Mixing e-mail with social

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B-to-c marketers are already melding social media and e-mail marketing, a tactic that marketers and analysts alike say is an important piece of a company strategy. However, b-to-b marketers aren't completely on board with the strategy. In fact, a Silverpop poll of more than 1,800 marketers (“Exploring the Differences and Similarities of B2C and B2B Marketing Tactics”) found that while 42% of b-to-c marketers are including links to social networking sites in their e-mail marketing campaigns, only 29% of b-to-b marketers have done similar integration. Ready to take the next step with integrating social media and e-mail marketing? Jason Peck, product manager of social media for interactive marketing firm eWay Direct, points out one little-known secret and one widely believed lie. Secret: Social marketing can provide a better understanding of a prospect, and may end up yielding the holy grail of e-mail marketing: the e-mail address. Twitter especially can yield more than just an e-mail address. When you share your own personality or the personality of a salesperson or company representative, you can form bonds between your company, its products, and prospects and customers, Peck said. This means you may end up tweeting about more than just your latest product announcement or acquisition. “Today, there's a whole other side of building a relationship with customers,” he said. “Maybe you see one of your followers was just at the beach that you go to, too. Now you have something in common. There's no reason to shy away from authenticity and personal connections.” You can tweet about the beach today, he said, and at the same time be building trust for a future purchase decision. “People look to friends when it comes to purchasing decisions, even in the b-to-b world,” he said. “Social networking, when done right, can help you become a trusted friend.” And one of the things that friends give each other? Their e-mail addresses. “Someone is going to want to hear more from someone who is giving them good information in one marketing venue,” Peck said, “so getting them to sign up for your newsletter may become easier.” Lie: Just adding links to your social presence will increase your reach dramatically. Sure, you can insert links asking people to follow you on Twitter or join your Facebook fan page. Your salespeople can even ask prospects and customers to connect with them via LinkedIn. But just because you provide links doesn't mean someone is going to use them, Peck said. “You need to give someone a reason to want to follow you and potentially share your content,” he said. “That starts with giving them access to great things on e-mail and enticing them to come and see content that they won't get in your e-mail newsletter.” This points to an important element for a social strategy: Your Facebook or Twitter accounts must be more than regurgitated e-mail content. You've got to have fresh content that's only available in each social media offering and present it in a way that can be easily shared with friends and colleagues. Originally published April 22, 2010
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