In recent years, there have been many published articles describing the death of email, or social media marketing fails, but fortunately neither system is dead and they won’t be going anywhere soon.
Marketers will continue to see email as the chief communication choice for lead acquisition and new customers, which typically results in a $39.40 return for every dollar a business invests. Although social media isn’t close to the same ROI, the broad reach is such that organizations would be losing money by neglecting these mediums. Blending these channels to work together with email campaigns can be advantageous, and doing so can:
Extend the reach of email campaigns
Grow and expand social media followers and email recipients
Uncover key influencers important to the brand
Below, we’ve broken down how best to incorporate social channels into existing email campaigns. From basic decisions such as including social icons to embedding live feeds into templates, each has a benefit.
“Share” buttons differ a bit from simply embedding social icons into a template. Share buttons are when a marketer includes an option for the reader to take the entire email or content block and share to each network simultaneously through one button.
In a study by GetResponse, emails with share buttons have a 158% higher click-through-rate than those without. The highest CTR come from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Make sure there is an HTML webpage copy of your email, and then code your buttons to share the HTML page. This prevents users from needing to visit a separate HTML webpage to hit a “Tweet” button in order to share content with others.
Fancy, a social photo sharing webstore, frequently emails customers with things they may want to purchase. At first this example may appear like a conventional group of sharing buttons, but it’s better than most because it explicitly says, “Share this email.”
Why is this helpful? Because then readers immediately know that these icons connect to personal social channels, not those of the company. Another example, from Scoop.it, shows the share icons at the top. This makes it unclear if the icons are for sharing the email itself or for connecting with the organization. Be sure your decisions are clear and descriptive for readers to receive the most engagement.
The most important integrations businesses should implement immediately are the inclusion of social icons. By including them in each email, audiences can instantaneously connect on all platforms, not just one. Getting a new Twitter follower isn’t typically the primary focus of the email, so placing these icons in the footer will prevent distraction from the key goal of the campaign.
Including a CTA with social icons instead of slapping them directly into the footer will provide incentive for readers to follow your channels. For example, in the email campaign below from West Elm, marketers detailed, “Show us your personal style with #MYWESTELM.”
When a reader makes it to the very footer of an email, there is a high possibility the reader is directly interested in the brand and is more likely to engage on multiple platforms, so let them! By providing a hashtag to use, West Elm not only executed this tactic, but also is now able to track social engagement created from this email campaign.
While someone might be be choosing to unsubscribe from your email campaigns, this doesn’t always mean they want to stop hearing from you completely. By adding social icons to follow your company on the unsubscribe page, readers can choose a preferred channel to receive communication.
As an example, Habitat’s email unsubscribe page flawlessly executes this tactic with content reading, “We noticed you’re not loving our emails, so why not like us on Facebook, instead?” Conversions don’t happen only in an email inbox, so identifying additional locations to save prospects is a critical move.
Maybe it’s not enough to get an email list to engage on social media solely by asking politely. Offering a compelling incentive that encourages engagement will help increase discussion on platforms like Facebook. Daskalides Chocolatier ran an email campaign that incentivized readers to hop from the inbox to Facebook. In addition to a beautifully designed email, the chocolatiers offered a delicious, gamified incentive.
Informational social influence, also known as social proof, is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual looks to society’s actions to determine a decision. In a study by CompUSA and iPerceptions, “63 percent of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.”
Social proof is key in email marketing. You may have an incredible offer (services, products, etc.) but real people reviewing products and highlighting benefits will convince others. MarketingProfs accentuated a customer testimonial to explain a PRO membership’s benefits.
As the culture increases to be more social, people need to feel validated knowing other consumers find immense value in a service or product. By utilizing your own customer feedback, you can ease consumer’s minds and foster an environment that enables quick decisions.
An innovative and unique way to incorporate social within email includes coding live feeds. This technique requires skilled coding experience and a platform to run multiple email tests. Hacks like this in a template will need dynamic CSS as well as fallback strategies.
The Financial Times had a perfect solution.
Toward the bottom, the team coded a live Twitter feed of U.S. election coverage, which is a stellar use of this coding technique for a timely and topical subject.
Coding social icons into the footer and advanced techniques such as live Twitter feeds all require one important measure. Businesses should ensure to test these elements in the campaign for any type of viewer, i.e. Android, Windows, iPhone, Desktops, etc. Testing before you send will give you 100% confidence in your email, and your bottom line.
John Thies is the CEO and Co-Founder of Email on Acid, a service that gives email marketers a preview of how their emails are displayed in the most popular email clients and mobile devices. He resides in Denver, Colorado with his wife and son. When he isn’t working he’s either on the golf course or snowboarding in the fresh Colorado powder.