9 Ways to Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing

social media how to

Are you wondering how to add social media to your email communications?

Email and social media marketing go together like Batman and Robin.

They both can be effective on their own; however, when combined, their (super) powers can save the city and exceed your marketing goals.

Is Email Dead?

In this article I’ll show you how to combine email marketing with your social media efforts.

In a recent StrongMail survey, ”More than two-thirds of business leaders (68%) say they plan to integrate social media with their email marketing efforts in 2012″ (as reported by MarketingProfs on December 12, 2011).

As a guy who lives, breathes, eats and sometimes dreams email marketing, I was thrilled to see email getting some mainstream love.

You may be thinking, “Hey, isn’t email dead?”

Think again. I mean, sure, there are certainly case studies of companies forgoing email and replacing it with social media. I’d argue that these are exceptions, certainly not the norm.

This blog post and infographic on the value of email by SmarterTools will quickly dispel the “email is dead” myth.

Need one more proof point that email is not dead? How many times have you checked your email this week? Today? Since you started reading this blog post? Okay. Now that we are all in agreement, let’s continue.

Why Does Integration Matter?

Why would you want to include social sharing abilities within your email campaigns? What are the benefits of inviting an email subscriber to connect with you on your social networks? Why should you integrate email marketing and social media?

Including and promoting social sharing or share with your network options in an email are important for a few reasons:

  • They extend the reach of your emails: The more people share your email, the more potential you have for opens, clicks and conversions.
  • They allow you to identify key influencers: Most email service providers (ESPs) include metrics on who has shared your emails the most often, as well as the effect their sharing has had on other key stats (opens, clicks, conversions, etc.). Armed with this data, you—the marketer—can be better informed as to who your key influencers are. If appropriate, you can then send dedicated campaigns to your biggest supporters.
  • They provide an opportunity for list growth: The more eyeballs on your emails, the better chance you have of gaining new subscribers.

Including and promoting social connection(s) options in an email are important for a few reasons:

  • They provide another platform to connect with your audience: Remember that each platform—email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, a blog, etc.—enables you to communicate and interact with people in different ways.
  • They give email subscribers more options: It’s possible that your email subscribers prefer to engage with your company or brand on different channels. While email is great, it’s not the only option. Give ‘em a choice!
  • They allow you to expand the reach of your message: In short, why limit your communication with prospects, customers and/or fans to one network? Take advantage of other channels!

9 Ways to Integrate Email Marketing and Social Media

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the distinction between social sharing and connecting:

  • Social Sharing: This is when a marketer includes an option for the subscriber to share the entire email or a specific content block with their social network(s).
  • Social Connection: This is what we tend to see most often—asking your email subscribers to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, subscribe to your YouTube channel, etc.

Below are 9 ways to integrate email marketing and social media for maximum effectiveness. One thing to note: I consider “old-school” social networks like blogs and SMS (texting) to be social media.

#1: Include Social Icons in Emails

While this may sound like an obvious one, it’s important to include social icons in your email campaigns. To be clear, I’m not talking about slapping a tiny Facebook or Twitter icon somewhere at the bottom of an email. Nope. Say it loud. Say it proud. Like the Huffington Post Media Brief.

email social connections icons

A good example is this email header from the Huffington Post Media Brief.

#2: Ask Email Subscribers to Share and Connect

Sometimes just including social icons is not enough. Remember: While many subscribers recognize the Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn icons, not all know what action you want them to take when they see them in an email. Don’t be afraid to tell them! See how WineAnthology shares.

asking for social connection

In this example from Wine Anthology, they invite their subscribers to share the email.

Of course, if it fits with your company image/brand, you can also use a bit of humor like BustedTees does here.

social connection stalk us

Busted Tees asked their subscribers to "stalk" them on their social networks.

#3: Send a Dedicated Email Campaign

There are times when including some links or buttons—asking your subscribers to socially connect or share with their network—is not clear enough. If you are not having much success, try sending an email that is dedicated to a particular social network like Copyblogger does here.

dedicated email campaign asking to follow on twitter

In this example, Copyblogger tells subscribers why they should follow them on Twitter.

#4: Provide Incentive

As mentioned in #3, if you want someone to connect with you on other social networks, sometimes you need to provide an incentive—tell me what’s in it for me!

I really like what Hydro Flask did in this email below, asking email subscribers to invite their friends to like them on Facebook. Notice the incentive that benefited everyone—”the more you like, the more you save.”

email campaign

"The more you like, the more you save" email campaign from Hydro Flask.

