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

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.

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