Digital Marketing, Email, Social Business, Social Media Strategy, Email Marketing Advice, Integrated Marketing and Media, Social Media Staffing and Operations

Why Social Supports Email in the Interactive Marketing Hub

A big distinction between email marketing and social media marketing is the difference between actual audience and potential audience.

interactive marketing hub fans 300x143 Why Social Supports Email in the Interactive Marketing HubEmail is all about actual audience. If someone signs up for your email updates when you send one out, that person will receive it in almost every case. Will that open it? Approximately 25% of the time (on average) they will. Will they click on it to visit your offer/website/landing page? Perhaps 3-5% of the time (on average) they will.

Social media marketing is all about potential audience. If someone signs up to follow your company on Twitter, when you tweet will that person see it? That depends upon how many other people/brands they are following, and how often they check Twitter. In general, however, the chances any one Twitter follower sees any specific update from you is minimal. The average consumer receives 44 emails per day, which is far fewer than the number of tweets to which the average person is potentially subjected. Further, I suspect most people check email more frequently than they check Twitter throughout the day.

The same dynamic is present on Facebook. What percentage of your status updates are seen by each of your Facebook fans? Very, very few. In fact, BrandGlue estimates that as few as 1% of the status updates brands send on Facebook are seen by the fans of those brands. That’s because Facebook’s EdgeRank formula ensures that only status updates from companies that consumers routinely interact with show up in their news feed (unless the Facebook member changes their News Feed preferences to “Most Recent” – anecdotally Facebook acknowledges that fewer than 5% do so).

Social Supports Email in the Interactive Marketing Hub

Indeed, email marketing and social media marketing are spiritually and procedurally similar. Companies are trying to stay top-of-mind among their prior customers, and incentivize those customers directly or indirectly to spread the word to their friends and associates. But the connections between companies and their email subscribers are far stronger than the connections between companies and their social media subscribers.
integrating email and social media 300x100 Why Social Supports Email in the Interactive Marketing Hub
Recent research from ExactTarget (a Convince & Convert client) found that only 30% of consumers clicking “like” on Facebook believe that action gave the liked company permission to market to the consumer. Facebook “like” and Twitter follow are not “subscriptions” at all, but rather assertions of passion. Social media connectivity is digital bumper stickering.

An Interactive Marketing Hub Requires Integrated Email and Social Subscriptions

That’s why it’s so important to not treat social media connectivity as the end, but rather a means to an end. Facebook “like” and Twitter following should be the top of your customer relationship funnel, not funnels unto themselves. A best practice would be to use your Facebook and Twitter programs to move your best fans to subscribe to your email updates, where you can have a better chance of actually reaching out to them consistently.

This type of program whereby you communicate with customers stereophonically has been historically difficult, because your list of Twitter followers, your list of Facebook connections, and your list of email subscribers have been three separate lists. The new Interactive Marketing Hub that ExactTarget previewed at their conference last week is going to enable companies to sort all of this out for the first time. If you want to send an email only to people that “like” you on Facebook, you’ll be able to do it easily. If you want to send a tweet only to people that took advantage of a recent email offer, that will also be a reality.

A subscriber-centric, unified view of email + social connectivity is what we need to move social out of the experimental phase and into true business integration — including (perhaps especially) at the enterprise business level. It looks like the predictions of email and social being two sides of the same coin are coming true.

The next year is going to get very, very interesting. Meanwhile, if your social media team and your email team are not the same people, you need to start thinking about how to merge them, pronto. And, you need to start unifying your content strategy across all channels.

(photo by Mixtribe)

Related
  • http://www.corporatebloggingtips.com Douglas Karr

    As well as the relationship, there’s also a great story underlying this on the intent of the audience member. Email is the king of re-engagement… it’s why Facebook and Twitter utilize email to engage their audiences.

    If I subscribe to an email – I have the intent of re-engaging with your brand. “Liking” a brand doesn’t necessarily have that intent – even though 30% believe it’s giving permission to be marketed to. “Liking” is a public display of affection for the brand… it’s endorsing the brand. If I publicly endorse you, the permission is pretty much part of the package, right?

    It speaks further to a company needing a well-rounded online marketing strategy. Great post!

  • http://www.corporatebloggingtips.com Douglas Karr

    As well as the relationship, there’s also a great story underlying this on the intent of the audience member. Email is the king of re-engagement… it’s why Facebook and Twitter utilize email to engage their audiences.

