The hot topic a few years ago was "convergence"
of interactive mediums like the internet and passive audience mediums
like television. Well, it seems that convergence has come and gone, and
now online marketers have to face yet another convergence: this time
one between conventional email
marketing and social networking promotion
Email = Formal, Social Networking = Casual
Social networking's growth may be considered inverse to that of email,
as the 140 character twit gradually replaces many users' formal inbox.
However, the two paradigms will generally continue to co-exist and
settle into more sustainable forms. Social networking will gravitate
towards the more casual, sound-bite type of applications while email
remains the formal long-form, comprehensive vector.
Social Networking Adds Value To
The primary reasons why a marketer should aspire to have their email
converge with social networking is to take advantage of the value that
the networks can bring to the success of your program.
||Personal endorsement: When
your customers display your message in their own spaces, it constitutes
a personal endorsement to their social circle. This is the 21st century
equivalent of word of mouth, the perennially successful marketing
involvement: By encouraging interest in your brand within a
social context, your message will be seen to be relevant and thus will
be anticipated when it shows up in the inbox, making it far more likely
to be acted upon.
Building: Attracting new participants to your email marketing
program increases your email list by gradual accretion.
Beating the SWYN Automaton Odds
Much has been written about how SWYN (Share With Your Network) is
replacing the far less successful FTAF (Forward To A Friend), yet it is
not sufficient to simply toss in a few social network links at the
bottom of an email. Your customers are not automatons who can be relied
on pushing a SWYN button the statistical average of 1.75% of times
received. The reader has to find the information compelling and
relevant enough to be motivated to share it. What does the message
contain that is shareable, not overall but to that specific individual
and their social circle? Is a sportscar group going to be more
interested in a special discount on a GPS system or on a dishwasher?
Your message has to have exceptional merit to be deemed worthy of
sharing. A daily barrage of $5 off this hard drive today replacing
yesterday's sale of $5 off its stablemate will only desensitize the
reader. In order to get excited enough to share an offer, your customer
has to be wowed by it. Successful SWYN emails contain truly exclusive
"insider-only" content and are measured in a frequency of months, not
Logic & Relevance Are The
The networks listed in a SWYN feature need also be made relevant. If
your message regards a special discount on maternity wear, does it need
to have a link to Digg, a site that deals in primarily technology and
political news? The placement of the SWYN is important as well. Why
line them all up like neglected little soldiers at the bottom of the
email when they can be integrated in a logical and relevant fashion
within the message itself?
More than ever before, marketers have to walk a mile in their
customers' moccasins and embrace their individual motivations.
Successful marketing historically began as a conversation, then became
a "one-to-everybody" spot on Ed Sullivan or the SuperBowl, and now is
back to being a conversation.