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Social media and e-mail marketing: Closing the gap

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Many businesses view social media as entirely different from e-mail marketing. True, social media provides consumers with a new way to find content from a brand. At the same time, organizations see value in personalized e-mail marketing services tied to their customer relationship management processes.

While both social media and e-mail marketing are useful and attractive to businesses and consumers, the two worlds are often divided in execution. That's why I say it's important to crush the barriers between social media and e-mail in your organization's departments.

Here are several ways to integrate social media into your e-mail marketing campaigns:

  • Offer an e-mail sign-up form on your social pages. Collect and nurture those people who do sign up by providing more information or a special offer through your Facebook, Twitter and blog sites. Include a Web form with as few fields as possible to optimize for conversion—ask just for name and e-mail—and have your e-mail marketing campaign do the work following up.
  • Include your social media presence in e-mails. Select a few of the top social presences that you want to have people “like,” follow or subscribe to, and brand them by inserting their names and links at the bottom of your e-mails. For more effectiveness, include a benefit explaining, briefly, why people should connect with you that way.
  • Highlight top social content in e-mail. Maybe you've published a killer blog post or ran across a great article. If so, share it. Highlight it in your e-mail newsletter. People love to feel like you're knowledgeable and helping them by finding resourceful and interesting content.
  • Leverage social media research to boost engagement. A quick way to spice up your e-mails for your social audience is to augment headlines so they are extremely appealing. Often called “link baiting,” these noticeable headlines encourage others to link to your website. You can use such Web services as Delicious, Topsy and TweetMeme to analyze the impact of various headlines across different topics, for insights that can improve (in turn) your e-mail campaigns.
  • Employ video. Video is still an underused element in e-mail marketing campaigns and yields a great opportunity for businesses to grow with it. Take a few minutes and shoot a quick video with a minicam, then include a link in your e-mails. Now you have people watching and sharing your content instead of merely reading it. Not only will this help communicate your message, it also makes you more visible to search engines.
Social media is very much a part of the ongoing, ever-changing communications strategy for businesses today, but it doesn't have to work alone. It's all about an attitude shift, to bring bright minds—yours and your customers'—together in both social media and e-mail channels.

Joe Manna is community manager with marketing automation company Infusionsoft. He can be reached at joseph.manna@infusionsoft.com.

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