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How do you create a holistic, integrated email marketing strategy?

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The key is to consider how to take advantage of the strengths of other types of media, mainly social and mobile, to effectively combine them with your e-mail marketing strategy. Your ultimate goal should be to deliver optimized, consistent, targeted and relevant messages across channels. This will ultimately drive your campaign toward improved customer and prospect engagement while providing a greater marketing ROI.

Here are some tips on how to effectively master this:

Enable and promote social sharing tools. By including social media widgets in your e-mail messages, recipients can post some of your content to the related social network. You can also direct recipients to social sites, such as a blog, instead of a Web landing page. Not only will this extend your email campaign's reach, but it will also link your email marketing efforts to what you do socially to provide a 360-degree view of the brand.

Research your subscribers' preferences. It's important to tailor your e-mail marketing to the frequency and content preferences of your subscribers, but you should also determine on which social media sites your audience participates. Then listen to what they're saying so you can use that intelligence to craft and test email marketing campaign messages and offers. In addition, monitor if your subscribers prefer to engage with your emails via mobile devices and act accordingly. Mobile works well in conjunction with social for extending viral campaigns as part of your integrated strategy.

Connect email with Web analytics and social monitoring. This helps to assess the effectiveness of a campaign. Consider how many impressions e-mail drives to other channels. Which campaigns drive conversion in both the long and short term? What blend of metrics do you need to evaluate campaign performance? What new insights can you gain about subscribers from other channels? This information will help you learn which areas of your integrated campaign are successful and where you have room for growth.

Remember the overall idea is to integrate social and mobile channels so they aren't treated as separate from email but are part of an integrated strategy for how you interact with people.

Rusty Warner is VP-product marketing at Alterian (www.alterian.com), a provider of customer engagement solutions.

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