Support E-Mail Marketing Through Facebook

Over the past few weeks, many e-mail marketers have been engaged in a great debate over how to best explain e-mail’s role in a Web 2.0 world. Facebook has ended that debate.

E-mail marketers realize e-mail’s value to prospects, customers, and business associates. You probably recognize the value e-mail has in everyday life to maintain schedules, keep up with friends and family, and act as a foundation for facilitating organization and communication.

But to many of the C-suite, the hard-core media planners, and Web 2.0, social networking, and digital marketing gurus, e-mail is an old, unsexy application that’s lost its zing. In their minds, the way to effectively communicate in today’s environment is through persuasive, customer-driven content, and branding.

Here’s my message to those who don’t think e-mail plays a role in this new realm: befriend me on Facebook and see how integrated and critical e-mail has become in the Web 2.0 world.

I started playing around with Facebook just a few weeks ago and became fascinated with the way it leverages e-mail — as most social networking sites do — as a core component to drive site traffic, otherwise known as brand loyalty and product usage. With this correlation of e-mail and product usage, does Facebook even know how strategically sneaky it’s become?

Here two ways Facebook uses e-mail to impact core branding and marketing efforts. Use these ideas within your company and determine if any could impact your results as well:

  • E-mail drives repeat traffic. If you visit Facebook, then move to another online activity, at some point you’ll receive an e-mail advising you that someone wrote you a note on your wall. That note can’t be viewed unless you return to Facebook. This prods you to move quickly.
  • E-mail drives product trial and promotion. Widget downloads include viral e-mail components. This is huge. If someone’s vampire bites you on Facebook, you can’t bite them back unless you download the vampire widget. This is great use of product trial impact. The best part is when you download a widget, you get an automatically populated page with all your friends in it and a prepackaged e-mail waiting to be sent, asking them to download the widget too. Why don’t all product downloads use this?
  • Facebook may very well be the hottest social networking trend these days. And it uses e-mail to drive interest, usage, and loyalty. Marketers can learn a lot from watching the social network’s e-mail program develop and applying it to their own businesses and efforts. It’s inspirational to see how e-mail continues to add value and grow.

    Join us for ClickZ Specifics: E-Mail Marketing on October 2, in New York City.

    Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

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