In today’s highly competitive marketplace, you want to have as many opportunities as possible to reach your target audience. Email marketing and social media marketing are two popular and effective ways to reach potential customers. Which one should your business pursue?
Many digital marketers are hard-pressed to say which form of marketing — email or social media — is more effective. While arguments exist in favor of one or the other, perhaps marketing managers should stop thinking about which is better and instead ask how they can use social media and email marketing to strengthen them — and achieve the best results.
Why You Should Combine Email and Social Media Marketing
The amount of global email accounts is set to grow to 4.6 billion users in the year 2025. Additionally, 4.6 billion people worldwide currently use social media. While these audiences overlap, of course, users expect different things from emails vs. social media. Social media content is designed to increase brand awareness by sending a message to the largest number of people simultaneously. Email messaging, on the other hand, is typically targeted to potential and current customers who are at various phases in the buying journey.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure out how to make social media marketing and email marketing work together to build brand awareness and loyalty, grow our online presence and encourage customers to buy — at the same time? What if we could do all that while repurposing the content, hashtags and QR codes, thereby leveraging our limited resources? This article explores ways to integrate social media and email marketing to take advantage of their synergies and improve business results.
Increase Market Reach by Using One Medium to Promote the Other
Email marketing has been around for a long time and is cost-effective; social media marketing is trendier and connects to a younger audience. Combining your email strategy with a social marketing strategy can significantly extend — if not double — your reach. A successful and seamless integration serves users of both media, generating increased revenue in the long run.
Here are some suggestions:
- Add an email signup button and/or an embedded email list signup form on your company’s Facebook page.
- Take advantage of Twitter Cards to obtain interested parties’ email addresses.
- Use Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn features that allow users to sign up for mailing lists.
- Create reasons for social media users to subscribe to email (giveaways or email-only deals, for example).
- Upload your email list to your social media channels. This creates a ready-made audience for your social media messages and ads while helping you learn more about your email subscribers, which ultimately helps you target your audience more effectively.
- Include social media icons and links at the bottom of every email and newsletter.
- Dedicate an email or two to promoting your social media channels.
- Build an exclusive Facebook or Instagram group for your email subscribers to provide access to unique content. For example, tips, videos, special offers, freebies, etc.
- Make it easy for email subscribers to share your content with their social media network. You can do it by including “share-with-your-network” (SWYN) links in your emails.
- Display positive social media feedback (i.e., reviews and comments) in emails. It'll help you convince subscribers to purchase your products or services and perhaps to follow you on social media.
- Try to convert your email unsubscribes to social media followers. If a customer indicates on your opt-out form that they do not want to receive emails but wishes to stay connected, then direct him or her to your social media platforms.
Align Your Marketing Strategy Across Email and Social Media Channels
If you currently market your products or services via email and social media, now is the time to examine your strategies for consistency. Disjointed strategies can work against one another. A truly integrated marketing strategy is one that follows the same goals, messages and methods regardless of channel. Be sure that every message — whether disseminated via email or social media — retains your established brand voice and values.
Here are some ways to ensure marketing consistency:
- Align your email and social media marketing teams to make sure they are working in tandem.
- Coordinate schedules and calendars to ensure your promotions are marketed simultaneously across all your marketing channels.
- Integrate email subscriber data with social media data to discover more about your target audience. More data translates into greater conversion potential.
- Reuse content from social to email and vice versa. It not only ensures consistency, but it also saves time and resources.
Use Your Collected Data to Propel Your Integrated Marketing Strategies
You may be tempted to use data from past social media campaigns to guide future social media marketing. Likewise, you may believe that email subscriber data is the best and only source for future email marketing campaigns. Have you considered combining the results of your social media and email marketing campaigns and using that data to drive your marketing strategies?
Gather all the marketing metrics you can from the analytical reporting tools built into the email and social media platforms. Be sure to track and/or calculate your email click-through rates, open rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, sharing/forwarding rates, unsubscribe rates and your overall ROI. Important social media metrics include impressions, reach, engagement, link clicks, click-through rate, number of leads generated, on-site performance due to social, assisted conversions, branded search queries and social media ROI.