    If I subscribe to an email – I have the intent of re-engaging with your brand. “Liking” a brand doesn’t necessarily have that intent – even though 30% believe it’s giving permission to be marketed to. “Liking” is a public display of affection for the brand… it’s endorsing the brand. If I publicly endorse you, the permission is pretty much part of the package, right?

    It speaks further to a company needing a well-rounded online marketing strategy. Great post!

  • http://twitter.com/BobbieGarner bagarner

    I agree – social media is about the “potential” audience – or I would drill down further and say “potential engagement”. When I personally want to engage with a company/professional, I typically follow on Twitter, sometimes Facebook at a later date (if I love their content), then ultimately email updates if available. LinkedIn – only if I have made a personal connection. I reserve email subscriptions for those I truly want to receive more from. I’ll have to look into the new Exact Target tool. My clients are currently set up with Constant Contact which has been trying to add more social tools- but not quite cohesive yet.

  • http://twitter.com/laurenfaith Lauren Faith

    Great post that can be summarized as the old comparison of shotgun approaches and rifle approaches. Or “Throw ‘stuff’ up on the wall and see what sticks,” versus strategy and planning and metrics analysis. Email is the foundation for any online marketing campaign. Social rounds it out, helps to expand reach. Unless you have a blockbuster idea like the Old Spice Guy, stick with your foundations.

  • http://www.afmarcom.com/ Angelique

    Really? Facebook says that they think only 5% of their users click “most recent”? That doesn’t sound right, especially if you’re talking about regular users. Maybe most Facebook users don’t actually get on very often, and are therefore happy to see the auto-selected fare that could be days or even weeks old. But don’t regular users notice that they keep seeing the same stuff over and over if they don’t click on “most recent”?

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      My assumption is that most people aren’t in there frequently enough for the regular news feed to bother them, but I don’t have data on that.

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  • http://socialbutterflyguy.com/ DJ Waldow

    Jay: I love when you blog about email marketing. Love. Warm fuzzies. I have nothing of value to add to this conversation other then reiterating (again?) that I love when you blog about email marketing. Spot on.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
    @djwaldow

  • http://www.massinfluence.org Jered

    I think you hit the nail on the head, here. I especially like your comparison of social media to digital bumper stickers and an expression of passion for something, as opposed to permission to market to them.

    Thank you for breaking this issue down and putting it into clear terms.

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com Pablo Edwards

    Great post… Amazing to see the numbers that actually follow through with email marketing, but its about on average with all advertising.

  • Lisa Loeffler

    Thanks for the post Jay. Lead capture is a topic I’ve been discussing regularly with my clients, as I always take an integrated approach with them even if they come to me initially for just social.

    You never know when a *shiny* tool like Facebook or Twitter may disappear & then where are you?! Back to square one if you haven’t taken the thought & time to capture their personal contact information and have been interacting with them on a regular basis through an email marketing & PR campaign.

    Good example of having your hands tied at the expense of a social platform is when Facebook was down at least an hour last week. I know several brands that use Facebook solely as their front face and they have *no* website. Wondering how much potential business they lost by counting 1000% on Facebook.

  • http://www.donaldlafferty.com/about Don Lafferty

    Almost everybody engages socially once – at the point of engagement – if you’re listening well, you will usher the lead to a subscription function where your content will [hopefully] stand on it’s own two feet.

    I NEVER plan for a social connection to remain vibrantly engaged when one half of the relationship is a brand. Where’s the sexy in that? For real.

    I want their email addy, babe. Immediately. Period.

    Everything about the social experience is designed so the initial social engagement yields an opt-in to an email list.

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    If you’re looking for webinar software, then check out Evergreen Business System. Its perfect for marketers and let’s you automate the scheduling of your webinars, build your list, and even follow up with your webinar registrants. If you’re going to buy Evergreen Business System, then you might as well get a free bonus! So check out http://www.mikelmurphy.com/evergreen-business-system-bonus-webinar-software/ and you’ll get a great bonus that tells you how to create a webinar, what is a webinar, and a blueprint for making a successful one. None of the other people offering bonuses are offering this. Hurry in case the guy (some dude that worked on Lord of the RIngs) offering the bonus decides to pull it down.