In the lightning fast world of the Internet, communication platforms and digital marketing trends come and go. Remember using AOL Instant Messenger or MySpace? Seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?
However, unlike other “prehistoric” platforms, there’s one digital communication tool that hasn’t gone extinct—email! Even in a world where social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have stolen the spotlight, email remains a force to be reckoned with when it comes to direct marketing and lead generation.
According to a recent study by Custora, customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last four years. How? By using the power of social media to build communities of brand enthusiasts, collect email addresses and convert fans into loyal customers.
Email marketing and social media have two totally different strengths when it comes to online marketing, each making up for the other’s shortcomings. In order to effectively harness the power of social media and email marketing for lead generation purposes, you need to leverage each channel’s strengths and find creative ways to integrate your digital marketing efforts.
The power of social media
Take your marketing cap off for a minute and think about how your friends and family use social media. When they log in to Facebook or Twitter, they’re not going there to shop for a specific product, which means they probably don’t want their news feed cluttered with overtly “salesy” posts begging for their business. Instead, this is where they go to share their opinions and experiences with everyone they know—including their opinion about your product or service.
This is your opportunity to reinforce customers’ love of the brand and entice new consumers to join your community through compelling, informative and entertaining content. Once you build a community of followers, you can use creative campaigns to collect email addresses and build your database of potential customers. This email list is like gold. It gives you a mechanism for converting fair weathered fans into loyal customers.
If you look at the typical sales funnel, it starts with awareness and consideration and then moves closer to the end goal—sales. Social media is really good at increasing brand awareness and consideration, but it’s not the best when it comes to closing the deal. That’s where other forms of communication come in.
The power of email
Unlike social media, email is extremely effective for generating sales, primarily because it’s permission based. Although customers may be annoyed by in-stream ads and sales related posts on Facebook, they expect to receive exclusive updates and offers from their favorite brands via email—making them prime prospects.
However, just because consumers sign up to receive offers and updates via email, that doesn’t mean you can bombard them with e-blasts. Every email you send should have a purpose, whether it’s customer acquisition or customer retention, and be of value to the customer. The last thing you want to do is earn a reputation for sending spam! Customers will click “unsubscribe” faster than you can say “BOGO.”
To increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, follow these tips:
- Be selective with the emails you send out and make sure each one serves a purpose.
- Determine the optimal frequency for sending e-blasts.
- Segment your database and personalize each email.
- Create “click-worthy” subject lines.
- Code emails to display accurately on mobile devices.
- Make content within emails easy to share via social channels.
- Utilize A/B testing to see which emails get a better response.
- Optimize, optimize and optimize some more.
The question is not, “Which channel is better for online marketing purposes?” It’s “How can we combine social media and email marketing to increase brand awareness, increase sales and build brand loyalty?”
What are your tips for combining social media and email to generate leads?