The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Q&A: What is Social Media Marketing and Why Should You Use It?

What is social media marketing (SMM)?
Social Media Marketing or SMM is the ability to successfully create dialogs with existing and new customers through social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.  Successful dialogs are created by identifying and reaching out to influencers – people who regularly share content and opinions. Continued personal engagement and targeted content with influencers are the biggest challenges with Social Media Marketing.

Why should I have a SMM strategy?
Since marketers love to have reasoning backed by statistics below are Facebook’s most recent stats for your reference:

       General Growth

  • More than 250 million active users
  • More than 120 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
  • More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
  • The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older

    User Engagement
  • Average user has 120 friends on the site
  • More than 5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
  • More than 30 million users update their statuses at least once each day
  • More than 8 million users become fans of pages each day

    Applications
  • More than 1 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 10 million videos uploaded each month
  • More than 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 2.5 million events created each month
  • More than 45 million active user groups exist on the site

    International Growth
  • More than 50 translations available on the site, with more than 40 in development
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States

    Platform
  • More than one million developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries
  • Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications
  • More than 350,000 active applications currently on Facebook Platform
  • More than 200 applications have more than one million monthly active users
  • More than 15,000 websites, devices and applications have implemented Facebook Connect since its general availability in December 2008

    Mobile
  • There are more than 30 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
  • People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are almost 50% more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
  • There are more than 150 mobile operators in 50 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products

 

Even thought these impressive stats are just for Facebook the growth trends, engagement and generational penetration are not limited to Facebook alone.  There are hundreds of other social media sites and your customers are there, somewhere.


How can I develop a SMM strategy?
Just as with any emerging marketing techniques mastery comes from education, patience and a lot of trial and error.  Any successful marketing strategy involves goal and objective setting and social media is no different.  Once you’re secure with your objectives you will not only need to do research as to which social media sites your customers use, but if they will be receptive to creating a dialog with you via these sites.  For example, if you’re a B2B company with an objective to do lead generation, there may be a number of prospects that don’t want to hear from you via Facebook because they consider it more for social communication amongst close friends however would be more receptive to hearing from you through a business site such as LinkedIn.  

After determining the proper social media outlets content should be created, tagged and linked specifically for your social media strategy.  For example, if you send an email newsletter with multiple stories, a social media sharing link should be created for each story, not just the entire newsletter.  This makes the sharing of the exact content easy and seamless to the end user instead of putting additional obstacles to subscribers.  Once you start to receive feedback you’re your campaigns you will notice a certain group of people who consistently click on the share links to pass your content to their friends.  These people are the influencers and it’s important to develop an entirely different strategy of communicating with them once they are identified. 

What do I have to do to implement SMM into my emails?

Implementation is very simple. In eLoop it’s a simple three step process which takes about a minute..

Most important is your strategy.  This is the key to your SMM success. When devising your strategy, think about your end goals.  Perhaps you are promoting an event, encouraging an action, or simply just providing valuable information. Each of these tactics takes a slightly different approach.  However, the one component that is similar to all is that you want to make it exciting! There is no point in posting dull and boring information to Facebook or Twitter.  Give them something to talk about, post about or tweet about!

Once your SMM is included in your email, you must TEST, TEST, TEST! You have put a lot of brainpower and elbow grease into your strategy and the last thing that you want is for a mishap to be posted all over the social media marketplace.

What is the “Add This” feature in eLoop?
Gold Lasso has partnered with AddThis, the #1 bookmarking and sharing button on the Internet.  We chose AddThis because of its ease of use for our clients, it’s quick setup and it’s transparency with eLoop.  The AddThis button can easily be integrated in to your email marketing efforts after a quick less than a minute setup.  Once setup, you can include a preset button of your choice or a custom button that you can design.  eLoop gives you four choices on what to post using your button.  The most common usage is to link to the current message that you are sending out.  We also offer the ability to link to another message in eLoop, a link to a website, or a link to a Data Collection page in eLoop.

When recipients receive the message, they can click on the button and post your link to more than 50 social media sharing sites.   This will help to drive your message home by letting your recipients help to pass the word along.

To help with your Social Media Marketing efforts, you will now see that social media is reflective in your eLoop reporting.  You can measure the amount of clicks on your AddThis button in the Campaign Reporting section within eLoop.  For more detailed analytics, you can use your AddThis username and password that you created during the setup process and login to AddThis’s website.  From there you can measure sharing trends, top content, top services and much more.  In the future we will be integrating this valuable information in with your eLoop account.

