Social email sharing can be an effective marketing method, but many oversee this opportunity. Some small businesses are still perplexed as to “this whole social sharing thing”, and especially how social sharing can successfully join forces with the workhorse of promotion, email marketing. Despite this confusion, businesses using a strong, permission-based contact list as a foundation can build a social media email campaign that deftly and effectively encourages subscribers to pass newsletters along to their friends.
To kick your social email campaigns into high gear, however, you’ll need to think well beyond the typical parts of email campaigns: layout, subject line and content. Here are the top seven tactics any small business can use to dig deeper and boost the social sharing of their email newsletters.
Focus on the benefits to the social email sharer
The act of simply dropping a few icons at the bottom of your email template is not going to get your social sharing rates to skyrocket. Your sharing options must be highlighted in every way you can, including your welcome messages and every single one of your newsletters. Your email content should also have social sharing as a prime focus to the point that you may want to dedicate an entire newsletter edition to what it is, how to do it, and the benefits your subscriber can derive from it. The stronger you make the incentive, the more your sharers will be motivated.
What’s the reason, what’s the rhyme?
Simply plunking a sharing link on a snoozer of an email newsletter is not going to get anyone to click on it. To get social email sharing you have to engage your audience with relevant share worthy content that excites them to the point where they will want to pass it along to their friends. Limited time discount offers, sneak peeks at highly anticipated new products, and exclusive free gifts for the sharer as well as their clique will capture both their interest and their click.
Emphasize sharing over FTAF
Forward To A Friend (FTAF) is a successful email marketing strategy, but social network sharing provides even more lucrative benefits for your small business. Without eliminating your FTAF, emphasize your sharing links so that your message will not simply be sent to a single friend, but to an entire social entourage.
Reward the evangelists
There will be a portion of your email subscribers who are absolutely committed to sharing your messages to their social circle. By identifying these customers through behavior tracking you can compile a list of your top sharers and then you can reward them appropriately. Spare no expense to provide them with double discount coupons, free accessory vouchers, VIP event invitations, even completely free merchandise. The cost is well worth it since if your small business can build up enough evangelists you can get rid of most of your sales staff!
Keep It Simple, Sharer! If your social email sharing strategy requires a Ph.D. in pattern theory to figure out, it will be as successful as The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Sharing is an impulse not a career choice, so ensure that you’re linking to only the most popular social networks among your audience while not forcing your subscribers to plough through endless links to moribund networks such as Friendster, Hi5, and Ning. Also make sure that your sharing buttons are large, clear, obviously visible, and most importantly, that they are not dead links!
Testing, 1, 2, 3, Testing…
A staggering proportion of all small business email marketers fail to test their newsletter campaigns at all. Would you place a new product on your shelf without later checking to see if anyone is buying it? Similarly, why run an email campaign if you don’t invest the time and effort to determine how the various elements are performing? Testers discover that something as minor as moving a sharing icon 200 pixels up can boost their open and click through rates.
Keep on keepin’ on
You can’t expect to send out one newsletter with one Twitter link and get more followers than Justin Bieber. Accumulating sharing results is going to take time and will vary considerably depending on your customer profile. Young, urban teens and twenty something on your B2C list will share more readily than your gray B2B top level executives.
Just because the clicks are coming slowly doesn’t mean you should despair and give up on breaking into the social sharing scene, you should instead persevere and keep refining your approach over time. By following these top seven strategies, you will ultimately master the art of the effective social media email campaign and reap the substantial benefits.