Tricks 3 and 4
Some companies put a face on their social media marketing by revealing the real person behind the tweets or blog. It forges a more personal connection with the brand and makes fans feel like they're getting insider information. The same tactic can work in email. It works particularly well if your company's founder or CEO is well known or has a distinctive style. Ann Taylor sends emails featuring picks from Lisa, its lead designer. Even if you don't have a well-known personality behind your company, you can feature employees, like Urban Outfitters has done recently. The company shined a spotlight on an employee of the month by doing a feature on her and pulling together a page showing her product picks.
Another way to be real is to give backstage access to your email subscribers. Show them scenes from a recent catalog shoot or model casting. Or perhaps a travelogue from your head buyer detailing the search for the perfect items for fall. Redken recently sent an email showcasing hair trends as seen on the runway, along with step-by-step instructions and videos for recreating the looks from shows by Marc Jacobs and other top designers.
More than the ABCs
Social media is about learning, discovering, and sharing. It's not about overtly selling, so don't "always be closing." Try weaving in some editorial content, like seasonal trends, or how-to tutorials, similar to the Redken example above. I call this goodwill messaging. In this way, your emails fit into your customers' lifestyles, and they will look forward to hearing what you have to say -- rather than ignoring your email because they aren't buying anything right now.
One company that gets it right is VivaTerra, a company focused on green, sustainable, global products. Each month the company sends an eco-newsletter with a topic based on a theme, like green weddings. Ninety percent of the content is editorial, with a small section set aside for product promotion.