As separate tools, both email and social media propose clear strengths in the online marketing arena, offering powerful platforms for communication and brand awareness.
Competitive or complimentary marketing channels?
There is no doubt that there are differences between the two, with email marketing offering a more private, protected link to our customers, whilst social media allows us to reach new audiences we had little chance of reaching before. But is one really better than the other? Or do they present the perfect combination, which, when united, could allow us to take our marketing efforts to the next level?
"42% of social media users said they check their emails more than four times a day compared with just 24% of non social media users" (2011 survey - merkle)
So what strengths do they each provide?
A direct connection with your customers or clients. This marketing method provides organisations with the opportunity to build on established relationships; personalising communications and targeting subscribers with the news, offers and information that is most relevant to them.
A place to begin new relationships with those that you were not connected to before. These platforms allow users to broadcast relevant and interesting content (which may have the potential to go viral), creating interest in your brand and starting conversations and relationships with the social media community. If nurtured, these connections could be transferred to your data list in the future.
So how do you link the two?
There are a number of ways that email and social media can work together to strengthen your overall marketing efforts, the most prominent of which are listed below:
Crossing your audiences
Many of us make the mistake of assuming that both our email audience and social media audiences are one and the same people. However, often this is not the case, providing a large number of connections ready to be engaged in other communications with your brand. Creating a newsletter sign up on your Facebook business page may seem an obvious point to make, yet there are still very few of us doing so. Providing your audience with the method to join your database will begin the process of connecting two separate audiences in to one.Unfortunately not all social media networks offer such a simple method to acquire subscribers but it is still possible. For example, try posting occasional tweets asking followers to sign up (with a link to your subscription form), ensuring that you include an incentive to encourage followers to do so - what are the benefits of receiving your emails?
Social media icons
Adding these small additions to the top of your email template allows your subscribers to make the connection with you on other platforms if they wish; this process needs to be as quick and easy as possible, so ensure you make them noticeable. For example, the Awesome Walls Dublin newsletter below includes their social media icons at the top right of their email - a place where every reader will notice them.
Social sharing buttons
A simple addition to your emails that could make a big difference. Providing your subscribers with the ability to share certain information or offers from your campaigns on their own social media pages, will help to increase exposure and interest in your brand.
Using one platform to promote another. Dedicating an email to your social media activities and promoting the benefits of following your company on your chosen networks, will encourage participation and engagement; helping to link the separate pieces of your marketing efforts together and encouraging a more united and loyal following across all platforms.
Sharing your email campaigns on social media
Posting the online link to your latest campaign is a quick and simple enticement for your social media audience, highlighting the types of offers and information available to subscribers, which may be the push your followers require to sign up.
As the digital marketing world continues to expand and evolve, the focus on a more united approach to our online marketing activities is becoming ever more important. Email and social media are clear assets in a company's marketing catalogue, however working alone in isolation may only provide limited results. By taking the time to consider how these platforms can work to support each other you could find you're overall reach improves and therefore so does your business.