Is email marketing dying? Last year, the Internet was full of articles and blog posts, where different experts expressed their concern about the effectiveness of email marketing. The main idea behind this claim is that email marketing is becoming obsolete due to the new (and arguably more effective) marketing strategies, like social media marketing. Yet, the death of email marketing is a rather bold claim. Email marketing is very much alive, which is proven by the recent stats by Optinmonster: 58% of people check email first thing in the morning Email marketing is still the most important content marketing distribution channel (according to the 91% of respondents); Reportedly, email marketing has 4400% ROI, which means that for every dollar you spend on your email marketing campaign, you’ll get $44 in return If we start comparing the effectiveness of social media marketing vs. email marketing, the latter one still gives a better and more even performance. Not only is it very hard to measure your ROI from a social media marketing campaign, but according to Optinmonster, consumers sign up for brand’s emails more often that its social media accounts. And, email has a higher open rate (22.8% across industries) and a higher CTR (3.71% across industries), compared to 0.58% overall engagement rate on social media. So, lesson learned – email marketing is alive and well, and does not perform worse than the popular social media marketing. Should Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing Be Separated? No. In this age of marketing, customer experience is the main target of any marketing campaign. And, with all the technology and resources available, achieving a complete customer experience cannot be put to practice without integrating various marketing channels. Thus, email marketing doesn’t exclude the use of social media, nor is it superior to what social networks can offer in terms of marketing. In fact, social media can help kick start your email marketing campaign by providing you with volumes of social data. Social…What? Simply put, social data is publicly shared information, which includes metadata that comes from social media users. Social data includes, but is not limited to the following: Time and location Language Biographical data Likes Shares Comments Shared links Clicks The main characteristic feature of social data is that it is dynamic, and it is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you’ll be receiving updated volumes of information all the time (to keep your marketing campaign closer to its goal). On the other hand, high dynamics of social data makes it hard to keep up with it. Yet, social data can help you find answers to many questions, including the ones that are concerned with the email marketing campaign. So, how can you use it? Let’s take a look. Applying Social Data to an Email Marketing Campaign 1. Analyzing and Growing Your Target Audience Social data can provide you with extensive knowledge of who your audience is, giving you a whole set of ideas on how you can apply it to your email marketing campaign. However, social data can do more than that. You can use social media channels to build email lists. And, vice versa, it allows you to take a closer look at who your email subscribers are to make your email marketing campaign more targeted. For instance, here’s how LinkedIn can help you with email subscriber analysis. If you go to LinkedIn, choose Connections, you’ll see a section where you can enter your email to add more people to follow. After you enter your email, you’ll see all the people that you have in your email subscriber list as LinkedIn users: Twitter has the same function, which allows you to take a better look at who your audience is, what their interests are, which eventually can be very helpful when creating content for your next email marketing campaign. You can also integrate social media platforms to redirect people to your email via a newsletter. For instance, Facebook call-to-action button can be designed in a way to help your Facebook followers contact you via email. How do companies benefit from it? Peter Jefferson, a marketing specialist at the international real estate company, says that switching from “Visit our website” to “Contact Us” via email helped the company boost their email marketing campaign. Doing so can help you redirect more potential subscribers to your email. However, you can draw even more benefits from it. All social media platforms have their own built-in analytics tools, which, among many other functions, allow you to track how many people used this CTA. You can also track their location, time zone, and other social data, which can be useful for your email marketing campaign. 2. Finding Content Ideas for Email Although social data mainly comes from likes, shares, and comments from across social media platforms, it can also be collected from various other sources. Marketers are in a constant hunt for email marketing ideas, especially when it comes to content. And, if you plan on sending marketing emails every day, your content should be really engaging. This has a lot to do with a positive customer experience, which is a goal of every marketing campaign. And who can tell you more about it than subscribers themselves? Surveying your target audience will provide you with social data which later can be used to generate content ideas for email. For instance, recently I participated in a poll from an interior design brand that I follow on Instagram: After a couple of weeks, I started receiving marketing emails from this brand, showing me the products, among which I could find those ones that the majority of people voted for. This is a smart move from a brand to see what their target audience on Instagram prefers, and then to offer them similar products via email. 3. Benefiting from Customer Support Your customer support service is another source of an ongoing flow of social data. As your customer support operates through various channels, including email and all your social media platforms, you can collect the data to help you launch your next email marketing campaign. Stats prove the effectiveness of customer support. According to Social Media Today, customers love communicating with brands via social media and the majority of them use social media mostly for this purpose. This not only contributes to the positive customer experience but also to the growth of your brand as those who have a good experience are 3x more likely to be a brand evangelist. In terms of email marketing, your customer support service can supply you with the data from tickets they receive via social media. This social data can help you find answers to some marketing-related questions, including how well your previous email marketing campaign was received. Let’s take a closer look at more benefits: Customer support has all the information on your previous email marketing campaign. Responses and feedbacks they get as replies to the emails is social data that can provide you with important clues as to what should be taken into consideration next time; Customer service also has to deal with customer portals (forums, discussion boards), which also offer social data that may play an important role in launching an email marketing campaign. In general, customer support receives a lot of feedback from customers, which can be converted into social data. Although the data that you receive from the customer service is raw and needs thorough analysis, it can potentially give you the answers and ideas you’re looking for. Try Social Data for Email Marketing Although marketers commonly use analytics tools to launch an email marketing campaign and measure its success, social data, obtained from social media and other channels for interacting with customers, can give answers to many confusing questions, including whom you want to target and what content you should put in your emails. Do you have experience applying social data to launching email marketing campaigns? What issues did it help you solve? Share your experience with us!