Smart marketers know that there can never be too many ways to reach customers. That’s why your social and email marketing efforts should not be thought of as competing for resources, but as complementing and enhancing one another. Social data and activities provide a wealth of information to power targeted, personalized, and timely email outreach, and insights gleaned after an email open and clickthrough should be used to populate even more relevant stories in a customer’s social feed.
Caught up in the buzz that social is overtaking more established channels? Rest assured: email is far from dead. Glib dismissals that the under-30 crowd has no interest in email are way off the mark, because virtually all Millennials still use it (Net Atlantic). Not to mention, today’s growth in social users is coming not from the young but the middle-aged, who have historically had an even stronger affinity for email. Facebook and Google+’s biggest new segment is 45-54 years old, and Twitter’s is even closer to the Golden Years at 55-64 (BufferApp).
The Mobile Email Revolution
With today’s consumers wielding more power than ever to dismiss irrelevant messages with the flick of a finger, modern brands are personalizing emails like never before to provide succinct and relevant information that drives acquisition and loyalty. Mobile consumption of email has played a huge role in this transformation. Today, 62 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices — more than any other platform (Heidi Cohen) — presenting marketers with the unprecedented opportunity to reach consumers with pertinent, real-time email campaigns.
One way to leverage first party activity data to inform email campaigns is to use targeted emails to invite customers back to complete unfinished business. If a customer fills his shopping cart but bails out, he may have had to turn his focus elsewhere. Send an email prompting him to complete his purchase, and even include a coupon to incentivize checkout.
For example, when users sign up for an account but fail to complete the installation process, Dropbox sends the below email about 20 minutes after the initial registration.
Changes in shared social status, like birthdays and anniversaries, can also be instructive email triggers. For instance, retailers can acknowledge a consumer’s change of current city by sending a personalized email welcoming her to the neighborhood. NFL.com sends birthday email to its users with a personalized jersey and 15% discount enclosed.
These are the types of tactics that get results. Research from the Direct Marketing Association shows that targeted email accounted for 39 percent of all email marketing revenue in 2013, up from 30 percent in 2012 (DMA). Targeted email was also the only type to gain revenue share last year. Social data provides the richest available source of relevant and timely consumer insights.
The Virtuous Cycle: Social and Email Marketing
Social data feeds email personalization. Email response feeds the social experience. It’s a virtuous circle, and an opportunity you shouldn’t ignore. So where do you begin integrating social and email strategies? We’ve outlined a few tips to help get you started:
Eliminate organizational barriers that prevent social and email marketers from fully collaborating. You are all on the same team — create a list of common goals and a game plan to achieve them.
Be Responsible with Customer Data
Leverage a permission-based social data collection solution, like Social Login, and be selective about the data points you request from consumers. Ask only for information that will enable you to effectively segment your audience and create more relevant experiences.
Tear Down Silos
Select a centralized database that aggregates consumer data from multiple channels to build out complete, actionable user profiles that can be used to more effectively segment your audience according to your unique goals.
Embrace Big Data
Invest in a database that allows you to easily export user data and segments into your existing third-party marketing platforms to send highly targeted campaigns – without the help of IT.
For more information about how to create complementary social and email marketing strategies, download our white paper, Using Social Data to Win at Email Marketing.
By Kevin White