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How to turn social followers into email subscribers

How to turn social followers into email subscribers Justin Williams

How do you make new friends -- through work, the gym, a bar perhaps? Chances are there was a point at which you crossed from knowing your friend casually in a group setting to communicating with that person directly. This is analogous to bringing your relationship with social followers into the email channel.

Social channels, while they can be one-to-one, are mostly like parties -- lots of people talking and listening at the same time. The message is necessarily different. Email is more like a letter -- better for creating a deeper relationship than parties (i.e., social channels) can offer.

Of course, you don't want to avoid social, but you should try to pull those customers ready for a deeper relationship into your email campaigns. Tactically, this is simple. You can post a message leading to your newsletter, or host a form field right there in the social platform.

But you'll need a good reason for an engaged social follower to become an email subscriber. You need to show not just the value of your emails, but appeal to the unique social character of that follower. And guess what -- not all followers are the same.

Some followers are bargain hunters

You might have attracted their attention with a deal found only on social channels. Capture these followers by offering an email-only deal, highlighting newsletters that contain unique bargains, or contests found only on email.

Some followers use social channels to tap into their acquaintances' wisdom

Approach these people with the tone of a knowledgeable friend who has just found something cool on your email list. For example, a shoe retailer could say, "I haven't seen these anywhere else -- get on this list, don't miss out!"

Some followers are socialites

Members of this group simply spend most of their online time on the social channel. There is still value in getting these followers on email -- the email channel is still better suited for cross-sell, personalization, and lifecycle marketing. These followers usually want to be in the know, up to date with the latest, and are particularly interested in what their friends are up to. To attract this group, promote your emails as trendy, insider, or exclusive content. Call your email list a club, association, or hangout. Use concepts like invitations to shopping events.

Of course, these are all general categories. For true strategic mastery of your social channel, find out for yourself how and why your followers came to follow you, and make sure to tailor your messaging appropriately.

Social channels engage; email nurtures and converts. Both are a natural part of your customers' lifecycles. Don't separate the channels -- connect them.

Justin Williams is a senior digital marketing strategist at StrongMail.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Hand press social network" image via Shutterstock.

As senior director for Internet and new media, Williams is overseeing digital-content development, including the network’s Web site and future products such as mobile-phone downloads, broadband video and video-on-demand.

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Commenter: Pamela Philpot

2012, September 11

The devil is in the detail. Know your audience and understand what they want.