-bills in the last six months.
  • 30 percent report to have posted on Twitter.
  • 22 percent report to have re-tweeted something on Twitter.

Clearly consumers are engaged with social, and this together with the popularity of texting in our mobile, always-on, connected society, we live in what our firm terms a short-term society. That is, there are many things vying for our attention and social plays into that. The short-term nature of today's mindset and messaging has created a new vernacular. We're talking in sound bites. In honor of that nugget of truth, here are nine sound bites to take away from a webinar that I did for Act-On recently that focused on improving social marketing effectiveness:

Leveraging Social Media: 9 Truths

  1. Consumer behaviors influence B2B. Consumer email behaviors are the behaviors that envelop our day. We take our cues from our daily life. What we learn to do as consumers, we take into the workplace…our ideas are formed from what we do in our consumer lives.
  2. Email is an integral part of social marketing. Email was the first social networking tool. Email is our digital fingerprint; you need an email address to have a Twitter account or most social accounts…if you're going to do anything online, email is a part of it. Email is not separate from the social marketing world; it's an integral part of it.
  3. You can learn from segmenting social data. Start to segment your social data. You need to understand: Who are these people who are following you?
  4. It's important to make social sharing easy independently of the entire message. When was the last time that you shared an entire message? You get The New York Times brief every day and you shared everything in the brief on your social network? No, you shared one specific story that was very interesting to you. Make those things actionable; make it easy for consumers or subscribers when you're sharing things via social in an email, to do that by an element within your email, or by story.
  5. You can learn from listening. Listening is so important…use tools to listen to what advocates and detractors are saying about their experience with your brand.
  6. Don't start with more than what you can maintain. Start with what you can maintain, because again it's about relevance, content frequency, and content freshness. If you create a (Facebook) page and you're asking people to follow you, you're not going to get much of an audience if you have nothing to say. It's like blogging or on Twitter or any of those social platforms - there needs to be a frequency and you need to be contextually relevant to why they're following you.
  7. You should be using social to drive prospects to your website. If you're not monetizing that audience (on social networks), you really want to take them, just like with an email, and drive them back to (your site) where you can monetize that audience.
  8. Social platforms will change. Facebook will continue to push its changes on its audience without an interest in what the audience has to say…so don't shun change when it comes to any of these social networks.
  9. Attribution is necessary. Attribution is attributing that click to the proper channel, and how do you do that? There are a lot of benefits to attribution including which channels are driving response and value. This can have a profound impact on budgeting and determining ROI…whether you're doing it based on the last click or the first click.

I will explore some of these tactics in greater detail in future columns.

Until next time, all the best,


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David Daniels

For more than 20 years, David has been an industry proponent. Direct Magazine said David is "one of the most influential experts in email marketing, if not the most influential." Co-author of "Email Marketing An Hour A Day," David has held senior level positions at Forrester and JupiterResearch, Apple, Anthropologie, MacWarehouse, Proteam, and retailers that dotted the early days of CompuServe. David advises many industry organizations including the OTA, DMA, eec, and has been a contributor to the Weekend Today Show on NBC. Learn more about connected marketing and download free research with registration here. Follow David on Twitter @emaildaniels and learn more at www.relevancygroup.com.

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