3 Mission Critical Reasons to Convert Fans and Followers into Email Subscribers

by Nichole Kelly |
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It isn’t difficult to put together a strategy to convert fans and followers into something you actually own — email subscribers. But too many are putting the effort on the backburner in favor of figuring out a new popular social network. Converting fans and followers to email subscribers is just smart. The benefits exceed those found with preserving your investment in social activity. The benefits are also found in what you do with the email database on an on-going basis.

Here are three reasons you should start taking email acquisition seriously and make it one of your top goals for 2012.

Your Social Network is Going to Be Replaced

Have you stopped to think about what would happen to your corporate investment in social media if Facebook disappeared tomorrow? What about Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+? As marketers we have spent countless hours growing our corporate following on these networks and many have even dedicated significant portions of their budget to the effort hoping to deliver a positive return on investment (ROI).

The reality is that web users are fickle and if these networks don’t stay on top of innovation they will be replaced. Think it seems unimaginable? Just look at how MySpace scoffed at Facebook in the beginning. Clearly, that was a bad move and the company suffered. They have laid off well over half of its workforce and got acquired by Specific Media for $35 million, a huge loss for NewsCorp who purchased MySpace for $580 million in 2005.

It’s kind of scary when you think about it. Can you imagine walking into your board meeting and saying, “Well who would’ve thought people would abandon Facebook? We don’t have any way to contact our fans now that they are over on ‘the new network.’ We’ll have to start over.”

I’m just imagining that the conversation wouldn’t go very well. You don’t own your fan’s and follower’s contact information and, therefore, you are at the mercy of the social network.Rather than waiting for the inevitable, it’s time to prepare and make sure you have adequately protected your social media investment.

You are More Likely to Deliver Positive ROI with an Integrated Email Strategy

If you want to convert more online leads from the social media channel it is absolutely critical to have a strong email follow-up strategy. Followers don’t convert into customers on Twitter because Twitter doesn’t sell your product or services. The path to conversion I’ve seen frequently is that the lead comes through a social media network, but tends to actually convert through another marketing channel like email or organic search, down the road. If you find a way to organically collect email addresses in exchange for social media content you can actually help drive the sales process with timely and relevant messaging.

When someone provides their email in exchange for content, just remember they have said they are interested in your CONTENT not your PRODUCT. Therefore, you’ll need the right email strategy to make sure you are taking care of social media leads because they are typically earlier in the buying process. Use these tips to avoid killing the social media sale.

Relationships Start on Social Media but are Fostered in the Inbox

Following a Twitter account or liking a page on Facebook doesn’t really say much about the level of relationship you have with the brand. I mean yeah, we like you because we’ve decided to pay attention to what you have to say, but we’ve done it on a network where we choose when we want to engage and you can’t really pester me. On a social network I control my engagement with the brand. However, think about the different level of intimacy that goes into providing a brand with your email address. Here’s what my process typically looks like. Do I want to receive on-going information from the company before I type my email address in the box.

As you can see, this is also about more than just getting the email address. It is about delivering tremendous value so you get the “right” email address and then sending messages that are relevant and high value to the audience. Matt Grant from MarketingProfs said it best:

“Ask yourself whether or not your audience would pay for your marketing content, if not, it’s not good enough.”

It’s time to start recognizing that the success of your social media effort is dependent on your success in generating email subscriptions. If you do this well you will be able to convert more social media leads, generate stronger relationships and keep your customers happier while finally showing a true ROI for your social media program.

“Your email marketing database is like gold. It has tremendous value and better yet, you own it. You don’t own Facebook or Twitter or Google+. If those social media sites change their permissions or disappear altogether, you’ll likely lose access to your list of friends/followers/fans you’ve grown over the years. But not email addresses. Those are yours to keep, yours to take with you from platform to platform.

Email addresses are the currency of the web. Use can use your email list to nurture prospects through the sales funnel as well as keep your current customers, clients, and fans informed on what’s happening in your business. Most importantly, an email marketing list can easily be segmented to best target specific groups. While it’s certainly possible to segment your social media followers, it’s a lot more difficult.” DJ Waldow of Waldo Social

What do you think? How do you use email marketing to support your social media efforts? Do you have a great example to share? Please leave comment and join the conversation.

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About the Author

Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole