Email Marketing, Meet Social Media

Social Media

Email marketers are scrambling to cope with Web 2.0.

Over 70% consider “competition with social media for recipients’ time and attention” an important challenge for 2010, according to Marketing Sherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

So how can you deal with this challenge?

Try Email 2.0. Instead of competing, implement these ideas to put social media to work for your email marketing campaign.

Draw Up a Plan

First, it is important to pin down your strategy. What are your specific goals?

You could, for example:

  • Find out what’s being said about your company
  • Reach a wider audience (your contacts’ contacts)
  • Have informal conversations with your customers
  • Get feedback on new ideas

For more tips on building a social strategy, check out Groundswell authors Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li’s 4-step approach.

Put It Into Action

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, try these moves to meet those goals and point your social network back to your emails.

  • Tweet your newsletterOccasionally, you may want to broadcast a brilliant newsletter beyond your list. Follow these steps to tweet your newsletter and show the Twitterverse the value of your emails. Put a sign-up form in the newsletter for new converts.
  • Add signup form to FacebookPost a sign-up form on your Facebook fan page. Your fans’ contacts will see any posts they make about you, and potential fans can also find your fan page via search. If they click over to your page, a sign-up form instantly invites them to join your list.
  • Make web form visiblePeople who start following you via social media need a reason to subscribe by email, too. Make your web form is clearly visible, and try offering an extra incentive for signing up.
  • Provide share buttonsYou aren’t the only one who can hype your campaign: your readers can, too. Buttons to share your emails on social networks offer opportunities to promote your message – and give you a chance to go viral.
  • Search social networksTrack the chitchat. Run a search on these sites to find out where people are talking about you (and what they’re saying!). Respond where appropriate, and link to helpful pages on your site or relevant blog posts.

    Twitter Search | Facebook Search (choose “Posts by Everyone”) | Digg Search | Delicious Search

    Bonus: Not only do these searches reveal which sites to focus on, they might also be full of ideas for fresh newsletter content!

  • Facebook applicationsFacebook has long offered the ability to host a custom application for your fan page. Now, you can have your application either request or require users to sign up for your emails. These opt-ins can then be imported to your email list.
  • Pay attention to your subscribersFor a closer relationship, show as much interest in your subscribers as you ask them to show in you. Invite them to share their username for the network of their choice. Then pay attention to what they say.

Remember, the more readers see you, the more you’ll stay on their minds. And instead of an email automaton, they’ll see you as a person.

Your 2.0 Tactics

Which of these methods have you tried with your campaign? Have you seen a change in your relationships with subscribers?

In your experience, is the extra time and effort worth the results?


  1. Angela Wills

    4/6/2010 5:44 pm

    Great tips!

    I like to broadcast my newsletter out as a tweet and often get retweets that way and hopefully a little more exposure.

    However, I think it’s important to note that focus SHOULD be given to email marketing FIRST because by building a responsive email list you are building an asset for your business.

    In my mind social media marketing is not an asset. It’s something that requires constant attention or it dies. An email list can be set up to run entirely on its own quite comfortably while providing true value to your subscribers. I see that giving a great ROI and ROT (return on time) than social media.

  2. Terrance Charles

    4/7/2010 9:27 am

    It’s good that you brought that up, and marketers that are using this technique reach a broader audience. The thing is, when you combine social media with your email marketing you build a relationships as oppose to just broadcasting emails, you get people to interact and your email list is your most important asset, so you definitely want to get your subscribers involved with you on these social media websites and get people from your social media websites onto your list, they both funnel each other, give value, give content, educate and watch good things happen.

  3. Amanda Gagnon

    4/7/2010 10:24 am

    Angela ~ Email marketing certainly can and does stand on its own, and you are right that social media could never replace it.
    It can, however, extend its reach by inviting social networks back to email campaigns. The ultimate focus, of course, remains on email.

  4. Ron Orr

    4/7/2010 4:24 pm

    I am glad to see an article talk about both. I think both are major parts of marketing today.
    I prefer to funnel my social network traffic from unique traffic and blogs to my opt-in forms, and then provide more unique traffic through the autoresponders.
    I feel I have more control with Aweber traffic than some of the social networks, and better tracking.

  5. Ben Williams

    4/8/2010 5:37 am

    Yes, I think that it is definitely worth the time and effort of integrating Social Media and Email Marketing together.
    They are two different platforms, in which you can interact with your customers/prospects on two different levels; one slightly professionally (email), while with Social Media, you have the opportunity to be a lot more informal and friendly.

  6. Lance Nelson

    4/8/2010 10:39 am

    Good article. I am concerned that social media is a time thief for me. My database responds much better than Twitter and Facebook… but this may be don’t have thousands of fan/friends or followers. But I see how they can feed each other and help to reinforce one’s presence.

    I guess integrating them does no harm.

  7. Amanda Gagnon

    4/8/2010 2:26 pm

    Lance ~ Exactly – while it is always important to be aware of time spent vs. results, your results might improve if your database and your social networks feed each other.

  8. Brian S. Pauls

    4/12/2010 8:55 am

    I believe it’s a good practice to cross-post everything to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn–with links that lead back to your Web page, if feasible.

    Doing this each time you release a new edition of your newsletter simply increases your circulation, and gives you new content for your social networks.

  9. Email Marketing for Event Planning

    5/27/2010 9:17 am

    […] Use social media networks to spread the word about your event, and link to a hosted web form so that interested parties can add themselves to your email list. […]

  10. Lowell

    3/5/2012 3:10 am

    I use Aweber’s tools to post my email broadcasts to Facebook and Twitter. It streamlines things substantial. Thanks for these additional tips.