How to use Twitter to drive email subscriptions

Email + Social has been an equation that’s been loudly trumpeted by marketers for years, from the early days of Friendster and MySpace to today, but most email marketers and social media marketers are not effectively connecting the dots. Each channel synergizes powerfully with the other, but only if you have the foresight to tie them together at the hip.

Today, we’re going to explore how to tie together Twitter and email. Obviously, many of these suggestions apply equally well to other channels such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. so please feel free to adapt them to wherever your audience is.

Let’s start by talking about how to build and grow your Twitter audience. We’ll look back to St. Elmo Louis’ classic sales structure, AIDA:

  • Attention/Awareness: Is your audience even aware that you exist? Have you captured their attention in some fashion?
  • Interest: Is your audience interested in you at all?
  • Desire/Decision: Does your audience want to interact with you and/or make any kind of decision about you?
  • Action: Will your audience take the recommended course of action?

Let’s now map the AIDA structure to your Twitter + Email efforts.



Who should you be following? For the purposes of growing a customer-centric audience, follow people who are or could be your customers. For example, let’s say you were a coffee retailer selling coffee to restaurants. You might use a free tool like FollowerWonk to find restaurant owners:


Once you’ve followed your target audience, add them to a Twitter list to tune into what they have to say.


Set up a basic listening dashboard using the Twitter tool of your choice for search terms relating to what you have to offer, such as coffee beans in our example above, then participate in relevant conversations about it. Separately, keep track of your Twitter list of eligible prospects and participate in conversations with them as appropriate.



Remind people who you are on a daily basis; ideally, do so when they are most active in social networks. WhatCounts does a daily welcome message, but you can come up with any variation of your own:



You need an effective destination to turn social traffic into captured data. For example, on the WhatCounts web site, you’ll find a dedicated landing page introducing your company to your Twitter followers.


On that page is a contact form which also allows visitors to subscribe to our newsletters. It’s important to do at least minimal customization on the landing page that is focused on the audience you’re working to acquire. Sending traffic from any source to a generic website home page almost always converts poorly.

Closing the Social+Email Loop

Be sure you close the loop with your Twitter followers by showcasing some of your conversations with them (and ideally, answered questions) in your newsletters. Be sure to highlight not only conversations, but also give people obvious, bold calls to action to share your email with their social networks. Here’s an example from our weekly newsletter, the GameChanger:


Finally, ensure that you’re collecting Twitter handles with your email addresses. This is important as not everyone who subscribes to your newsletter will be coming from Twitter! By closing the loop this way, you can follow every subscriber from any source, ensuring that you’re building as complete a Twitter audience as possible.



Social media is a powerful channel for reaching customers and finding new ones to talk to. Email marketing is a powerful channel for reaching out to customers and staying top of mind. By combining the two together, you can take advantage of the powerful specialties of each and deliver great results with your digital marketing.

Christopher S. Penn

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