If you are interested in developing a SMM strategy or have questions regarding implementation, please contact your Gold Lasso Account Manager at 301.990.9857 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Continue reading
  13948 Hits
13948 Hits

Social Media Vs. Email: The Debate Continues

To build on my colleagues' positions in previous postings, social media is eroding email's social use in spite of its reliance on the medium and desperate claims that these two mediums can exist symbiotically in their current forms. Just as email displaced the U.S. Postal's role as the primary choice for delivering love letters, summer camp news and vacation postcards, social media is rapidly overtaking email for these same correspondences for the 35 and younger crowd. If you're a B2B marketer you can skip reading the rest of this -- because I have yet to see LinkedIn and the like encroach on email's power in the business world. However, consumer marketers better pay attention, because your ability to achieve the same ROI year over year with email is going to be turned on its side.

 

Email was not built for socializing. The basics of email are still the same as they were when the medium was first put to use with DARPA net. Very little has changed over the past 40 years, with the exception of HTML rendering and a few other nuances. As a result of email's efficiency and cost, it had an easy win for displacing the U.S. Postal Service for social correspondences. However, as an incumbent against social media networks, email will sorely lose ground in the coming years because of its inability to evolve as a medium and the corruption of the medium by spam. Social media networks build on the email experience, enhancing its basic features with true interactive tools and providing a far superior experience.

Who cares If social media relies on email? In defense of email in this debate, many ESPs and email marketers argue that email is the backbone of social media, providing the timely alerts that prompt users to respond to one another. Based on this fact, they argue that social media and email exist symbiotically, feeding off one another's strengths and coexisting in a harmonious marketing world. I strongly disagree with this sentiment. Social media dilutes email's luster, as it diverts activity away from the medium to a closed network. This is not a symbiotic coexistence. This is one medium displacing another while reducing it to a cheap pager.

Stop thinking you can integrate email with social media. A lot of email marketers have come up with the thought process of, "if we can't send email to social networks, we should try to integrate the two." I have my sincere doubts that it's possible to integrate email with social media for every industry. Despite social media's infancy, people are already annoyed that their so called "friends" are constantly trying to pitch cosmetics, insurance, mortgages and other products and services, intruding on their "social" experience. Now email marketers are giddy about the prospects of someone receiving an email and posting it to Facebook or MySpace. Please! I don't doubt that this happens -- but thinking it will occur on such a scale that it will increase ROI using the same crappy content is ridiculous. If you want to create buzz, give them something real and unique to talk about. Just using a social media link doesn't cut it. It didn't with "forward to a friend" and it won't for social media. either.

Your inbox will soon look like your metal mailbox. When was the last time you received a personal letter in that useless hunk of metal crap sitting on your front lawn? In fact, when have you found anything of value in there lately? Your inbox will soon be reminiscent of your mailbox, as social correspondence shifts from email to social media. Once you remove "social" email from your inbox, what's left? Junk, commercial email (some people will categorize commercial email as the former) and bill reminders. How social are those? Real fun! Something I really want to share with my friends and family. Face it. The inbox is changing and will be marginalized for social use.

The last holdout of hope for email to retain its crown -- From what I can see, there is one last hope for email to remain a superior marketing channel for the long run. If social media networks become the next inbox providers by opening their intra email systems, only then can email's luster be restored. I have been predicting this for the past couple of years and have been wrong... so far. My argument is that social media networks will need to continue to find ways to keep people glued to their screens for longer periods of time so that they can sell more ads or command higher prices from their existing advertisers. Since email is a major consumer of time, it's a natural fit for social media networks. While this scenario has not yet come to pass, I'm still standing strong by my prediction.

Email will not die -- just be marginalized. Just as direct mail isn't completely dead, email isn't going anywhere, either. It's still the most cost-effective marketing medium and delivers the biggest bang for the buck. However, email's effectiveness over time will become marginalized for consumer marketers as social interaction over the Internet shifts from email to social networks.

Since I'm the CEO of an email service provider, some critics might think I'm crazy for spreading the idea that email will soon become marginalized. To them my answer is, it was crazier for railroad barons to think they were in the railroad business when they saw their first airplane in the sky.

 

Continue reading
  10356 Hits
10356 Hits

Gold Lasso is now Tweeting!

Gold Lasso is now on Twitter and folks have been sending me requests to be one of my "Tweeps" since I opened up the account a few weeks ago.

If you want to follow us on Twitter, feel free, the door is open.

 I plan on sharing information on the email marketing world, and of course what's cooking at Gold Lasso.

To follow me , just go to http://twitter.com/goldlasso and follow us.