However, your incentive does not have to be financial. You can also try what Chris Penn did here in his email newsletter. (Note: red box is mine.) He offered two subscribers a chance to be featured in his next email—the one who shared the most and the one who generated the most click-throughs.

newsletter incentive

Give your subscribers a reason to connect, a reason to share.

#5: Promote Email Sign-up Via Social Networks

If you have a strong following on a particular social network, don’t hesitate to ask for new email subscribers via that channel. See what C.C. Chapman did in this tweet.

using twitter to promote email sign up

Ask for your Twitter followers to opt into your email newsletter.

You can also promote your email sign-up page on Facebook, as Cruise Deals did in this example.

using social media to grow email marketing list

The key here is cross-promotion—leverage each channel to promote the other.

#6: Include “Retweet This!” Snippet in Email

Another great way to cross-pollinate email marketing and social media is to highlight a particular tweet in your email campaign. MarketingProfs is one company that does this in many of their emails.

Check out this example below from a recent email. What I like about featuring a particular tweet is that it fits nicely with the “share your community’s stuff” mantra.

retweet this

MarketingProfs features a tweet from their community that is relevant to their audience via a "Retweet this" block.

#7: Build an Email Opt-In Form on Facebook

Facebook allows you to embed an email sign-up form as one of your apps. Take advantage of this great opportunity to encourage your Facebook fans to opt into your email list.

Here is a great example from the Park City Mountain Resort’s Facebook page.

email sign up form

Park City Mountain Resort makes it easy to sign up for their email list via a form on Facebook.

I also really like this December Holiday Promotion from Crocs on their Facebook page. Notice how they also provide an SMS option. More on that in #8.

email opt-in on facebook page

Notice how Crocs simplifies the email opt-in form on Facebook. They also provide a text-to-subscribe option.

Note: Many ESPs provide this email opt-in on Facebook functionality. MailChimp (an ESP) details their Facebook sign-up app in this blog post.

#8: Don’t Forget SMS (text)

One of my favorite (creative) cross-promotion techniques is from Southwest Airlines. The next time you fly SWA, be sure to look at your cocktail napkin. I snapped this picture of mine a while back, but I’m pretty sure they are still doing it.

email marketing napkin campaign

Notice how you can text your email address to a unique number to opt into their email campaigns. Cool, huh?

#9: Promote Email Marketing on Your Blog

One often-overlooked integration option is using your blog to mention, link to and ask for new email subscribers.

Chris Brogan does this occasionally in his blog posts. (Note: the red box/text is mine.)

email sign-up form on blog post

If you have a strong network of blog readers/subscribers, take advantage of it!

Conclusion

So there you have it. Batman. Robin. Email. Social. It’s time to start using email marketing to power social media and social media to power email marketing.

What do you think? Have you come across examples of companies effectively integrating the two channels? Have you found success? Do you have other tactics to add to the list? If so, please share in the comments box below!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, DJ Waldow

DJ Waldow is the founder and CEO of Waldow Social, a company that grows your lukewarm audience into raving lunatic fans with proven event, email and social marketing strategies. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.benlang.me/ Ben Lang

    Idea, just use http://wisestamp.com…

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  • David Bourne

    Awesome. I just heard you on @copyblogger:twitter , the podcast. very nice. Too bad Sonia beat you to all the punches. Great images in this post, btw.  best, DB

  • http://felixrelationshipmarketing.com/ Juan Felix

    hi DJ Waldow – thanks for these great tips! I like to add the model that kind of launched Social Media Examiner. Use social media marketing to share valuable content and invite your readers to signup for an email newsletter. Use that email newsletter to promote events and for ad space. A great combo of front and back channel integration that keeps your blog clean (no ads) and grows your business with a laser targeted audience – Thanks again for 9 great tips! – Juan

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  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Regarding #7 – I would suggest Park City Mountain Resort makes it far from easy to sign up for the newsletter by asking for way too much personal information.  Birthday? 

    Can you customize the app or is it one size fits all?One thing I’ve learned from Brian Clark at Copyblogger is you can significantly increase your opt-ins by only requesting what you need – which is the email address.  You can still sell to anonymous people. 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Nice list DJ — someone could just take this and make a nice little task list for this month… (I’m talking to myself here). 

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Thanks David! That Sonia Simone…ha!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    I think that’s oversimplifying things a bit, no?

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Excellent addition Juan. That’s tip #10!!

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  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Good point about Park City. Typically, the more info you ask for, the more engagement you get with that list, but fewer subscribers. I tend to agree with the Copyblogger advice though. Keep it simple (silly).

    The FB app should be fully customizable, especially if you tie into an email service provider.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Moved this comment. Meant to be a reply to Phyllis!

