Ever thought of digital marketing as a game?
To some extent it is: you’ve got to give yourself the best chance of winning by collecting as many followers as possible. You want to rank as high as you can on the leaderboard (Google) so everybody knows you’re a strong player. You need to fill your email lists with highly engaged subscribers and, ultimately, you’ll need to outsell as many of your competitors as possible.
Now, it’s not a perfect science, but as with all the most brilliant game players, you should consider how to optimize your campaigns. Where the best chess players use each piece in their arsenal for one aligned goal, you too should consider how to make the most of all your digital marketing channels together. It may seem like a juggling act, but aligning your content, website, email marketing and social media endeavors is worthwhile – we promise!
In this mini-series, I will be considering how to use email marketing and PPC advertising campaigns together to engage your current stakeholders, find new prospective customers for your business and maximize your ROI. We’ll start by considering how email marketing and social media might be combined, with examples you can put into practice right away.
Email marketing and social media: Rebuild your lists from your online channels
GDPR: a buzzword now quieting somewhat from the forefront of marketers’ minds, but which likely influenced the email lists you use daily in your campaigns. It is unlikely, however, that it had much of an adverse effect on your social media followers and your ability to reach new people on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Try running lead-generating campaigns targeting followers of your social channels to help bolster your lists: it’s probable that a number of your socially-engaged followers managed to slip through the net of a GDPR-driven repermissioning email campaign back in May 2018. Even disregarding the GDPR effect, it’s highly unlikely that all your followers, likes and subscribers have also consented to receiving your email communications on top of your social channels. In targeting your posts and PPC at those that are already engaged with your brand, you’re far more likely to see high engagement with your ads, and this may well relate to new email subscribers that are equally likely to open your emails.
It’s worth trialing both regular posts and PPC to your social audiences as any message can be easily overlooked. Sponsored updates can reinforce your proposition, and follow your social subscribers around the internet. It goes without saying – always include the ability to opt-in to email communications on your landing pages, and make it a mandatory yes/ no choice, rather than a checkbox to be ignored.
Re-engage your current subscribers
It’s also worth noting that you will have social followers already signed up to your email communications; you can use this as an opportunity to give these contacts a choice about what communications they receive from you. As a part of your landing page process, offer them the ability to access an email preference center, so any gripes that they currently have with your campaigns can be wiped clean. If you can ensure that your subscribers are receiving exactly what they are interested in, they’re more likely to remain engaged, and less likely to unsubscribe to everything.
So, what can you use as an incentive to capture information in your PPC landing page forms?
Depending on your industry, you have the ability to offer a range of benefits to entice your followers into subscribing to your emails, including:
- A free gift/trial
- An eGuide or report
- Exclusive discounts
- Industry news and educational material
- Early access to your new products/services
- Behind-the-scenes insight into your business
- Access to further information about your products/services
- Technological updates/ improvements to your service or offerings in the future
- Anything that your business personas might engage with or see value in
If you’re able to sell the value to your followers, it will be an easy decision for them to also opt in to your emails. Then offer similar incentives after an amount of time; why not set up an automation program that offers them an extra 10% off six months down the line? Offer them the same deal, or a new free report six months after they subscribed – you can assume that this is something they would value as they previously took the time to subscribe for the same reasons half a year previously.
Capture the specifics to target your email campaigns
Make a trade with your subscribers. Offer them something of use and you will be able to capture specific information that can feed your email campaigns. For example, specialist taxi dealer The Taxi Shop built a highly-targeted email campaign, generated from qualified leads on Facebook. They ran a campaign targeting people interested in their taxis, then segmented this audience to hone in on those leads specifically interested in minibuses. These leads were then added to an automation program which sent them targeted emails based on their landing page selections (see all options in the image below).
The result was a strong 190 clicks of their targeted product and £26,500 in revenue which translates to an 823% return on investment. The Taxi Shop’s example is a brilliant showcase of how you can make use of email marketing and social media to capture specific details from engaged followers, allowing a highly targeted email follow-up campaign.
Drive your email subscribers to follow and engage with your social channels
Feel free to reverse the process too: consider how you could include social media links in your emails so highly-engaged customers can stay up-to-date across as many channels as possible. These links could be simple drivers to your pages, email share buttons, or even individual links to share content/products that you are featuring in your newsletters.
Creating a seamless experience across digital channels can enrich your success. It’s becoming especially accessible for email subscribers considering the proportion of readers using mobile devices to access your campaigns.
According to Adestra’s Top 10 Email Clients report, in September 2018 almost 60% of email opens came through a mobile device, which is also likely to be where most users engage with your social channels. If you’re able to streamline the journey between your email marketing and social media it’s likely that your subscribers will return to your campaigns again in the future. Ensure you have an email template that is responsive, and keep your email marketing and social media channels up-to-date with your brand styles to ensure consistency. If you’re driving social engagement, use the same images, videos and headers across channels to reduce any post-click thinking that your subscribers need to do – attention spans are getting shorter (less than 3 seconds per piece of content on Facebook), so keep it simple.
Drive campaign engagement across channels
Take Purina’s “#uptomischief” campaign as a good example. A banner image tops the page clearly presenting their mascot Felix, with the hashtag integrated well. This imagery is consistent with their Facebook page and a reader can immediately associate the campaign with social media channels due to the instant inclusion of a hashtag. The email creatively plays on social media’s fixation on pet videos, requesting that recipients post their own cat recordings using their hashtag.
This tactic is even more intelligent than it first seems; many people will browse their emails as a part of their daily routine, and this may well coincide with checking their social media channels. In presenting a playful hashtag to follow, and perhaps post to themselves, a good number of subscribers will be driven to look at other people’s posts for entertainment and may therefore associate that positively with Purina’s brand. What’s more is that it seems their email marketing and social media campaign was effective, with a brilliant 58% click-to-open rate: they must be ‘feline’ good about that!
The lesson to learn here is to consider what your audience wants; this is likely to be consistent across different channels. It’s likely that someone who subscribes to a cat food company’s email programs will be interested in cat videos, and most people also have a Facebook account. The result can be excellent, with more engagement across your campaigns.