Promoting a business online is becoming increasingly difficult in this digital age. We can access more information and tools than ever, but knowing when to use what can be tricky. The ever-changing consumer behavior and the fierce competition make things more challenging.
Large enterprises use advanced tools to streamline marketing and personalize the customer journey. For example, some companies leverage data analytics and automation for predictive buying, brand communications, data-driven marketing, advertising, and more. Others employ entire teams to identify and nurture leads, create media content, and research the market.
Small and medium-sized businesses need help to afford the latest technology. Employees often wear multiple hats and try to do a little bit of everything. But it's possible to create a winning marketing strategy and stay ahead of the competition. The key is to think outside the box and find new creative ways to reach customers.
For starters, you can leverage social media and email marketing for eCommerce success. These are two of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal and can yield fantastic results when used together.
Why You Should Consider a Holistic Approach to Marketing
Smaller companies usually focus their marketing efforts on one or two areas, such as social media, paid advertising, or content creation. This approach may work somewhat, but better ways to reach your target audience and build a solid online presence exist.
More than 70% of consumers use multiple channels to connect with brands and discover new products. For example, some buyers engage with companies on Facebook or Instagram, some prefer to run Google searches, and some may find your brand after reading a blog post or online reviews. Given these aspects, it makes sense to have a personalized omnichannel marketing strategy.
Go one step further and look at your business holistically when planning your marketing activities. Consider your short- and long-term goals, company mission, brand voice, and other aspects. Next, use this data to create a cohesive brand identity and fine-tune your marketing strategy.
For example, social media and email marketing have little to do with one another. However, these tools can work together and complement each other, making it easier to expand your reach.
Social media lets you connect with and engage potential customers, increasing brand awareness. Email marketing, on the other hand, will enable you to nurture your leads and turn them into buyers. At the same time, it facilitates relationship-building and drives customer loyalty.
A holistic marketing approach will create a unified customer experience across all channels and touchpoints. This strategy lets you get the most out of customer data and allocate resources more efficiently, resulting in lower customer acquisition costs.
Email Marketing and Social Media Go Hand in Hand
Some say email marketing is dead, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Here are examples of stats on how people interact with marketing emails:
About 23% of U.S. consumers read marketing emails, and 3.8% click on the links in the messages received.
Moreover, 60% of buyers reported purchasing based on a marketing email, notes Constant Contact. By comparison, roughly 12.5% of customers buy products or services via social media.
This marketing channel (email) generates $36 for every $1 spent while allowing brands to reach their target audience in no time, says Constant Contact. More than 20% of emails are opened within 60 minutes, enabling customers to react quickly to new information.
Both email marketing and social media can drive customers down the sales funnel, but the former allows for greater personalization.
If you sell sports equipment, you can tailor your marketing messages to each customer segment. For example, you could create onboarding emails for new subscribers, one for customers who abandoned their carts, another for repeat buyers, etc.
Here’s an example of an onboarding email:
And for cart abandonment:
And finally, for your loyal and repeat customers, offering them an exclusive discount on a set timeline:
You can achieve the same through social media advertising, but the costs are generally higher. A significant advantage of social media is it allows you to reach a global audience.
Facebook alone has over 2.9 billion users, followed closely by YouTube (2.5 billion users). So, if your marketing strategy is on point, you could sell your products worldwide and compete on a level playing field with large companies.
However, there's no need to choose between social media and email marketing. On the contrary, you can (and should) combine them to achieve higher engagement and conversion rates. This approach helps you to reach more customers, build lasting relationships, and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Ready to give it a try? For starters, try these strategies to integrate social media with email marketing for eCommerce success.
Identify and Address Customer Pain Points
Social media can be an excellent tool for market research. Consumers worldwide use Facebook, YouTube, and other online platforms to find information, look up products and services, ask for recommendations, and more. Companies can leverage this data to identify customer pain points and create content around them.
Let's say you built a photo editing tool for SMBs and casual sellers.
In this case, you can use social media to find out what your customers are struggling with, such as product staging, background removal, batch editing, or image cropping. After that, create a newsletter or email series to address these problems and show how your product can help.
Another option is to write articles and blog posts or publish video content around your customers' needs. Then, add a signup form or subscription links to build your list and send personalized emails based on their interests.
Look beyond Facebook, Twitter, and other traditional social networks. Instead, head over to Quora, Reddit, Stack Overflow, or other platforms to see where your prospects are interested. Engage in conversations, answer their questions, and compel them to visit your website or subscribe to your list. Just make sure you don’t come off as too salesy.
