Although many have predicted that the surge in the popularity of social media would spell the death of email marketing, that's been far from the case. Studies have only reaffirmed the value of email marketing lists over social networks when it comes to converting contacts into customers.
That doesn't mean, however, that it's advisable – or even possible – to simply focus on email and ignore all other Web and mobile platforms. Rather, an effective email marketing strategy will take social media, blogs and other types of sites into account, making use of them to create customers and increase engagement while still keeping email as the centerpiece of the firm's promotional campaigns.
Why email remains indispensable
The central position email must hold for marketers is based on its ability to create dynamic customer relationships that benefit companies in the long term. For instance, while the customer lifetime value of those who make purchases based on email promotions is considerably higher than the overall average, Twitter customers prove to be less valuable than most.
Firms who attempt to do their marketing on social media and put email aside quickly learn these principles. David Ball, internet marketing director for the Harlem Globetrotters, recently told MarketingWeek that his efforts to draw more sales for the sports club by increasing its social media presence proved largely ineffective. Fans on sites like Twitter and Facebook did not seem receptive when encouraged to make ecommerce purchases. Email, however, continues to be the club's most reliable marketing channel.
"We find email is the best marketing platform for direct marketing, we see great conversion because people are used to it," Ball told the news source.
The Globetrotters' marketer has adapted his strategy based on the results. Instead of relying heavily on social sites for marketing, he's opting to use data derived from the platforms to create engaging messages customized for certain segments of his email contact list.
"This year I want to get to know our customer better and segment and target the right messages at them, whether it's a discount, tickets or our summer schools," Ball said as quoted by the news source.
Integrating email with social, blogs
Ball's strategy – using social media to enhance email marketing – is one that many marketers are adopting. In a column for Florida Trend, FastPath Marketing President Ron Stein discussed how tweets, blog posts and other online content can help a company communicate its brand and reinforce the value customers receive when they sign up for its email list.
"It's a fair exchange – your prospect gives you their email address and you deliver value in return," Stein wrote.
Marketers can ensure that they continue to hold up their end of the deal by providing customers with high-quality content in every email, as well as by offering downloads of valuable information in the form of eBooks, whitepapers or other reports, Stein suggested. He also recommended that companies design their websites so that their email list signup forms are even more conspicuous than the icons that link to their social media pages.
Sony broadens its platforms
Electronics titan Sony recently integrated email and social media in a unique way that proved highly effective. According to EConsultancy, the firm sent out a series of emails that highlighted its activity on the social site Pinterest. This effort resulted in an email open rate 67 percent higher than expected and a click-through rate that was 16 percent above Sony's goal. Not only did the company gain followers on Pinterest – it also increased awareness of its brand and created greater engagement with its emails.
There are many ways to integrate email with social and other platforms in a multichannel approach. Marketers simply need to find the combination that works for their brands