  • http://www.facebook.com/businessnerdmetro Joshua W. Smith

    DJ, great article!  I will be using a few of your suggestions.

    Email and social media marketing play very well together.  At my company Affordable American Insurance I email everyone in our company letting them know we have a new blog out that they should read and share with their clients.  I will be combining our social media and email marketing efforts.   

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Love to hear that you’ll be implementing some of these tips. Which ones are on your short list?

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Agreed.  We’d all like to get that kind of info, but a little is better than none at all. :)

  • http://twitter.com/LeticiaJimasa Leticia Jimenez

    Very useful post. I will apply some of the ideas in my business
    Thank you

  • chrismorrisseo

    You can also do contests that require sign up to your email newsletter for the question / clue / number to call, etc and then tell your subscribers to wait for the “go” post on social media to begin the contest. 

  • Connor from HootSuite

    Just started using wisestamp. Im a bit worried its too aggressive having links to all of your SM platforms and blogs. Anyone agree?

  • Kamela Cook

    This is a great article!  Very helpful as I try to build a case for integrating more social media for my current company!  Thanks!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    LOVE that idea. Great addition!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    That YOU for reading. Love to hear how it works out for you!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Conner: I’ve never used Wisestamp, but from what I understand, it automates a bunch of stuff, right? If so, I’m generally not a fan of automation as I think each social channel is/can be somewhat unique. Looking forward to hearing what others think…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=665311757 Jen Powers

    We use a fairly primitive eblast software that is pretty basic. We have links to our Facebook and Twitter accounts built into each blast that goes out. What’s a simple way to accomplish a Share option – link to an event listed on our Facebook page within the blast?

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Jen: Good question. I’ve only seem social sharing options within an email offered up via an email service provider. Maybe it’s time for a new ESP?

  • Richard

    Appropriateness also comes into it. With Southwest Airlines napkin. Its appropriate in the terminal but a bit of a waste in midair when everyone should have disabled the routes of signup.

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Good point, Richard about the SWA napkin. I’m actually in the process of asking SWA from some data on how effective their “Napkin Campaign” has been. That being said, it’s possible that some are opting in before the plane takes off or after it lands, right?

  • Akuronyi

    hi,  i just started receiving your newsletter and really like it… i am getting so many new ideas for our facebook, email list, etc etc.  when we have a new blog post or youtube video we send out an email to our list, and usually ask our readers to subscribe or forward, and offer 1 winner a gift certificate or some other incentive… 
    well thanks and keep em coming!
    anne
    The Attic
    http://www.atticclothes.com

  • http://twitter.com/SequinsAndSand Anita McLachlan

    Thanks DJ. Top tips that are doable…like that! I have an online boutique and much of my communication is via email eg: order confirmation, dispatch notifications. Because of this customers then communicate back with me via emails by simply clicking ‘reply’. Blowing my own trumpet, I receive loads of thank yous from my girls. I would love to convert some of those ‘closed’ conversations to ‘open/social’ conversations. I already do testimonials. Ideas?

  • Telain

    I agree with several comments above. Just ask for the minimum on initial opt-ins. You can ask for more later (and offer more at that time). Treat it just like any new relationship….you can’t ask for ALL the personal stuff on the first date!

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  • http://felixrelationshipmarketing.com/ Juan Felix

    Thanks! DJ

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  • http://www.theownerbuildernetwork.com.au David Wilks

    The hard part is getting that first commitment - the email address.  Asking for only first name and email address keeps the commitment level low.  THEN build the relationship and ask for more information.  There are many great tools that allow you to remind and reward your subscriber/customer for providing that extra building block.

  • Bruce Wayne

    Do you ever get confused with being an actual disk jockety. DJ Waldlow on the turn tables….

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  • http://callboxinc.com/ Judy Caroll

    Hi DJ,

    This is very helpful.  At the moment, we really need to have a strategy that integrates the two channels in the most optimal way to get better results. With email marketing and social media working hand in hand, we’re sure to get our message across.  

    Thanks, 

    Judy

  • http://twitter.com/krista_parry Krista Parry

    Thanks for a great post and for including Park City Mountain Resort in your examples. We are big fans of DJ Waldow.

  • Navigator Multimedia

    I like the idea of combining strategies here for email marketing. Why not try offering an incentive that can be shared amongst users who choose to pass on the email message? For instance, a restaurant could send out a coupon that can be forwarded and used again and again, encouraging recipients to pass on the deal. The trick to incentive-based email marketing is to offer something that really does benefit the participant. 

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer 
    Navigator Multimedia

  • erichoffman

    I totally agree with the simpler is better approach, but we (I’m the Interactive Marketing Manager at Park City) wanted to give the option to sign up for any of our email lists and the “standard” form that our ESP provides is a one size fits all option at the moment. Hoping to get much more customized in the future, but it’s pretty much that or just sign up for one list at the moment.

