You only own and control three things in digital marketing.
Your website, which includes your blog.
Your email list.
Your SMS/text list (people who have given you their phone number for text notifications.)
Even though we are fired up about the power of social media for even the smallest destination, attraction, or lodging, we decided to spend a little time thinking about one of those basics – email.
Our friend Stephen Koranda from Back To You Marketing is an expert on the topic, so even though he’s a Constant Contact guy and we are Mailchimp gals, we asked him for his thoughts on why you can’t lose sight of this important communications tool, and how to connect email with social media.
Whether you’re new to email marketing or a seasoned pro, Stephen gives you a roadmap to follow to make sure that all of your bases are covered.
Here’s what he says….
“Social media has seen a meteoric rise; marketing professionals know that and have shifted their focus to social platforms – and they should – the numbers are staggering.
But don’t forget about email. Email marketing is consistently ranked as the best channel in terms of ROI (Return On Investment) for resources expended versus results. For every $1 spent, it generates $38 in ROI.
68% of companies rate email as a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ communications channel, and email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
No one is giving up on social media, because that’s where your market is, but how would one go about blending and integrating these two powerful marketing approaches? How might one take an email ‘blast’ and maximize its reach on social?
Getting Email and Social Media to
Based on my experience providing email and social media marketing solutions to destinations, here are 7 ways that they can work together to reach more visitors….
1. Include social media icons and links in your emails.
Simple, but often forgotten. We are so focused on the content of the email (as we should be) that we forget about what is around the text. Many email service providers including Constant Contact and Mailchimp allow for social media icons and links to your accounts to be included in emails.
2. Ask email subscribers to connect with you on social media.
Some readers hastily read the content and may not see the social icons, so create a eye-catching graphic and place it prominently in your email. Or between text blocks, include a simple ‘Connect with Anywheresville through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.’ and provide links. Make it subtle, and it may grab the attention more so than the icons.
3. Ask email subscribers to share on social.
Some email service providers offer tools that allow readers to share the email on their social networks. Constant Contact’s tool is Simple Share; with one click of a button, a post (or tweet) and link to your email is generated for the reader. They can choose to edit the post or simply click ‘post.’
4. Send a dedicated email campaign for social media.
Sure, you want to promote the newest attraction or event, but what about a dedicated email campaign solely for the purpose of promoting your social media outlets? Keep it short and sweet: ‘Stay in the know between emails, through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.’ Offer some reason for them to be connected. Can you offer subscribers exclusive content on social media?
5. Promote your emails via social media.
Consider a post or tweet promoting your newsletters. ‘Get the latest from Anywheresville directly in your inbox.’ If you get a handful of new subscribers, you’re ahead! Make it cute and creative. ‘Sign up for our email’ is boring. Instead, try something like, ‘Discover 10 fun family things to do the summer in Anywheresville.’ Once they sign up, an auto-responder can provide them with the list.
6. Put an email opt-in form on Facebook.
Facebook has a tool that can put opt-in forms in a tab or button on your brand Facebook Page. Remember, your Page is owned by Mark Zuckerberg, not you. Get more value out of this important social media outlet by setting up the form and getting those email addresses.
7. Create an exclusive social media Group for email subscribers.
This may be for the more advanced DMOs with a social media manager who has time to manage a Group, but if there is exclusive content that you can offer through a Facebook or LinkedIn Group, give it a try, and offer it only to your email subscribers. Then don’t forget about it – Community Manager skills are needed because good Groups don’t run themselves.
You know, it is a busy world, full of overstuffed inboxes.
Provide an incentive to subscribe to your emails.
As a few of these ideas suggest, there should be some exclusive content that the subscriber receives for signing up. Retailers can offer a coupon; what can your DMO offer? Traditionally, one thinks of a drawing for a weekend getaway, but rich, exclusive content will create loyal readers and brand champions for your destination.”
Stephen Koranda, CDME, CTA, is the former Executive Director of the Norman, Oklahoma CVB, and was also VP, Tourism at the Olathe, Kansas Chamber of Commerce/CVB. Learn more by following him on Twitter and seeing what services he offers at Back To You Marketing.
Thanks for the tips, Stephen!
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The scenic byway/heritage highway tribe is gathering together in Iowa on April 4-6, 2016
(Update – here’s the info for Heartland Byways 2020)
Do you have a scenic byway, heritage highway, or themed trail in your destination or region?
As the preferred training partner for the National Scenic Byway Foundation, we hope to see you at the 2016 Heartland Byways conference April 4-6 in Council Bluffs, Iowa (right across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska.)
Our co-founder Sheila Scarborough will present two breakout sessions, plus she and Leslie McLellan will host a Tourism Currents “Social Media Therapy Bar” to answer attendee questions during the exhibitor networking session.