Hope we see all of our new Tweeps following us soon,

Jeremy

Continue reading
  8843 Hits
8843 Hits

The Boldest 2009 Predictions For Email Marketing

Every January email marketing pundits try to make predictions of what the industry will bring for the upcoming year. They range from the career conservative to off-the-wall reckless. Some self-serving predictions blur the line between editorial and advertising so much that only a New Year's hangover can help you tell the difference between the two. Even though the accuracy of annual email marketing conjectures can be debated, almost all have some sort of truth to them. With that being said, below are my four bold predictions for 2009 prefaced by the fact that I have a short-term 50% accuracy rate and an 80% long-term rate. So I'm usually right, eventually.

The price per email for the middle and enterprise marketplaces will drop.

Commercial email and the ESPs used to send them are both commodities. In a depressed economy, most commodity prices fall, especially ones with excess supply. Technologically speaking, with few exceptions, there's no difference between the commercial email you and your competitor send even if you use a more expensive ESP. It's true that more expensive ESPs tend to provide better feature sets and customer service -- however, feature and service parity have been achieved in the Soho market and are rapidly becoming reality in the middle and enterprise marketplaces. Therefore, I predict that customers using middle and enterprise market ESPs will squeeze hard during the contract renewal process in 2009, forcing the industry average price per email down. No rocket science here!

Commercial email volume will increase exponentially, forcing down email's lofty ROI.

Based on my above assumption, simple economics suggests that any high-demand commodity with an infinite supply and falling price will be over-consumed. Unlike traditional business models, the overconsumption of commercial email will cause a positive relationship between falling prices and ROI. The reason for this positive relationship is simple. As consumers receive more commercial email, marketing messages are lost in the clutter, making the medium less effective, and challenging marketers to come up with new ways to grab consumer attention. Hence my next prediction....

The demand to stream video via email will increase.

All savvy email marketers know that it's impossible to stream video via email as a result of enhanced anti-spam technology. What was once considered an advanced email marketing trick in 2002 quickly fizzled as inbox providers rushed to put anti-rendering measures in to curb the onslaught of spam, thus destroying many early ESPs' video-via-email business models. However, increased bandwidth and the fanfare of YouTube and similar video Web sites have resurrected the demand for video via email, prompting companies such as GoodMail to develop solutions that will keep both ISP and marketer happy. The catch is that not every marketer will qualify for GoodMail's certified video service -- creating two sets of have and have-not marketers, and forcing the have-nots to simulate video players with still images encouraging click-thoughs to a video-enabled landing page.

Social networking sites will become the new inbox providers.

I made the above prediction in January of '08 and was off the mark, but I'm going to continue to stick with it in '09, as I'm confident it will come to fruition (any year now). I laugh every time I hear someone claim that social networking will kill email marketing. It's true that social networking has cut into email's market share of consumers' personal communication, but this phenomenon will be short-lived as social networking sites rush to become the new inbox providers. The reason for my confidence is that social networking sites have yet to live up to financial expectations, forcing them to find other avenues to monetize their traffic. This has already started the early adoption of traditional ad models, allowing social networking sites to nibble at Yahoo, MSN and Google's market share. With the adoption of a traditional ad model comes inbox services, as email is one of the largest consumers of Internet time. If MySpace, FaceBook and the like want to sell more ad space, they will need to guarantee activities with proven performance.

Do you think my predictions makes sense for 2009 -- or are they completely off the mark? I guess we'll have to wait until next year to find out. In the meantime, if you have any additional insights you would like to share, please comment below.

 

Continue reading
  9411 Hits
9411 Hits

Email Tries to Undermine Social Networking in Politics

As the 2008 presidential primaries come to a close, the remaining candidates' staffers are making a mad rush to expand their social networking presence.  Any medium to reach voters who were previously an afterthought in the last election has become the mantra amongst Clinton and Obama supporters in a tight Democratic primary.  However no matter how much effort goes into harnessing the power of social networking in the name of politics, email is right around the corner as an opposition's counter-measure to undermine such efforts.

One of the more popular smear campaigns this election has come in the form of an email claiming that Barak Obama is a Muslim.  This viral email attempted to establish a link of faith between Barak Obama and his paternal ancestry.  It was so successful that it garnered mainstream media attention forcing the up and coming presidential candidate to fight back and clarify false accusations.  Another email aimed at African American voters claimed to be from NAACP Chairman Julian Bond entitled "10 Reasons Not to Vote for Hillary Clinton."  The Obama campaign picked up on the hoax's momentum posting the email on the candidate's website only to quickly remove it when alerted to its true origin.

Email smear tactics are nothing new in politics but in this election it sheds light on the staying power email has as a viral tool.  As other Internet mediums such as social networking have gained popularity over the past couple of years, email marketers are failing to recognize email as a viable social medium.  This is not to say that one should ignore the social networking revolution but to find new ways to leverage the two mediums in tandem to create the ultimate viral marketing tool.

Continue reading
  11910 Hits
11910 Hits
The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.

Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!