Let’s take a step back from the shiny objects to talk more in depth about marketing strategy and the places that email and social occupy. If you have a clear, defined digital marketing strategy that’s delivering the results you want, feel free to skip this month’s article. If not… read on.
Strategy is often defined as what you’re going to do. What do you want to accomplish? What are your goals, what destination are you driving to? So many companies leap into both email marketing and social media without a clear sense of the destination they’re traveling to that they try every mode of transit to get there – and switch so often or commit so little that they never actually make any forward progress.
Imagine taking the bus for 10 feet, then switching to walking, then a scooter, then driving… you’d fail to get very far. That’s the state that most marketing strategies are in – try everything and wonder why you’re not getting anywhere.
At the end of the day, any form of online marketing has to generate bottom line results in order to stay viable. Start at the end – start at the business result you want to achieve. That may be volunteers for your event, donors to your non-profit, or buyers of your product or service. Once you understand where you’re going, you’ll have a much easier time figuring out what modes of transit you need to get there.
Broadly and very generally, social media is excellent for generating results at the very top of the marketing funnel. Creating awareness, generating interest, stimulating demand – these are all tasks that social media (which is really just digital word of mouth) excels at.
Broadly and very generally, email marketing is excellent for generating results in the middle and bottom of the marketing funnel, when prospective customers are evaluating and considering, but not ready to make a full purchase commitment just yet. It’s a great way to get a prospect to make a “mini-commitment” on the way to a sale. Once a part of your subscriber database, it’s also easy to reach out and reinforce the presence of mind you’ve built with social media, especially since attention spans continue to get shorter and shorter online.
Understanding where various tactics fit in your overall strategy is absolutely essential before embarking on any implementation of social or email marketing. Know where you’re going to go and you’ll know better how you need to get there.
Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts