Social Media with Email Marketing – is it the Super Combo?

Lately, social media seems to garner all the attention in the media and blog posts with very little mention about email marketing. This long time staple has become the Rodney “No Respect” Dangerfield of B2B and industrial marketing.

I’ve read several articles about the impending death of email marketing because of the steady decline in open and click-through rates (CTR). Are those predictions a little premature? Can we deliver a powerful 1-2 punch by combining  social media and email marketing? I came across two research studies that answer the last question with a big YES!

The first study done by AWeber (aff. Link), was a survey of small business owners and found that the two most common tactics used in 2009 were tweeting e-mail newsletters and sending out blog entries to e-mail lists. In 2010, almost 50% of small businesses will include “follow us” links in their e-mails, and about 44% will include share options in their messages. (See charts below).

The second study done by GetResponse (aff. link) examined 5Million messages sent out by over 19,000 of their customers who are primarily small businesses and found the following:

  • Including social sharing options in emails increased click through rates by an average of 7.2% to 8.7%
  • Including at least three social sharing options boosted the rate to 11.2%

You can download their free report from here (does require registration).

I was curious to find out if these trends held true for the industrial sector. I paid a visit to GlobalSpec and downloaded their Trends in Industrial Marketing 2010 report. The main takeaways I got from the report were:

  • E-mail is the most frequently used online marketing tactic with 65% of manufacturers using in-house lists and 16% using rented or purchased lists
  • 68% of companies plan to increase spending on social media in 2010 with LinkedIn and Facebook as the most popular social media applications currently being used

The use of social media in industrial marketing has certainly gained momentum and since email marketing is still widely used, it makes sense to combine the two to get more bang for your marketing buck.

P.S. Just as I was wrapping up this post, I received an email from Omniture with the subject line, “Will Social Media Replace Email?” It is a joint presentation by Omniture, an Adobe company, and ExactTarget on the best practices of Email and Social Engagement. I didn’t have the time to go through the content but it seems like this is a hot topic right now.

Do you have any good examples of social media used in email marketing? Please share your ideas on how you plan to combine email marketing with social media.

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