Be genuine and share information that resonates with your target audience. Give your brand a human face and use your knowledge to make a difference in their lives. Most consumers are flooded with marketing messages daily, and they’ll appreciate someone who understands their needs and can relate to their challenges.
Leverage Email Marketing to Get More Social Media Followers
When you're a startup or small business, gaining traction on social media can be tricky. Prospective customers may not see your Facebook posts or engage with your Instagram feed, leaving you wondering what went wrong.
You could do everything right and still encounter these issues.
For example, Facebook's algorithm prioritizes posts with high engagement, among other factors. But if your posts barely get any likes and comments, you'll find it difficult to build engagement.
Simply put, you can only compete with the big brands if you're willing to spend a fortune on advertising. Of course, you could hire an in-house marketing team, but the costs can run in the thousands. The average base salary of a social media manager is around $60,000 per year, but you may also need to hire a copywriter, a pay-per-click specialist, a PR manager, and so on.
However, you can grow your social media audience by posting content more often, sharing videos and pictures, using hashtags, and optimizing your calls to action. Ideally, focus on two or three of the most relevant platforms for your audience. Also, remember to include links to your social media pages in your marketing emails.
Here’s a superb example from Puzz, encouraging you to follow their Instagram feed:
Another strategy is to create a daily or weekly email digest. Include a mix of blog posts, industry news, expert insights, and video content—and encourage subscribers to share it on social media. Ask them to follow your social media pages for more information.
Create a Referral Marketing Strategy
Referral marketing can be an effective way to grow your reach and drive sales. In the long run, it may increase customer loyalty, boost engagement, and strengthen your brand, among other perks.
As Forbes notes, referrals are some of the best leads you can get. These potential customers learn about your products and services from their friends, colleagues, or family members, making them more likely to trust your brand. Moreover, the lifetime value of referred buyers is 16% higher than that of other customers.
One way to leverage referral marketing is to compel subscribers to follow your brand on social media and get their friends to do the same. Then, assign a unique referral link or code to each subscriber and reward their efforts with company swag, discounts, vouchers, or other incentives.
The best time to ask for referrals is shortly after a customer buys your products or says something nice about your brand on social media.
However, reaching out to other subscribers, especially those on your list for a while, is a good idea. Remember to send a follow-up reminder within three to five days.
Generally, use a reliable email client with advanced security features. After all, the last thing you want is to put customer data at risk or experience high bounce rates. Superhuman, Airmail, and Postbox are some of the best email clients for Mac, whereas Mailbird, The Bat!, and eM Client work great for Windows users.
Create Exclusive Content for Subscribers
No matter your industry, you can create exclusive content around your products and use it as leverage to grow your list.
Someone selling dietary supplements, for example, could publish expert interviews, nutrition or workout plans, and original articles on health and wellness. Try to cover these topics from a unique perspective and provide actionable insights.
Engage in cross-marketing with personal trainers, nutritionists, and other industry experts—and find a way to put them in touch with your clients. You may also use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to find credible sources for articles, blog posts, reports, and other materials.
Next, share information on social media and let your followers know there's much more available.
Encourage them to join your email list for exclusive content, personalized services (e.g., "Ask a dietician"), freebies, and other perks. You can also incentivize those who bring in their friends or spread the word about your offer on social networks.
Re-Engaging Inactive Email Subscribers
Today's consumers have access to more products than ever before, and they won't shy away from switching brands when there's a better deal available. Even those subscribed to your list may lose interest and move on to the competition.
However, acquiring new customers involves higher costs than keeping the ones you already have. While it may tempt you to remove inactive subscribers, try retargeting them on social media first.
Start by launching an email campaign for existing subscribers. Check your open rates, click-through rates, and other metrics, and then use this data to set up a retargeting campaign on the major social networks.
For example, you can target subscribers who have opened your emails without clicking links. Another option is to target people who purchased something but haven’t engaged with your brand recently. Or you can focus on those who received but didn't open your emails.
This approach would allow you to re-engage your subscribers and remind them about your brand. Plus, it can be cost-effective to increase sales, nurture your leads, and drive customer loyalty.
Maximize Your Marketing Efforts without Breaking the Bank
As you can see, social media and email marketing are a perfect match. While either strategy can be effective standing alone, using them together may yield better results at lower costs.
Depending on your goals, you can combine social media and subscriber data, include social proof in your marketing emails, create a referral marketing strategy and much more. The key is to think outside the box and make the most out of what you have instead of chasing the next big thing.
With this approach, you'll expand your reach and build a memorable brand.
Most importantly, you’ll stay top of mind with your audience and cultivate lasting relationships.