Email marketing powers ROI and social media pollination

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John Hayes, EMEA business development executive, iContact Corp.
John Hayes, EMEA business development executive, iContact Corp.

A permission-based email list is a beautiful thing. Some may see it as a bucketful of names to throw product and promotional information at. Others see it as cash cow, ready to be milked at every opportunity. I see it as something far more valuable.

As email marketing becomes ever more entwined with the world of social media, it evolves into something far beyond the low-cost-retention tool it is normally perceived as. Email, when combined with social media, is becoming an acquisition tool. The great news for marketers is that it does not come with the sky-high price tag of typical acquisition channels such as pay-per-click.

Behind every email list, there is an opportunity to recruit an army of passionate brand ambassadors. These ambassadors are not only likely to buy from you again and again, but will also happily share your message with their network of social media friends and followers.

The recent explosion in daily deal and coupon sites perhaps best demonstrates this. A subscriber receives news of a great deal and he will shout about it from the rooftops, or at the very least hit his Facebook “like” button. Email marketers who don't feature social tools within their creative are missing an opportunity to extend the reach of their campaigns and capitalize on the strength of their subscribers' extended networks.

But for a marketer to recognize the true value of socially enhanced email marketing, it must be able to track its performance. We already know that email offers marketers the highest ROI of any digital marketing tool. We also know that while most social media activity is free, the time invested in managing campaigns can be expensive and tracking results problematic.

It makes sense to combine the inherent strengths of email and social media. Most email marketing tools already feature detailed analytic suites and the forward-thinking email service providers have started integrating social media tools and tracking into their software. By allowing email marketers to propagate social media campaigns directly alongside email, with no additional investment in time, and then track the success of both email and social side-by-side, email becomes a powerful resource.

The potential for a single email to be shared across vast networks of interconnected friends and followers is huge. Remember, because your list is permission-based, the chances of it being shared are so much greater than when just posting it directly to Facebook or Twitter.

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