Are you struggling to increase your in-house email list in order to extend your marketing reach? There is a growing percentage of the online population that does not sign up for emails or newsletters. Instead they get their information predominately through social networking sites and portals. To reach them, one has to get to them either through their contacts, the groups they belong to, or those they follow. But email can be the vehicle to do just that.
Email can enable and even encourage content to be shared with social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. This then allows for an extended reach to those people who haven’t opted in to receive emails from you. Plus the marketer retains some control over what specifically can be shared. For example, it might be a video, particular imagery, or a special offer. You as the marketer get to decide.
In addition to getting your content exposed to a much broader audience, sharing email content gives those doing the sharing the opportunity to add value to their respective networks. This is a huge motivator for many social networkers because it puts them in the role of trusted advisor. (Consider how often a tweet from someone in your network is simply a retweet.) This also allows a marketer to enable their audiences to evangelize on your behalf.
This opportunity to reach the previously unreachable, and to simultaneously empower your audience to demonstrate value to their network, can lead to very high conversion rates, especially if your goal is to not only reach new prospects but also to add new subscribers to your in-house list.
The latest statistics indicate that the number of people seeing content increases approximately 24% with social networking/email integration compared to relying on email alone. That’s a massive increase for virtually no cost. FTF (forward to a friend) has been considered an email best practice for years, and it’s one marketers should keep doing. But social forwarding features blow it away when you look at the extended reach enabled by social networking vs. FTF email.
The typical social networker has approximately 160 connections. When they share something in their network, the message they are sharing is exposed to their whole network. Compare that quantity to the person who forwards an email using FTF: Typically 1 in 1,000 email recipients actually forwards via FTF, and of those that do, the vast majority forward to 3 people or less. And hardly any of them subscribe as the result of getting the forward. It’s easy to see that when you provide interesting, valuable and relevant content into a socially networked environment (i.e. content people will want to share), some of the new people you’ve just reached will sign up with your company directly for future news or shareworthy information.
When you add social networking integration via a tool like Share-to-Social or Social Forward, be sure to provide instructions to your audience about how to share specific offers or content, and help them understand why they should. Language such as “Click the Facebook icon to the right to share these recipes with your network” tells the user the action to take (click to share) and implies the benefit (you’ll delight your friends).
All of this, however, is predicated on having information worth sharing. Your content has to have value. It must be relevant, interesting and appealing. Period.
The organic list growth opportunity is staggering too, as the latest research from MarketingSherpa and authors David Daniels and Jeanniey Mullen* show that the typical lifetime value of a new email address is between $120 and $180 each! Growing your list by just 100 recipients would play out to something like a $15,000 lift to the bottom line. Cha-ching.
Email marketing still offers the highest ROI. Imagine what you can achieve when you multiply its reach by integrating social networking features into your email campaigns!
*In their book, Email Marketing: An Hour a Day
– Marco Marini