Posted: Tue 23rd Oct 2012
Here are five tips that can help you achieve growth in your email list and better email open rates.
Before even thinking about 'going social,' small businesses should turn to what they've been experts in for a long time: providing a fantastic experience for customers. WOW! moments can be big or small and they don't have to cost a lot of money. It can be as simple as greeting customers as they come in the door or providing (free!) advice to help a customer best use a product or service. These experiences are what turn visitors into loyal customers.
With a loyal base of customers, the first thing to do after you set up your social media accounts is let people know you're there and encourage your readers to join you there, too. Connect your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, inserting the appropriate logos on each, and put similar links in your email signature as well. Make it easy for people to find and connect with you. It's tempting to say a simple, 'I'm on Twitter. Follow me.' but sometimes customers will need an incentive to connect with you in one more place. Instead saying something like, 'Get exclusive discounts by following me on Twitter' might tempt more followers.
You may think adding social media to your marketing mix will mean more work. The good news is that this is not the case. You can, and should, repurpose newsletter content on Twitter and Facebook. If you archive emails or post newsletter content to your website, you can use your subject line or headline as the text for your tweet or Facebook post, with a link to the original piece. If your newsletter contains multiple articles, break each issue into chunks and share one piece daily (or weekly) on social media. Almost effortlessly, you have multiple days' worth of content to feed your social media channels.
How do you get your social media audience to subscribe to your email newsletter if they're not already? Tease them. Let's say you own a sports store and land an interview with former football star Alan Shearer that you plan to publish in your newsletter. Post a note on your social media sites: "I scored an interview with Alan Shearer! Subscribe to my newsletter to read what he has to say."
If customers ask questions on a social media site (or you see a question whose answer would benefit your audience), use them and your answers as the basis for newsletter articles. Also watch for industry-related trends on your social media sites and comment on them in your newsletter. If the idea well is either running dry or overflowing, ask your social media fans and followers for help. When ideas are running short, ask what they want to hear about. If you have too many ideas, ask which of the items you're considering resonates the most.
Craigie's Farm, Deli and CafÃ© - a family business based between South Queensferry and Edinburgh - is a perfect example of a small business blending social media and email marketing effectively. "We know the type of audience we're reaching on Facebook, with 80 per cent of our 2,668 fans being between 25-45 and the majority being female," says owner John Sinclair. "With this in mind, it's important we use email to stay in contact with our older customer base, who typically don't use social networking sites. "However, social media is an important way for us to grow our email list and maintain momentum, so we're always looking to post engaging content that our customers will like and share. We also monitor our competitors on social channels." The combination of email and social media, both tailored with specific audiences in mind, has enabled Craigie's to save roughly Â£20,000 a year on newspaper advertising, while growing its email list and social media following. By implementing even just a few of the simple tactics outlined above, you'll reap the rewards of having an integrated marketing strategy.
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Photo credit: Nomadic Lass