Friday, May 21, 2010

3 Tips for Effective E-Mail & Social Media Marketing, Plus Free Download

This is a screenshot of my Facebook FAN page, where I created a "Join My List" tab for visitors to subscribe to my e-news.

I attended an interesting webinar this morning presented by Lyris, about the intersection of e-mail and social media. There were some interesting factoids highlighted in the presentation, such as:
  • 80% of adults use social media at least once a month
  • a poll of the webinar attendees revealed Facebook as the most popular social media, with Twitter and Linked In tied at a close 2nd, and YouTube 3rd (this surprised me a bit, considering the popularity of videos and the growth in YouTube since its inception)
  • as of January 2010, Twitter has seen a 294% growth, Facebook a 95% growth, and Foursquare a 519% growth
 3 of the Key Factors in having an effective union of social media and e-mail marketing are:

1. Building your opt-in list and promoting it in key locations: Preferred areas to promote your sign-up are of course on the home page of your web site or blog, within your e-newsletter as a visible link, using Twitter to promote the latest issue of your newsletter, and your Facebook page to have a clear invitation to join your list or sign up. Be sure to include a brief description of the newsletter, and try to include a bonus offer as an incentive. Other less obvious techniques are to partner with someone else whose business is related to yours, or who has an audience that might be relevant to you, and ask them to offer your newsletter sign- up on their pages or as part of a bonus or bundle they are offering. It's great for branding, if you're partnering with the right company who already has an established presence.

2. Building Your Brand: This is most effectively done by establishing credibility online; stick to a regular publication schedule and be clear about your offers and promotions. Be sure to engage with your community using your social networks, so that when you make an offer, you have already established your online identity and purpose. You can also introduce targeted offers that link directly to your social media sites in order to encourage visitors and dialogue.
3. Evaluating Results and ROI: There are many ways of evaluating results of both your e-mail marketing and social media links. Good e-newsletter programs provide tracking reports that let  you know how many click throughs and on what pages your audience has taken action on. You can also introduce specific campaigns through social media and e-newsletters that lead to a course or product, and evaluate their success through web analytics and other metrics, as well as subscribers and conversions to sales. Click map reports also provide you with metrics on your social media sites.

At the end of the webinar, the q/a proved as interesting as the topic itself. Here's a sample of some of the questions and answers, some of which I've enriched and expanded upon:

Q: How do I know what social media sites to use to connect with prospects?
A: You can use surveys to ask this question of current clients or prospects to find out where they like to hang out online. You can also research various social media sites and find out on their profile pages who is typically visiting their site. If you subscribe to blogs and e-newsletters and want to connect with those folks, look for their social media connections and you'll see where they spend their time as well. Twitter also has tools, such as Twitter lists, and Twello, that allow you to find people according to niche areas. Also, Linked In has an advance search tool that enables you to locate individuals in specific positions, at specific companies.

Q: What resources do I need to embark on social media marketing?
A: It's fine to start out with one full-time or part-time staffer, and expand from there. You'll know when it's time to add staff or increase participation by more then one person, or if it's appropriate for several staffers to contribute. It's also a good idea to start slowly, and establish a presence on one or two sites to start, rather than trying to be all over the social media map. In terms of cost, the budget implication is really the cost of the personnel involved.

Q:  My company is resisting social media because they are afraid of negative comments. How do I respond?
A: That's the point, really. Not that negative comments are desired, but getting a dialogue going on early on and establishing mini forums, so to speak, are a great way to achieve customer satisfaction and clear the air if there has been a sensitive or controversial issue. It's also important information for you as a business owner to know. Plus, others are watching to see how you company handles these comments or complaints. If you respond directly and openly, go the extra mile to correct the problem as best you can, and show that you are paying attention to your customers, you've not only turned a disatisfied customer around, but gained some public relations points as well with others in your audience, and perhaps even among your competitors, who may not know how to handle this kind of input.

How about you? Have you discovered any tips for effectively combining social media with e-marketing? I'd like to hear your stories. Also, here's a free gift: there were about 40 slides that you can download through my Facebook FAN page that you will find useful. If you visit me there, post a quick comment so I know it's you!


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