How social data improves email marketing

How Social Data Lets You Create Better Email Campaigns

Lean in for a few minutes and read carefully. I’m about to share a secret with you. It’s the secret upon which we’ve built a good part of our business here at FullContact, so it’s something that we take very seriously:

Most email marketing sucks, and it’s pretty easy to make it better.

It seems crazy, right? Around the world we literally send hundreds of billions of emails (PDF link) every single day. While corporate email use is the leader, and only expected to climb, consumer email use is still the driving factor in purchasing and new relationships. How can you stand out in a room that is this crowded? Because most email sucks, it’s not that difficult. Just offer more than what your competitors do.

According to a recent study, over 68 percent of marketers planned to increase their spend for data-related marketing. But what is data-related marketing, and why should you care? Data-related marketing is the funnel-widening version of something that we’re seeing across many industries. In healthcare, for instance, we have evidence-based medicine. Essentially it’s a method of operation by which no action is made until there is data to prove its viability. Translate that to marketing and it’s a call for the introduction of more data to bring better targeting and higher conversion to your efforts.

Leading the Pack

Whether you’re talking about a true marketing automation system or something as simple as an email service provider, there are already great choices in the market. Pardot, for instance, allows for segmentation by any number of formulas and services like MailChimp offer tips along the way for better subject lines, times to send and many other points.

But none of this matters if your messages don’t contain the right content. That’s where social data comes in to play.

It’s widely understood that having a relationship with your current and/or potential customers is one of the keys to driving engagement. We even have guides around the Internet that can give you step-by-step instructions for how best to create these connections. For instance, here’s an excerpt from a guide by Clickz:

“Build relationships with your fans to identify your advocate. Understand and cultivate your influencers. They can support you in your time of need, such as a company crisis.”

Build relationships. Understand influencers. These seem like simple enough tasks, right? But how do you know where your customers are? How can you find out about their influence? That’s the call of social data.

What You Need

It’s not enough to just look at a Twitter or Linkedin name. You need in-depth information about these customers. You need to know the hot-button topics for them because you want to find out what makes them tick. You need to know what other types of networks they choose to utilize. Finding developers on Twitter is not such an easy task. But if you can target users of Github, for instance, you’ll have a better opportunity to reach the audience that you want. We’re talking about email, which is the single most effective way of creating return purchases on the Internet. This is a bottom-line game.

Are you tracking more than just outbound clicks? What about social shares? Who is taking your content and telling other people about it? Where are they doing this? What types of people are sharing your content? What networks do they use? If you can’t answer these questions, you’re missing out by not understanding your market. Your focus may be entirely wrong and you will never know unless you change your approach.

What’s Next?

For you, that answer is easy – Find a way to add social data to your email marketing campaigns. There are lots of choices (many of them are FullContact API customers), and the list is growing every day.  What we’re seeing at FullContact is living proof that better marketing, not just more marketing, is taking a forefront in the next wave of email.

Get to know your customers. Find out where they’re spending their time online and put yourself in front of them at every opportunity. Create ways to connect with them on the topics that they will deem to be the most important. Be more to them than just a brand.

If your current email campaign process doesn’t include social data, you’re doing your customers a disservice. You’re providing what is, essentially, no better than spam. Show your customers how important they are to you. Be the voice that they want to hear, instead of the nagging reminder of the relationship that they never desired.

The majority of the world’s population lives a good part of its life online. It’s time to join them.

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