Email marketing and social media fulfill distinct needs for the modern digital marketer. And although the two channels tend to become siloed in terms of work streams, bringing the two powerhouses together can help build momentum and energy for your brand.
Wondering how to start? We reached out to a couple of Denver-based social media influencers to hear how they leverage email in their social strategy, lessons they’ve learned, and tips that you can start applying in your marketing program today.
First, let’s meet the influencers
Gina Schreck is the founder of SocialKNX, a digital marketing agency and TheVillage Workspace (a co-working space in South Denver opening in 2019). She hosts a weekly podcast for entrepreneurs with advice centering around growing people and growing businesses.
She has always been fascinated by trends affecting how people connect and work. “I was an early adopter to social media, VR, AR, AI, and loved teaching others how to use these tools in their business,” says Gina. “I guess when you are out front…people will naturally follow (they whisper and call you crazy too!”)
“Before I quit my sales job to pursue writing full-time, I started a Chicago blog to see if I could effectively build an audience,” says Maddy. “After testing out multiple marketing tactics, I knew that I was on to something.”
She then joined a local Chicago blogger group, continued to build out blog content, and learned how to collaborate with brands. After gathering her experience and learning, she started to grow her freelance writing career.
Do you use email marketing to engage with your following, and if so how often and with what types of campaigns?
I am a big believer in nurturing relationships with email marketing. We use lots of lead generation campaigns and then follow that up with nurturing campaigns to stay in touch and make sure we are front and center with potential customers. Most of our nurture emails are sent every 2-4 weeks, while a few are more often.
We call our nurturing emails, “Love Letters” because we want our community to know how much we truly love being connected with them and helping them grow their businesses.
This year, I finally got consistent with my email marketing efforts. I write a weekly email newsletter that’s attached to a curated content roundup about WordPress and SEO/content marketing. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback with this format and frequency.
I’ve also set up some email campaigns through my website where my followers can sign up for my email newsletter and receive access to specific resources upon signup. Looking toward the future, I’ll be spending more time on nurturing and email drip campaigns as I’ve started to create some digital products that I’d like to sell!
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made with email and social and what lessons did you learn?
I didn’t focus on email marketing for a long time. I advise everyone start lead-generation early and nurture often! I also made the mistake many of our clients make. We focus on building our lists without a plan to nurture.
I often hear people say they don’t have a plan to stay in touch or nurture the relationships of those who have been added to their email lists. They feel that it’s too much work or wonder what they will send out via email aside from a blog post now and then.
If you are just collecting people without connecting, you’re wasting your time.
When you don’t stay in touch with people on your social channels or in your email community, you are quickly forgotten.
And if you then suddenly pop in to sell something…oh that’s just wrong! Let people get to know you on your social channels. Build trust through regular connection and THEN they will be open to buying.
I’ve hinted at it above—perhaps the biggest mistake I’ve ever made with either is a lack of consistency. It’s not exactly confidence-inspiring to create content without any sort of strategy or regularity!
Today, I have a pretty solid process for both email marketing and social media promotions. I prepare for my email newsletter throughout the week leading up to sending it and usually write my introduction the day before so that I can make sure it goes out on time. Similarly, I create most of my social content about a week before I plan to publish it.
This system helps me stay on track so that I have a solid foundation while still keeping me nimble enough to add to my planned content if anything comes up.
What tips would you give to people who are trying to leverage social and email as they grow their careers?
We really need to step back and remember when social media was… SOCIAL! While automation tools have definitely helped to make our jobs easier, they have also taken the SOCIAL out of social media. Most brands post and leave.
Taking time to not only reply to comments, but to go to the pages and profiles of your community members and comment on what THEY post, that’s social. Blow people’s minds by leaving a video message reply telling them how much you love interacting. Use short videos to communicate with your fans and followers to accelerate the KNOW LIKE AND TRUST factors. Sure, it takes more time, but your return is so much higher that it’s totally worth it!
My biggest tip for others out there is to create content consistently. For social, posting just a few times a week is enough to stay top-of-mind with your audience. For email, sending a newsletter every two weeks is better than nothing at all! And no matter what, pay attention to how your audience reacts and adjust accordingly.
Whether you are refining your email marketing and social media strategy or starting from scratch, keep in mind the following themes:
Consistency provides a dependable experience with your audience. Even if you don’t have the time to be posting multiple times a day and creating dozens of email campaigns, sticking to a consistent cadence will strengthen your brand.
Brand loyalty and trust before sales – People want to purchase from brands they trust and have developed an affinity for. If you’re only communicating to offer a sale or promotion, you’re probably going to lose some of your audience.
Test and measure – Create a baseline of metrics that you think are most meaningful for your program and measure them after each campaign so you can tell what is and what is not working.
For more on how to perfect your email marketing program, check out SendGrid’s 2019 A-Z Email Marketing Best Practice Guide.