What Email Service Providers Can Learn from Facebook

Email marketing typically proves the highest ROI for digital marketing spend. Various studies have shown the return to be 30, 35, 40 or even 40+ in revenue dollars per dollar spent on email.

Email doesn’t always receive the recognition it should. Have you ever talked to a business owner who told you how well their boosted post worked this week, but didn’t recall the performance of their triggered email campaigns?

Why are business owners drawn to social media marketing like a shiny penny? The answer is that social media does a wonderful job of putting positive, instantly gratifying stats in front of decision makers and then encouraging them to take more action.

Email Service Providers could learn and mimic a few things from social media. What if email platforms took these five cues from Facebook?

  1. Keep results in front of the business owner at all times.  When someone opens their Facebook app to see their personal account updates, they also see notifications about new engagement on their company page.  What if every time an executive or entrepreneur checked their email messages, they saw a link to check email marketing stats?
  2. Provide instant gratification.  Put up a post on social and an hour later you see an update…you’ve had 50 views, 4 likes and 2 comments. Hours later the stats are higher.  What if 10 minutes after sending an email, you receive a push notification like this: “600 people opened your message and 4 carts were initiated”?  A couple hours later you would see that 5,000 people opened your email, 1,800 people clicked, 50 added an item to their cart and 36 made a purchase. Wouldn’t this be more exciting than seeing you had a 14.7% open rate and an 8.2% click rate?
  3. Provide encouraging prompts to send more email.  How often have you seen a message like this from Facebook: “Your post is doing better than 80% of your other posts, consider boosting it for $20”?  Why not share an update that says, “Your last email generated 10% more revenue than other emails, consider resending it with a new subject line to non-openers?”
  4. Celebrate milestones.  You’ve reached 1,000 followers on social.  Why not, “Congratulations, you’ve reached 100,000 subscribers!”
  5. Make secondary actions a focus.  Business owners can see not only likes on a social media post, but every comment coming in on their social posts, as well as every share and perhaps what those shares generated for engagement.  Do we tell them how many times their email was forwarded or initiated a dialog with customer service, or how many cold addresses were re-engaged and abandon searches were converted? There is a lot of good that email generates which is often left off the metrics reporting.

Email marketing is very different from social and the actions to create and deploy emails can be left with the marketing team. But what if, as marketers, we all celebrate successes a little more, make metrics easy to translate into customers and dollars, keep actions visible at all times, and encourage taking more actions? Your high ROI tool might just get a little shinier and more celebrated than the pennies around it.

Colleen Cardarella
eec Advocacy Subcommittee
Principal | Peak Marketing Communications, LLC