Email marketing has been a popular means for marketers to reach potential clients since the medium’s widespread adoption in the 1990s. Even with the creation newer techniques like social media, influencer and content marketing, email is still considered the most effective according to a 2015 survey of 1,800 marketers conducted by Smart Insights and GetResponse.
However, that doesn’t mean that email marketing best practices haven’t evolved with new technology. Thanks to social media there are now ways you can significantly improve the quality of your email marketing list beyond just a website opt-in form and buying third-party lists.
Below are five ways you can use social media to improve the quality of your email lead list from basic to advanced techniques.
- Get your social media followers to cross channels
The easiest way to buff up your email list with social media is to encourage your social media friends, followers and connections to sign up for your email list. This one may seem obvious, but many companies don’t bother tracking and engaging their leads across different channels.
Don’t assume your social media followers are largely the same people as those on your email list. Also, don’t write off the value of your social media friends as lacking the authority to make or influence a sales decision. In my experience, neither is true.
Create a social media campaign that leads to a sign-up page on your website. You’d be surprised how many quality leads you can sign up via sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn if you regularly engage social users in topical conversations and with value-added content. Just as important, if these people regularly engage with you on social media they are much more likely to open and read your emails.
- Uncover hidden lookalike leads with Facebook
With social media, your current email list doesn’t connect you just to those specific people. It also opens up a much larger pool of potential leads of similar people using Facebook’s Custom Audience feature.
Using the feature is simple. All you have to do is upload or copy and paste your email list leads from a spreadsheet. Then narrow your custom audience by relevant qualifying characteristics, such as age and interests and tell Facebook to find a “lookalike audience.” Facebook will then trawl its own database to find people with similar characteristics to your current email list subscribers. Create a targeted ad that will convince members of your lookalike audience to click and head to a landing page on your site like in the previous tip.
- Reach people’s personal email via Facebook
Most people are unaware that by default emails to their Facebook account are forwarded to the primary email address listed on the account. This unusual feature is a legacy of Facebook’s failed attempt at becoming an email service provider in its own right. All you have to do is enter that person’s email address as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Typically, most people open their Facebook account using a personal email address, so the vast majority of the time that is where your emails will end up.
- Use Twitter handles to find email addresses
You can also use social media handles to find the work email addresses of leads using an easy, but slightly more advanced technique, called data appending.
Data appending for marketing is essentially using a third party service to fill in the blanks (like job title or work email address) for your leads’ contact info. Some companies that specialize in this area, include Sellhack, Clearbit and Pipl (where I work).
For instance, Pipl’s FileApp service, users can upload a list containing leads’ names and social media handles and download the list with missing email addresses added to it.
These data append services can be used to find email addresses for potential leads found through social listening. To avoid becoming a spammer make sure that you provide a clear opt-out option when reaching out to these people.
- Verify your email list with or without social media
It is an unfortunate fact of email marketing that a certain percentage of people will sign-up to your email list using fake email addresses. Not only does emailing these addresses waste your time, but too many bounced emails will eventually lead your email service provider label you a spambot and block your account.
More frequently, people will use a personal email accounts or an address they check less frequently from providers like Gmail and Yahoo filling out a contact form. This makes actually communicating with these people and qualifying leads much more difficult.
Alternatively, you can use social media handles and past email addresses with Pipl’s People Data API to find alternative and work email addresses. The time-stamped historical data on email records should give you an idea whether an email is in use and potentially job title and other professional information to quality the lead.
The key to determining which of these three types of services is comparing their pricing, match rates and how their technology fits into your lead list platform’s design and purpose.
Easy Competitive Advantage
The main takeaway is that it’s worth getting creative in using newer technologies to improve the quality of your email marketing lists and their conversation rates. Another finding in that 2015 Smart Insights survey was that only a slim majority (53%) of marketers used lead-gen and list building tools to improve their the scope and effectiveness of their lead outreach. Much fewer marketers (less than 25%) use social or content strategies to build up quality leads. Give yourself a competitive advantage. Taking that extra step can be quite simple.