    Great feedback everyone and thank for including us in your post DJ!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Love that idea, David. Good call!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Love that you just weighed in here, Eric. Curious how you found this post. Wait. Did I post it to Facebook? Ha! I didn’t realize that your ESP was “all or nothing” when it comes to their email/FB app. That’s too bad!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    That just made my day! You will share your results, right? Would make for a great follow up post!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Thank YOU for reading. Which ones do you plan on implementing first?

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    How about giving them the option to post their comments to Twitter or Facebook? The key, of course, is making it easy.

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Only once.

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Hey Judy! Thanks for your comment. Love to hear how it works out.

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    And I am a big fan of PCMR. Hi Krista!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Great idea, Sarah. I’m all for providing incentive, but hadn’t thought about encouraging others to spread a coupon. Good call!

  • http://twitter.com/mailbeez MailBeez.com

    Great article chaps, and yes, we think this area a sort of mash up of social and email is going to be quite powerful for retailers in 2012. For our eCommerce email marketing eco system, we offer social sharing of a customer’s previous order history when they get sent a reminder email or personalised coupon for example. In our experience a lot of shares can be had post – sale, so email is a great way to do this. 

    http://www.mailbeez.com

  • http://www.wouterkleinsman.nl/ Wouter Kleinsman

    I think email marketing is still really great! I always tell my customers that when they start on social media, they have to drag and drop their community to the social media community. Its a great way and fast kick off when you are having a subscribe list of 10.000 people and ask them all to join you on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn etc. Just let them know why they should follow you and what kind of great content you are sharing.

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    Hi Waldow! It is nice and interesting post. I found very few companies which are integrating the two channels in very effective manner.

  • Hvaughan

    Better than wisestamp, use Footfall123 to fully integrate email marketing and social media marketing.

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  • Donna Maurillo

    Plus, a lot of airlines will be coming on board (no pun) with in-flight internet connections.

  • Donna Maurillo

    Thanks, DJ. This is an excellent article, and I’m passing it to our webmaster. We work at a federally funded research institute, so we try to ensure that the people who pay for all this (i.e., the taxpayers) get something back for their investment. Our goal is wide distribution of our research reports. Social media is getting traction for us, but we don’t want to leave behind our email promos. This has great suggestions for leveraging both in a symbiotic arrangement. The newsletter sign-up would be ideal for our Facebook page.

    Donna Maurillo, Communications Director
    Mineta Transportation Institute
    http://www.transweb.sjsu.edu
    Twitter: (at)MinetaTrans
    Facebook: Mineta Transportation Institute (the App)

  • http://twitter.com/ReelSurfer ReelSurfer

    Great tips! Love to hear how you think video can play a role in all of this. We see it working every single day.

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Thanks. Great question about video. I didn’t include it in this article as I don’t really consider video “social media.” That being said, I certainly see the power of using video to help promote your social channels as well as growing your email list.

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  • Guest

    As a beginner, this is very helpful

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  • Erica Conroy

    Nice Article DJ. The company that I work for find this all very interesting since we have developed on of the first full cycle marketing systems with Action based emails based on redemptions. 

    How we use this is for example: If Sally comes into a Car Service Company and redeems a deal for an oil change, we track that redemption date and then 3-4 months later we will send Sally a deal again to get her to come back in using that deal to hopefully get the 4th one Free. (For example.)

    The car service companies use the oil change as a loss leader to get them in the door and to stay top of mind for other car problems. Easy, quick and automated. 

    I think email marketing is dead in the newsletter sense of the medium – I do not think if you are offering something of value that you would be wasting your efforts though. 

    Best, 
    Erica C.
    CoupSmart.com

  • http://www.businessprosperitysecrets.com/ Stephanie Mojica

    I’ve found that offering some type of free report or audio on Facebook (of course they have to opt-in to get it) has been a great way to get more subscribers. You could also create a Facebook event and have a free teleseminar (again, they have to opt-in to get the call-in information) and invite your followers to join in.

    Great tips!

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    All great suggestions, Stephanie. Incentivize!

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  • amarareps

    I have a couple questions…

    1) what tool would you recommend to use to monitor how many fans a follower added from sharing your FB page or a specific promotion.

    2) What email marketing software/services do recommend most?

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Great questions!

    1. There are a few ways to do this. The easiest – I think – would be to set up specific tracking code (google analytics) for each social network. However, I’m not entirely sure that you’d be able to track actual new “likes” or “fan” are generated as you’d have to be able to get into the backend of Facebook. If you are looking to simply track the number of clicks, I’d recommend using Argyle Social.

