Email Marketing 2.0

Revitalizing email by integrating it with B2B social media marketing

To paraphrase author Mark Twain’s joke when a New York newspaper published his obituary prematurely, “The reports of the death of email marketing have been greatly exaggerated.”

Email marketing happens to be alive and well, especially as it’s currently practiced in B2B marketing. Instead of abandoning it as outdated strategy from yesteryear, today’s savvy B2B marketers have revitalized the marketing email by integrating it with social media. This post gives an overview of a few of the more effective current trends, along with a few tips.

First, some numbers… This summer, ShareThis published a study analyzing the sharing and clicking habits of the more than 300 million people each month who pass along links via a ShareThis button that appears on over a million websites. The study looked at what percentage of shared links were actually clicked on by channel. The email channel took a surprisingly good second place to Facebook. In other words – at least according to this study – people were more likely to actually click through to a link in an email than one on Twitter. While this particularly study was not limited to B2B, it seems safe to conclude that if marketing email is still alive with general consumers, it’s certainly still viable for B2B!

The important message here is not only that the marketing email is alive…We must be sure to use it effectively. That can be done by integrating with inbound marketing strategies. Marketing experts know that powerful inbound marketing is integrated. Social media shouldn’t be isolated, it should be part of a well-conceived inbound campaign, and such campaigns can include an integration of email marketing and social media.

Building on What You Have

B2B marketers tend to maintain updated, opt-in email databases. Opt-in is key! A good social media program, one with strong and engaging content, will generate leads. Those leads (your followers or fans) can then be invited to opt-in to your email. That tactic alone will provide much better results than just randomly targeting prospects on a list. The reverse also applies, however. You should make it easy for readers of your emails to engage with you on social media by providing them the links to do so in your emails.

Regardless of how well you direct your email, the rules for crafting an effective direct email message always apply. For example, the number one rule of good email marketing is to spend 80% of the time and effort on the first 20% of the email. Essentially, that means the subject line and opening paragraph. Most of your prospects will spend at most only a few seconds before deciding whether to read an email or delete it, even if they have previously opted in. You must grab their attention beginning with the subject line. You must also make sure the content is relevant to them and personalized for them. The use of marketing automation software can assist with much of that.

Another way to integrate your email marketing into your social media marketing efforts is to use social media to customize your email content and offers. Monitoring what your prospects and the market you are competing in is talking about and sharing on social media gives you valuable clues you can use in crafting emails that they will see as timely and relevant. One of the great advantages of social media is that it can be almost like getting a peek into people’s current mindset. Use that to your advantage with your email content and your email campaigns will be much more effective.

Your overall campaigns, including any email component, should be coordinated. For example, if you are introducing a new product, your company blog, company Facebook updates and Tweets, and your current email campaign should all be tied together. That does not mean, however, that they must all be on the same topic at the same time. It may be better to stagger the message sequentially. You can, for example, test your intended email offer with your social media audience first, to gauge their interest, before you use that offer in an email with a more general audience.

Where did that come from?

Finally, you will want to attribute the responses you receive to the correct source. Using simple tracking URLs, such as generated with Google Analytics, will help. Maintaining data that tells you which leads came from where can be invaluable when it comes to refining your efforts.

Have you already begun integrating email with your B2B social media marketing? We’d like to hear about your experiences. Are you still relying on email only or only on social media and not sure how where to begin integrating them? We may be able to help. We welcome your questions and comments below.

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