In November, StrongMail Systems surveyed online more than 1,000 business executives across a variety of industries to determine their biggest digital marketing challenges in 2012 and their plans for 2013. Of the executives surveyed, 65% plan to integrate email marketing with social media and 46% plan to increase email marketing spending on programs that drive social media-channel growth. Also, 56% of executives responding plan to increase their email marketing budget. Social media paired with email as part of an overall strategy will be extremely effective, as integrating these two marketing tactics can provide a substantial ROI. There are a number of ways to make this happen—the two most significant are centered on data and content. You can gather an amazing amount of data and insight into your audience in the social space. Being able to recognize in your email campaign the behaviors of your subscribers on your Facebook page or in reference to a Twitter reference is a savvy way to leverage social. Additionally, including social content within the context of your email communications is another relevant and powerful way to add social flair to your email messaging. Highlighting such elements as Twitter feeds or Facebook comments, or even a view of your Facebook wall, provides the recipient with a succinct view into what is happening with your brand socially. If they are engaged in the channel it will provide recognition; if not, it may encourage the recipient to engage with your brand there as well. Other ways to bring social into your email strategy include:
- Adding social sharing buttons in emails;
- Giving email subscribers a reason to share and connect by offering coupons, discounts or compelling imagery;
- Cross-promoting email subscription in your social channels and vice versa;
- Leveraging email and social together to create a powerful word-of-mouth referral program.
Clearly there are a number of ways that you can integrate. It is best to first determine what you are trying to accomplish and then build a plan that supports your defined goals and objectives.
Kara Trivunovic is VP-marketing services at StrongMail Systems, a provider of email and cross-channel marketing solutions.