Strengthening E-mail Marketing with Social Media

With new tools, it’s easy.

Mastering and optimizing social media marketing is difficult for any company, not just nutrition industry businesses. But to start with, companies looking to get a handle on social media for promotion have found an easy solution: simply integrate the medium into existing e-mail marketing programs. Creating a synergy between the two-e-mail marketing and social media-can strengthen both facets of your marketing.

“This is especially helpful if there is a good funnel in place to lead [website visitors] to pages that help them take action,” says Steve Kimball, owner, Stephen Kimball DM Copywriting, who does work for the nutrition industry.

Jerry Bures, owner, Ascend Marketing Solutions, who also does work for the nutrition industry, agrees: “The more engaged your readers are, the more bonded to you they become.”

Jump-starting such synergy is as easy and commonsense as adding links to your e-mail messages and newsletters, which point to the additional marketing you’re doing for your product or service on social media.

Just be sure, marketing experts say, that the click you’re asking your customers to make is worth it.

“Don’t just add an icon at the bottom of an e-mail,” says Amy Covington, strategy director, Hanley Wood Marketing, who does work for the nutrition industry. “Give your customers a compelling reason to click. Ask them to join your community or contribute to a conversation. Incentivize them with a contest, or feature your top comments in an upcoming post, newsletter, or e-mail.

“Having as many touch points as possible can only help raise awareness for your brand,” Covington adds. “Having a stake in the social media game gives you more opportunities to tell your story and develop loyal followers and brand ambassadors who can further your cause through their networks of influence.”

David Coyne, health copywriter and marketing consultant, David Coyne Communications, agrees: The “strategy is more successful if you include a reader incentive to connect on these channels.”

Adds Barbara Cohn, president, Cohn Writing Solutions, who does work for the nutrition industry: “Link to social media using headlines, bullet points, and tweets, so you can use your content in multiple ways to ramp things up.”

Of course, once you’ve begun integrating your e-mail marketing and social media marketing efforts, you’ll probably want a dashboard that will help you monitor and manage it all-and offer you additional tools to further synergize the two.

One handy solution is StrongView’s Message Studio service, which enables you to manage both marketing efforts simultaneously. One of the more interesting e-mail–specific tools in this package offers users the ability to match the e-mail addresses in their e-mail marketing database with the people on social media who are considered “top influencers.” Once you make that connection, you can also use the software to request endorsement of your products and/or services by those influencers.

A number of marketers, for example, have already used Message Studio to invite influencers to alert their Facebook friends about discounts and promotions-and have given those influencers rewards for the favorable mentions.

Granted, nutrition industry businesses using such tools will need to tiptoe lightly to ensure they’re seen as simply reaching out to socially active customers rather than becoming willing participants in privacy invasion.

But it’s clear that these tools are powerful. Essentially, the tools give your company the ability to monitor every public move made by many of your customers on the Internet-and then turn that monitoring and analysis into a marketing opportunity.

A similar solution that helps integrate e-mail marketing and social media marketing into one dashboard is Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This package offers you a 360° view of all your marketing efforts-e-mail, social, mobile-on one dashboard, and makes it much easier to track everything you’re doing marketing-wise with analytics and reports. A similar package featuring an all-in-one solution is Oracle’s Responsys.

As you get further along in your fusion of e-mail marketing and social media, here are some tactics nutrition marketers are using to combine the two:
 

  • Don’t Forget the Links: As previously mentioned, this is really Step One in any synthesis campaign and should be a part of every e-mail/social marketing campaign, no questions asked. Such optimization is as easy as adding links to the key social networks in your e-mails, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There’s also a ShareThis button you can add to your e-mail that instantly offers clickable access to dozens of social networking sites.
  • Hold Twitter- or Facebook-Driven Contests: The immediacy of these mediums perfectly lends themselves to time-sensitive contests. Hold an answer-the-question contest once a week, rewarding the first person with the right answer, and watch the tweets and posts come in. All the while, send updates on these contests via e-mail.
  • Combine E-mail and Social Media to Solicit Testimonials: Customer accolades look good on company websites, but even better on customer Facebook pages. Marketers most aggressive in getting testimonials on Facebook start by e-mailing a customer for a review of a product or service shortly after the product/service is purchased. Customers who respond with glowing reviews-and often a related digital photo-get their testimonial posted to the company’s website. In addition, the company requests-again via e-mail-if the customer can repost the testimonial on Facebook and Twitter. Often, willing participants get a small reward for their service.
  • Embed the Social Network Testimonials You Glean in E-mails: Sometimes, spontaneous testimonials from customers pop up on Facebook and Twitter without any prodding. Such promotional gifts can be easily cut-and-pasted into your next marketing e-mail-along with a grateful nod, of course, to the author.
  • Fish Where the Fish Are: Running an e-mail database through some of the more sophisticated monitoring dashboards can also yield an interesting picture of where your customers “hang out.” You may find, for example, that the greatest percentage of your customers hangs out on Twitter, rather than on Facebook. Consequently, you’ll be able to use that insight to put your digital marketing dollars where they’ll reach the greatest percentage of your patients.

 

“This is an excellent strategy as long as marketers are not overwhelming their readers with marketing messages,” says Rich Silver, owner, Crow Moon Marketing, which does nutrition industry marketing. “There should be a real desire to provide value to the readers, not just sell something.”

 

Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.

 

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