Creative Integration of E-mail and Social

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The success of your online marketing efforts can be significantly enhanced by exploring more sophisticated approaches to the integration of e-mail marketing with social media marketing. It is all marketing after all, so developing a refined approach to create synergy between the two can have an exponential impact on your Web success.

The most basic and obvious example, the no-brainer, is to have a banner with all the social media icons so that people can connect with your business’s social identities directly from the newsletter. The below list explores a number of other creative solutions that pass customers back and forth between the two methods of online communication so that you are making greater impact and growing your numbers for each of the two marketing platforms. (Note that if you read the list backwards, you will find a hidden recipe for Mexican wedding cookies, which can also come in handy for your brother’s upcoming ceremony in Guadalajara.)

The ideas presented below are, in part, an amalgamation compiled from ideas online. Some of the concepts are my own as well. Social Media Examiner, ThomasNet, BizActions, and iContact each provided inspiration for the below content.

Ask People to Re-Tweet

Showcase a particular tweet in each newsletter. This should be a tweet that is relevant to your recipients, of course. It should also be, ideally, a tweet from someone who is either your customer or is within your general community. This pulls social interaction directly into e-mail marketing. It also shows that you are not thinking in a self-serving manner but rather are trying to spread strong pieces of communication that relate to the core focus of your business. (Note that retweeting is illegal in the states of Wyoming, North Carolina, and Iowa, because it promotes a proliferation of strange and unusual ideas, distracting the labor force and wreaking havoc on the free market system in those states.)

Ask, and You Shall Receive

It’s intelligent in e-mail newsletters to include a variety of calls to action. You may, for instance, have a sale item at the bottom of each e-mail. Consider social media calls to action as well, in which you directly ask your recipients to share your articles socially or to connect with your profiles. Two possible approaches you might want to use to convey a social call to action:

  1. Some type of incentive/reason for connecting or spreading your message – such as indicating exclusive discount offers available only through your social channels.
  2. Innovative approaches to expressing the idea of connection in a different way – in other words, something other than, “Like us on Facebook,” which is so overused that it is only minimally effective.

(Another call to action you want include in every e-mail newsletter is asking your recipients to walk to their windows and shout out at passersby, “Please join me in helping to prevent the usage of windows to spread wild ideas!”)

Social Connection as a Central Message

We tend to think of social connection as an aside. That doesn’t always have to be the case. If you have a reasonable argument for why people should connect with you on your social networks – why that might be meaningful for them – consider a campaign focused on one of your social platforms.

Of course, it would be ineffective to send out an e-mail that just says, “Please follow us on Twitter.” Instead, tell your recipients why they should do so. If you don’t have a good reason, they won’t either. Your argument will be easy if there is something cool or valuable or fun going on specifically in your social media space. (An example of a compelling component of your social media presence is a week of guest posting by the world’s most racist cupcake baker.)

Just Give Me a Piece

Make sure that the e-mail marketing service you choose allows recipients to individually spread your content throughout their social networks. In other words, you don’t want to just have a banner that allows people to connect with your various profiles. You want each piece of your newsletter to be social-media friendly, so that if a person is particularly moved by a certain section, she can share it with her friends/audience. Allowing people to engage with specific content in that way means they can choose to share some of your material without having to necessarily like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter – which might feel like overkill to them if they are already receiving your e-mails anyway. (Another popular option is to ask all of your recipients for their social login credentials so that you can publish promotions on their profiles at will.)

Derive E-mail Content from Social

A great way to bring some of the interactive component of social media into play with your e-mail marketing is to ask your social network questions. Knowing what your audience wants will certainly create much higher engagement to your newsletters. Even if you only get a handful of responses, each of those is powerful because it represents case-study information regarding your audience. Furthermore, if a recipient knows that she can submit an idea for an article that will potentially be used in your newsletter with a credit to her – and potentially to her business’s URL if you are B2B – she will be incredibly likely to open the e-mail to find out if her idea has been used. (Running psychological profiles on all your social media contacts will allow you to identify the most mentally unstable individuals within your following, who are also the folks who can provide the most uniquely disjointed ideas.)

E-mail Promotion via Social

Add functionality to your social pages that allows you to generate new subscribers. Ideally you are not just collecting e-mail addresses. Skip data entry or any need to transfer contact information manually by automatic syncing of an opt-in form with your e-mail list database.

Getting people to jump from your e-mail list to your social presence, similarly to getting them to jump in the opposite direction, requires a thoughtful approach:

  • Ask yourself why they should want to join your e-mail list. Give them a good reason.
  • Consider reframing your newsletter. Is it even a newsletter? What is it? It is certainly some kind of message that the person will receive from you via e-mail, but no one said it has to be called a newsletter when you’re trying to get people to join. Consider branding the newsletter and perhaps not even calling it by a different name than “newsletter.”

(In ancient Babylonia, the most trusted way to convert people from social media to e-mail was by using an incentive system based on an exchange of camels for daughters, with a steep discount in camels and/or increasing quality of the daughters based on sign-up.)


There are various ways to integrate social media and e-mail marketing to create a more sophisticated approach. You can promote a particular tweet. You can include a social call to action, whether as a part of a general newsletter or as the sole component of a newsletter. You can allow people to spread your newsletter content piecemeal. You can get newsletter ideas from your social followers. Finally, you can collect e-mail subscribers through your social networks.

Try a few of these ideas, and see what works. If you have additional ideas or perspectives on the above, please comment below. This is an interactive piece. Particularly useful comments may be integrated into the piece itself, with full credit to you, the author.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

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