How E-mail Marketing and Social Media Can Work Together

Aug 25, 2009 9:42 PM  By

A shift has taken place in corporate marketing strategy. If your brand, company or organization is like many others, you’ve moved away from traditional marketing strategies and are now focusing on strengthening your online efforts.

Social media and e-mail campaigns, in particular, have both seen tremendous growth in recent years. Although we tend to think of these two marketing avenues as mutually exclusive, they often make for more compelling and effective campaigns when merged into one fully integrated online marketing campaign.

While social media sites can offer a venue for companies to engage in two-sided conversation with their customers, e-mail serves as way for companies to provide a steady flow of information directly to interested customers. How the two efforts fit together is where the picture gets a little more interesting.

There are two ways to direct user flow between the social media experience and e-mail subscription.

The first of which is to guide current e-mail subscribers to engage online through social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.) where there are likely already active. The simplest way to do this is to place links to content posted on social media sites in your company’s transactional and marketing e-mails.

By adding links to “follow us on Twitter” or “become our fan on Facebook,” the e-mail grows to serve a dual purpose. It now delivers the original message as intended and simultaneously builds support for your company’s online community. And this is not the only way to merge e-mail and social media; the road goes both ways.

Traffic can also be sent the opposite way by enticing people from social media sites to join your e-mail list. If your company puts out regular e-mails, such as a monthly or quarterly newsletter, you can use this content as a location to guide potentially interested customers through the learning process, gaining their trust and eventually turning them into customers.

You can also try just publishing parts of newsletter articles, testing engagement methods without being repetitive. An important thing to remember is that people seeking information on your company or industry through a social media site are prime candidates for growing your e-mail list. They are engaged users who are already interested in your brand.

To both serve and bait these users, you can post a link of relevant e-mail content to your readers, “fans,” or “followers” and give them a preview of information previously reserved for subscribers. Once you have given them this peek, you can offer these e-mail prospects an easy way to subscribe, resulting in e-mail list growth.

Integration of the social media experience into an e-mail campaign can be a crucial part of a successful online marketing campaign. But what you must remember when dealing with social media sites is they, like the e-mail campaign itself, require your commitment and attention to the goals they are meant to achieve.

Although joining a networking site or posting on other social media sites might appear to be a cheap and easy way to grow support for your business, you must be committed to using the space.

If you slack on one side of your online effort and direct people to a poorly maintained area, you risk compromising the overall effectiveness of the campaign. If you are diligent about updating content on these sites, consistently communicating with customers, and frequently tying back to solid, relevant e-mail content, these multifaceted online campaigns will bring you that much closer to accomplishing your marketing goals.

Remember that e-mail and social media are all about relevancy and conversations. Since these are often a more informal medium, having a conversational tone with customers is important.

Ryan Buchanan (ryan.buchanan@eroi.com) is founder, CEO of eROI, an online marketing and interactive design agency.