Marketing departments have been working in silos for so long that this potentially toxic practice has become the norm. But keeping marketing functions distinct from one another--particularly when handling social outreach and email marketing--creates a disjointed experience for consumers and robs both parties of valuable insights.
Granted, email and social do a fine job on their own. The combination of the two, however, is far more powerful. To create a seamless customer experience throughout the purchase cycle, marketers need to combine email and social media marketing activities and insights. Not only should email marketing include hashtag campaigns, but social media posts should echo email content. Through consistent and complementary content, marketers will find their best brand advocates, which will lead to increased consumer engagement and drive sales.
Following are four reasons why brands need to combine their social media and email marketing activities:
1. Customer-managed relationships: No, that’s not a typo. Customer relationship management has gone the way of the dinosaur. Brands traditionally drive the relationship with their customers, but today’s consumer wants more autonomy in their relationship with brands. This has given rise to customer-managed relationships (CMR).
We see CMR at work when social media and email marketing work together. For example, a consumer receives a coupon via email from one of her favorite brands. When that consumer shares the email on social media, her friends see the email and might click on the post to view the coupon. If a friend then uses the coupon or subscribes to the brand’s email list, it would be a win for the brand’s marketing team. The brand did not have a relationship with the second consumer before, but because the first consumer managed the relationship, they introduced the second consumer to the brand.
Takeaway: When email and social media work together, brands empower their current customers to share brand content with their networks, thus helping brands reach new consumers.
2. Alternative to ads: Social ads allow for easy targeting and are often cheap. Despite this, they don’t always reach the right audience. When that happens, these ads can quickly become expensive.
When fans of brands share offers and other content they receive via email, brands know they are reaching their true target audience. This is because social media users are cautious of sharing brand content on social media lest their friends to consider them spammers. When consumers do share, they are confident that the content is relevant to their followers. Therefore, brands can be confident as well.
Social ads have their place in marketing. Many brands have experienced great success with social ads, but the combination of email and social media provides an alternative.
Takeaway: Combining email and social media efforts empowers consumers to push content via their own feeds.
3. Email acquisition engine: Marketers are always looking for innovative, new ways to capture email addresses for new subscribers. When social media and email efforts collide, marketers benefit. The example discussed in “CMR” explains how email acquisition happens on social media. When someone clicks on brand content via a friend’s social media post, he can choose to join the brand’s mailing list.
This starts a cyclical process. The additional consumer will start receiving brand email, and he might choose to post some messages on social media. When his friends see, they click and purchase. This means more engagement and sales for brands.
Takeaway: When consumers share engaging brand content on social media, it introduces brands to a new group of consumers.
4. Increased engagement: Again, marketers are always seeking new methods for increasing consumer engagement for digital campaigns. For digital, engagement is often the metric of choice.
Consumers are unlikely to spontaneously post about their recent purchase from a brand. However, cool, interesting, useful email content gives consumers something to share on social media about their favorite brands.
For example, food companies such as Kraft often share recipes via email, which moms or foodies are likely to share on Facebook or Pinterest. Clothing retailers such as Banana Republic often send email messages with different ways to wear new items. Again, this content is social media-friendly and provides value beyond pushing consumers toward and immediate purchase.
Takeaway: Brands looking to increase social engagement should send shareable content via email.
Marketers are used to dealing with interdepartmental silos, but they need to examine how all areas of the marketing department work together. Silos prevent all functionalities from being as powerful as possible, but this is particularly true for email and social media. When the two popular efforts combine, brands identify their best brand advocates. Through joint social-email efforts, brands will benefit from increased customer engagement, more loyal customers and increased sales.