I preach a lot about getting email out of the silo it’s often relegated to within companies or marketing departments, and these days I think most marketers realize how important good email integration with other marketing (especially digital) channels and sales systems is to success. But once you’ve created a regular email communications program, or developed your smart auto-responders, are you remembering to strategically use email to strengthen and encourage relationships with your list members in other channels?
Yes, I’m talking about using email to grow and deepen connections with your people outside the in-box. Why would you want to do that? Lots of reasons, but here’s the biggie:
People use multiple media platforms for communication. Conversations started in one channel don’t juststay there. Simply because a customer signed up for your email doesn’t mean they’re not also following you on Twitter or Facebook and might want to communicate there too. If you’re a retailer or other brick-and-mortar business the dimensions broaden because your customers and prospects will interact with your brand in your storefronts, at your events, or both. Not to mention direct mail and telephone.
Today we have seemingly endless ways to research, shop and buy what we need and want. To an increasing degree, those purchase decisions involve multiple interaction points and channels along the path to a “buy” decision.
So the more platforms you build your customer relationships in, the stronger they become. Here are four proactive ways email can help you do this:
1. Link to Social Media
The obvious tactic these days is to direct your email subscribers to your points of presence on popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Less obvious is including a compelling reason why they should connect with you on social media in addition to email. Contests and sweepstakes can work well in building social media fan/follower bases rapidly, but don’t overlook couponing and the promise of exclusive treatment, content or access for your social network community members only.
Integration is easily done with graphic icons included in your email message or message template which link to your profile pages on social networking sites.
2. Drive Store Traffic
Need feet through the door? Invite your email subscribers to visit you in person instead of through your online storefront by using email for alerts, announcements and reminders specific to in-store sales or events. “In-store” only specials are a great way to direct response offline vs. online. Store openings, clearances, benefits, or community events are also great ways to draw your target market into your actual place of business.
3. Promote Events
For event organizers, email is an obvious pre-and post-event communications channel for delivering vital information to attendees, but how many of us not in the events business remember to promote where we’ll be through email? Anywhere you will publicly be is technically an “event”. Events are not just conferences and conventions, but also speaking engagements, charity benefits, community gatherings, meet-ups, seminars, workshops, teleseminars, webinars, trade shows, craft fairs, cross-country roadshows, festivals, sports games, concerts, networking meetings and countless more!
This one is vital, because chances are the majority of people on your email list will not have had the chance to interact with you offline or meet anyone from your company in person. Even if you’re a retail business and they’ve shopped in person, a store location might be the only place they’ve ever encountered your brand offline. In an increasingly impersonal world, people are hungry for face-to-face connections. Leverage every opportunity you can to make them.
4. Connect to Online Content & Community
Use email to both promote and drive awareness of your blog, videos, webinars, audio, or other content and information hosted online in order to gain subscribers, increase audience sizes and leverage distribution. For example, you can distribute new blog posts via email for those who’d like updates sent straight to their in-box (vs. checking an RSS feed). Here’s more about how to make your blog and email friends.
Plus, promote and feature the proprietary content and communities you host online from within your email by announcing it, linking to it, inviting comments, etc. Remember, just because they’re your email list members doesn’t mean they’ll know what you’re up to elsewhere online unless you tell them!
A major objective of your marketing should be that it’s memorable. After two weeks, people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, but 50% of what they see and hear. Your prospects and customers are more likely to learn and retain information when it’s presented in multiple modes, and your content will get more attention if you offer people multiple formats in which they can consume it.
Helping your people interact with your content, and you, in multiple ways makes you memorable. And when they’re seeking a product or service like yours, the more memorable you are, the more likely they are to buy from you.Tags: digital marketing, email marketing, events, integration, leverage, marketing, online content