    2. Tough question as it really depends on your needs. I know that SME uses Aweber. One of my clients – Infusionsoft – does a really nice job tracking social sharing as does my former employer (Bronto). I’d start with those two.

    Hope this helps and thanks for your comments!

  • amarareps

    awesome! Thank you for your responses. I think I like Infusionsoft, as I like their social insights that they put out regularly. I will check out Aweber and Bronto as well.

    Thanks again!

    twitter.com/amarareps

  • Info Jpeter

    DJ- Do you have any backend CRM/Database services or software you recommend for FB app subscriber e mail collection purposes? 

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Many email marketing providers now have this functionality built in. Who are you using? I’d check with them first!

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  • http://twitter.com/ReelSurfer ReelSurfer

    Absolutely! Love to chat more specifically about how you think video is used the most effectively.

  • http://www.michaelrurupandersen.dk/ Michael Rurup Andersen

    Really good article DJ – Seen some companies use QR codes in email signatures and marketing. Wouldn’t know if I’d recommend it, since QR codes in an email read on a mobille device doesn’t necessarily makes much sence. But atleast it’s an idea :)

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Yeah. Good call about QR codes in email sig. Never seen that actually. Worth testing!

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  • http://www.spotright.com/ Andrea Steffes-Tuttle

    Something else to consider is the idea of using insights about your email subscribers to tailor the messaging. Specifically, targeting folks you know have a social presence, in an effort to promote virality. Some interesting ideas here about influencers in your subscriber-base, http://spotright.com/digital-marketing/the-other-one-percent/

  • http://www.indiabroadband.net/bsnl-broadband/index3.html Bsnl broadband

    Also, I’m a really big fan on the Facebook app NetworkedBlogs, it is a great way to automatically syndicate you blog on your personal profile, and supplies you with a nice & clean “Blog” tab that you can add to your profile as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Soewandi-Suwondo/100002485136397 Soewandi Suwondo

     I tray to read everything you put out for us, you have more information that one can implement, is whirlwind of work to be done
    Thanks for your information

  • http://www.indyplastic.com/ Plastic Surgery Indianapolis

    Very useful post, love the step by steps and the useful links. I’ve been so busy with my blogs and writing ebooks, social media has been on the backburner. This will help.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Morgan/100003847050278 Anthony Morgan

    The amount of time we spend on these social networks are inversely proportional to the time productivity requires from us to accomplish our tasks at work, home, and wherever human-to-human interaction is required. The same is true on all online activities that are not producing values.
    Does that mean we need to avoid using social networks? No. For most of us, cutting off social networks would mean disconnecting from a lot people who are of value to us personally or to our business.
    http://www.addvalue.com.au

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Morgan/100003847050278 Anthony Morgan

    Cultivate the relationships you already have. Find more ways on how to improve interaction with fewer “friends”. Identify the benefits on both sides – the “what you can give” and “what you can receive” factors. Disconnect if you cannot identify any benefits at all. Benefits can be abstract (i.e. “friendship”) or concrete (i.e. “business lead”).

    http://www.addvalue.com.au

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  • http://mymarketingcompass.com/ Billy Delaney

    DJ here you are again.
    I am impressed with your knowledge. About to start both a new site/blog/email newsletter campaign. Thanks

  • http://marketo.com/ DJ Waldow

    Hello again Billy. I do my best to be everywhere. Ha! Thanks for your kind words.

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  • free email service

     
    reading this information i am so happy to convey that i have an incredibly good uncanny feeling.i discovered just what i needed.i will give a glance on constant basis.

    i will bookmark your websites and take the feeds also.amazing information.

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  • http://twitter.com/#!/adamsfallen Adam

    Really enjoyed this article – at Spinnakr we’ve been considering how to do better email marketing, and actually just wrote a blog post on the examples we really liked (http://spinnakr.com/blog/social-media-2/2012/07/3-awesome-post-sign-up-email-campaigns/).

    Bottom line: we loved marketing campaigns with focused calls-to-action that deliver value. It seems like this is useful for considering social integration as well, and relates to the “Provide Incentive” point. Much better than “follow us” is “get a daily tip on how to ____.”

    These kinds of CTAs have been extremely effective for us.

  • Laura

    Excelente nota!

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  • Sruthi

    Awesome post…enjoyed it thoroughly and it helped me a lot….

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Generating leads using social media doesn’t happen instantly, like all other social media results. It takes a bit of effort, and the bigger and better your social media profiles are, the better the chances that you will generate more leads.Thanks for sharing this article DJ!







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