The relationship between social media and email marketing is still embryonic. However, as the number of message options continues to proliferate, brands have to ensure that they integrate their social media and email marketing offerings into their digital marketing strategy. This enables them to place the multi-channel customer at the heart of their campaigns, and carefully position themselves where their customers – both existing and future – are located. This is vitally important because it provides you with the ability to offer your customers more choice when they are deciding which channel through which to communicate with you.

The relevance of the content, for the email recipient, is now a much more important element than it was five years ago, as more and more consumers have the opportunity to share and interact with content on social media websites. Email marketing is still incredibly strong and powerful but instead of being a lone entity it is now at the centre of a complex web of dialogues that aim to generate marketing goals including lead nurturing, client acquisition, cross selling/up-selling and customer retention. Social media is becoming an essential channel for communication, providing brands and organisations with new channels to communicate product launches and promotions through to driving sales and attendance at events. The important thing to remember is that it is only when you integrate social media with other channels such as email, that the benefits of strong brand engagement and customer relationships are truly realised.

Understanding that you can no longer look at your database as a list of email addresses is essential to this. You have to view them as prospects and customers, with their own personality and preferences. This individuality is of paramount importance to maintaining a high level of engagement, so make sure you tailor your messaging accordingly. Consumers want to choose what, when, where and how they communicate with brands. Therefore not only do you have to implement a tailored and targeted email campaign, you also need to build your brand awareness and extend your visibility across all the major social media platforms and make it easy for your customers to contact and interact with you. This will ensure you capture the attention of the millions of people sharing, networking and engaging within that space, but also provide you with the ability to monitor and look at who is engaging with you, what they are saying about you and what the key trigger points for making contact are. This will then provide you with valuable insight into their behaviours and preferences which you can use to refine your email marketing, to make it even more tailored and likely to provoke a higher level of response.

However, just because you are operating in these different channels it doesn’t mean people will respond directly to you. Seeing an interesting subject line and reading an email, even if no link is clicked, can still lead to an action. They may react to your brand messaging by posting on a blog or on their Facebook page, so it is vital that you monitor all the channels and integrate them into your email marketing strategy to generate a constant flow of new information to and from your data systems.

Recent digital trends confirm that modern day consumers forward more promotional emails now than over past years. The significance of relevant, event-based and personalised content becomes more important in email marketing. Furthermore, promotions, discounts and special ‘deals’ are still the main reasons why people start following brands on social media and even care to register for marketing programmes. At the same time, there is also a shift in marketing objectives towards customer retention and loyalty. Customer satisfaction leads to customer acquisition in a connected world, thanks largely to the positive word-of-mouth that happy customers generate on the various channels they’re using to communicate.

One of the most important issues that companies face with social media is proving its value and how it can keep campaigns alive. Ultimately brands want to know that it helps to increase sales and ROI for the company’s products and services. This is where analytics come into play. Professional social analytic tools like eCircle’s eC-social give you a complete overview of your campaign results, including customer interactions, the number of followers, “Likes” and the content being shared. For most of your prospects, social media platforms are where they spend most of their time. Therefore it’s really important to use brand pages or profiles to stimulate their interest beyond your initial email and to plug the gap in between future email contact. Use these to drive qualified traffic to your website and sign ups to your newsletters, where you can better sell your products. User generated content, such as a customer reviews are extremely influential, so utilise this content and don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your email campaigns.

The powerful combination of social media and email allows marketers to interact with consumers, fans, followers and friends on a whole new and more personal level. By plugging your social media content into your email newsletters you can extend your visibility and utilise social media’s viral effects and its ability to generate brand awareness and engagement instantly at the click of a button. This will not only guarantee your website more traffic and provide you with access to new audiences, it will allow you to show thought leadership. But you have to be smart. Recognise that you are dealing with different types of consumers, with different attributes and respond to them accordingly, whilst also recognising that the strength of your email marketing campaign lies in providing a wealth of opportunities for them to contact and interact with you.

Simon Bowker

Simon Bowker


Simon Bowker is Managing Director of eCircle UK.