Now that you have collected the relevant data, what do you do with it? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is an ideal location for storing and centralizing your customer data. Use a CRM program to combine social media and email user data. Develop, implement and track data-based marketing campaigns, and make your audience data easily available to your marketing team(s).
Achieve Marketing Synergy by Aligning Email and Social Media Content
High-quality content is essential to successful digital marketing. Content does more than communicate a message or present an offer. Whether your content appears in ads, articles, blog posts, emails, or social media posts, it is the foundation of your marketing strategy. Content sets the tone and personality of your brand, and while content will differ a bit as needed for each medium (in length and style, for example), your company’s image should be reflected in a singular voice.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) copywriting is essential to target your message, so it is seen by the right audience for your products or services. In addition to optimized content, you should strive to inspire your audience with a quality, engaging copy so that they will want to do what you wish them to do. Don’t forget about the calls-to-action (CTAs) that direct them to take the desired action.
In the context of this article, perhaps the most important aspect of content is consistency — in campaigns, messages and tone — among your emails and all your social media channels.
Not sure if your content or wording are optimal? Spend some time testing various styles and tones, evaluate the metrics and apply the type of content that works best to all your marketing strategies.
Create Custom Hashtags to Enhance Email and Social Media Marketing
Hashtags are used to label social media posts so users can easily find and engage with content relevant to their interests. Posts with hashtags can be discovered by users worldwide, expanding the content reach and increasing traffic on social media platforms. Plus, local hashtags help build community awareness and attract new customers. Product or brand hashtags, in turn, boost impressions and can get people talking about your business.
Harness the power of brand hashtags by incorporating them into your combined email/social marketing strategy. Begin by developing a custom brand hashtag — one that represents your brand and is easy to remember. You can use in your social media posts and emails. Consider creating additional and unique hashtags related to special events, such as conferences or one-off marketing promotions.
While typically found on social media platforms, hashtags can be used in email subject lines and body content. This allows your email subscribers to find, share and/or view relevant information on social media using your hashtag. Think about adding a live social media feed to your email to introduce your subscribers to your posts. Provide a hashtag to encourage them to join the conversation.
Include QR Codes in Your Combined Email/Social Marketing Strategy
A QR code allows people to perform an action quickly and easily. After a smartphone camera reads the QR code, the user can sign up for email at an event, view a restaurant menu, make cashless mobile payments, receive free digital products, check in easily at airports, engage with the brand, and quickly access offers, information and videos — and so much more.
Integrating QR codes into your emails and linking them to social media posts is another way for one medium to boost the other. When an email subscriber scans your social media QR code, they may be transported to your social platform or to a specific social media post. Mailing list subscribers who land on your social channel can choose to follow you and share your posts in the future.
Embedding QR codes in your social media posts can provide your followers with various benefits. You can grant access to a coupon or special offer, lead the user directly to a relevant web page, make it easy to provide feedback and allow people to sign up for emails almost instantaneously. Plus, don’t forget to use QR codes in all your printed and digital marketing materials like newsletters, brochures and advertisements. It’s an easy and convenient way to increase engagement and encourage people to sign up for emails and/or follow you on social media.
Grow Sales by Implementing Multi-Channel Ad Retargeting Campaigns
You can retarget your email customers with social media ads. Directing ads to email subscribers who know your brand is a cost-effective investment. Targeting ads to an audience who has already proven receptive to your business saves time and money. Your mailing list audience has chosen to interact with you. Therefore, they are more ready to engage than a random web user might be.
Here’s how it works: Be sure to embed a tracking code on your website. Then, when an email subscriber visits your website, the tracking code attaches a cookie that identifies the visitor’s web browser. The cookie “follows” the customer, identifying the sites they browse and the social media channels they visit. When set up correctly, your social media ads should pop when the visitor’s cookie is observed on the web.
The Best of Both Worlds
This article presents various ways for marketing managers to combine email with social media marketing, thereby leveraging the benefits of both. Encouraging users of one medium to try the other is just one way to bolster your online presence, increase brand loyalty and ultimately help your business grow and succeed. Other methods involve making content, messaging, and digital marketing elements consistent across all channels.
Clearly, limiting yourself to either email or social media marketing is not the most effective strategy. Integrating them to create a single, cohesive marketing strategy is the best way to go.