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August Newsletter – see why email matters in social…

The Opinion piece is reproduced below. The full text is available here:

Why Email Should Be Integrated Into Social Marketing Strategies

Vijay Sundaram

In most marketing organizations, email and social occupy distinct silos – different marketing goals, responsibilities, and enabling platforms. Each group develops its own strategy and runs its own programs. This is a huge lost opportunity.

The goal of social marketing programs is to gain new reach using social connections, and to uncover consumers who can influence others. A well-constructed marketing program should provide multiple ways (or channels) for consumers to connect – like Facebook, Twitter, blogs – and most certainly, email. Marketers must remain channel agnostic to leverage all performing marketing assets. The best choice is to leave the choice to the consumer.

SocialTwist has implemented hundreds of social referral programs across a number of industries, including consumer products, financial institutions, and member and service organizations. Our platform enables multiple communication channels, from a single user interface. Email has always served as an essential component and has proven to be very effective.

SocialTwist Observations

  • On average, more than 50% of consumers explicitly choose email to refer products and offers to their friends. In most cases, each consumer connects with 3 or more friends.
  • Email open rates average 54%, with several programs seeing even higher numbers.
  • Email click-through rates average more than 28%.

So, why do we see these spectacular results? Here are some possible explanations.

  • Email is seen as more personal vehicle since it comes directly from a known, often trusted, party.
  • It is seen as more appropriate for products that reveal personal choices (eg, beauty products). One such program on SocialTwist saw 90% of referrals made through email, despite options to use any social network.
  • Email is tested and well understood. Email programs can be set up to be CAN-SPAM compliant (a Bureau of Advertising regulation). Recipients can opt-out. Spam control is automatically triggered. There are clear penalties for misuse.
  • It offers more flexibility for distinctive messaging, posing fewer limitations on space and creative expression.

Recommendations

  • Social marketing must leave the choice of communication vehicles to individual consumers.
  • There is no doubt that Facebook, Twitter and other social channels provide broad reach, immediacy, and quick response. But even these programs work better, when they’re augmented with email.
  • Email is a complementary channel that should be integrated into social marketing programs, where it actually performs better than when used in isolation.
  • Use of email leverages prior investments and assets in mailing lists and affiliated audiences.

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