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The Role of Social Media in eMail Marketing

As a form of direct marketing, email marketing is exceptionally cost effective when you send emails to people who have given their permission for you to contact them and will welcome your messages. You can use your newsletter to start a dialog with your audience. How to grow the conversation? Social media can help you by inspiring your audience to talk more and share their opinions. When you customers receive your newsletter, you can ask them to follow you on Facebook fan page, to write down their comments on Twitter, and to tell their experience with fellow audience. In other words, you light the fire in your email and fan the flames to full intensity with social media. As marketers find opportunities to talk more and deeper with their audience, the trend to blend email marketing and social media becomes growing and popular. From Adam Ostrow’s HOW TO: Optimize Your E-mail Marketing for Social Media Results, companies such as Crocs, Timbuk2 and Dingo work well in the integration of e-mail and social media.

Dingo is a pet food company in Ohio. They took advantage of Constant Contact to build a promotion that rewarded customers with a $20 coupon if they signed up for the company’s newsletter and “Liked” its Facebook Page, with the catch being that the page needed to get to 5,000 fans (from a base of around 300) for the promotion to kick in. Mike Halloran, the owner of Dingo, says it reached its goal within three days, as pet owners found out about in the Dingo newsletter and forwarded it to their friends and “liked” Dingo on Facebook.

Mark Schmulen, general manager for social media at Constant Contact, says that Dingo’s campaign illustrates a growing trend among customers. “Of all channels, e-mail marketing and social media go hand in hand better than any other,” he said. “Getting your customers to share your message with friends is the most effective way to grow your business.”


Gary Levitt of upstart e-mail marketing provider Mad Mimi sees a similar trend. He cites one of his customers, bag and accessory retailer Timbuk2, as a great example of how to integrate e-mail and social. The company’s strategy is “to use a Facebook application to handle [contests] rather than setting up and optimizing a landing page of its own.”

The company’s e-mail newsletter — which has more than 100,000 subscribers – recently featured a promotion to win a free bike, helmet and messenger bag to fans of the company’s Facebook Page. So far, the opportunity has driven more than 6,500 click through to the giveaway, versus just nine clicks (yes, nine) to the company’s prompt that encourages e-mail subscribers to become Facebook fans.

These promotions can also work the other way, however. Shoe retailer Crocs not only promotes social media through its e-mail newsletter, but also promotes its e-mail newsletter through social media. For example, the company will inform its Twitter followers or Facebook fans about a special offer that’s only available to newsletter subscribers. The company also lets Facebook fans sign up for its e-mail newsletter from an app that’s built into its page, something that Andrea Stow, senior global eMarketing manager for Crocs, says has resulted in a “gigantic leap in our e-mail subscribers.”

Stow continues, “Our strategy is understanding and knowing that there might be duplicates [subscribers to multiple mediums] — but the more customer touch points, the better conversion we’ll have.” Jeff Rohrs, vice president of marketing at Exact Target, the company that powers Crocs’ e-mail marketing, adds, “What I really like that Crocs is doing is they realize they don’t have to abandon the channel — it’s not an either/or scenario. You work them all together and you end up with more subscribers, fans and followers overall.”

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