Social Media + E-Mail Marketing = Powerful Results
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Q: One of the areas that I have had to cost cut is my advertising budget. How do I get the most bang-for-my-buck with a shoestring marketing budget, yet still stay prevalent in the eyes of my customers?
A: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other free social media channels are rapidly gaining popularity among small business owners as a means for connecting with current and prospective customers. In fact, approximately 75 percent of small businesses have at least a page on a social networking site, according to Social Media Today, and online community of public relations, advertising, and marketing professionals.
But don’t let social media overshadow other, equally valuable options in your marketing tool box. Each has its own advantages and features for effectively getting the word out about your products, services, and expertise. And when combined with social media, the results can be even more powerful and cost effective.
E-mail marketing has the highest return on investment of all marketing tactics. More than two-thirds of all small businesses currently do some type of e-mail marketing (e.g., newsletters, press releases, announcements, coupons, etc.). Integrate your social media into your e-mail marketing to enhance your campaigns.
By posting interesting content nuggets and links through your social media channels you can allow this content to spread beyond your e-mail lists. Customers, fans, and friends can pass on this information to their networks. And these links are actually stronger since they come as an independent referral, rather than a perceived ‘marketing message’ from your small business.
As with any other form of social media-based marketing communication, content is key. Providing relevant, engaging content attracts both customers and prospects, enticing them to read on and learn more about your business—especially when you have conveniently and appropriately placed links to get them there. In other words, you can count on investing time and energy in creating email newsletters with interesting articles, polls, stories, and even videos. But the effort is well worth it.
You can familiarize yourself with the social media/e-mail marketing approach by studying other small businesses, both similar to yours and outside your industry. Social media plays to small business strengths, as owners are personally connected to and constantly interacting with clients. However, best-in-class larger companies may provide some ideas for content you can tailor to your customers, as well as marketing ideas such as contests and incentives.
You’ll find a wealth of other information about social media marketing at SCORE, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of small business owners nationwide. SCORE offers information, resources, training and the free, confidential counseling on a wide range of topics from more than 13,000 small business experts. For more information, visit www.score.org.