Get High Quality Facebook Fans via Email Marketing
Brands and organizations have come to realize that having a large number of Facebook fans isn’t necessarily an indication of the real reach they have with respect to engagement with their products. Since becoming a fan on Facebook doesn’t require a person to actually buy a product or support the brand across channels, there may be thousands of hits without this really reflecting in the sales of a product or in other forms of investment in a business.
One way to get higher quality fans is through the use of email marketing, where people who have subscribed to an organization’s newsletters and other mail are also invited to become Facebook fans and to participate in social networks. This practice significantly increases the number of Facebook fans who interact with the brand at other levels. Email lists usually contain valuable customer data that needs to be effectively tapped into and converted into Facebook fans. In most cases, a brand's Facebook fan base doesn't include a high percentage email subscribers, who are really the ones with the better potential to support that brand.This is why information on a brand’s presence on social networks like Facebook should be reinforced through multiple channels, and especially through marketing emails. This can be most effective when the email linking recipients to a Facebook page promises some kind of reward for participation. One barrier to successfully pulling this off lies in Facebook no longer offering the custom landing pages option. Though it can still be done, it is now a more complex process.
An email sent by Belk Department Stores aptly illustrates how email marketing can be effectively employed to get more high quality fans. Within three days of sending out its email, its Facebook page received 16,708 fans. Since then, Belk has increased its Facebook fans to over 480,000 people; pretty impressive!
There are various features that make an email effective at garnering desirable participation on social networks. An email should not merely provide information, but should invite the recipient to actively participate in some concrete and explicitly stated way. Participation (for instance, by becoming a fan on Facebook) should entail a reward. The option to become a Facebook fan or to participate through other social networks should be offered through various channels. While the main promotion should take centre stage, other options should still be included. Also, the reward offered on participation should be available only within a fixed time frame. A good email should also contain hyperlinks allowing recipients to shop for products, which could either be a product image or a plain web link. An email should provide recipients with the alternative of unsubscribing and controlling their privacy settings and other preferences. Finally, the email should have a perfect balance of text and visuals in order to direct recipients to the Facebook page.
While the Belk email marketing campaign did get them a large number of fans, the number of coupons claimed was 34,465, more than double the number of fans. This was largely because the custom landing pages option is no longer available, so that even people who visit the page without liking it can still receive a coupon. Also, when fans and sales increase, an email marketing campaign can be considered successful even when these two variables aren’t interdependent. The email had to contain very precise directions to the coupon on the Facebook page since custom landing pages had been eliminated. Though the coupon was at the bottom of the page, a large number of people who visited the site still managed to locate it, though the number might have been higher if it were otherwise. However, other tabs more immediately visible might have been taken off for a while and replaced with an announcement of the offer instead.
There are various strategies that marketers should follow when designing emails for a marketing campaign that directs recipients to a Facebook page. Since the tools and functionalities offered on Facebook are limited, marketers need to figure out how best to use Facebook’s advertising resources together with email marketing to optimize responses from potential fans and customers.
The email itself should contain all the features of an effective marketing email described above. It should also contain clear directions on how to access the coupon on the Facebook page, given the recipients can’t directly get there by clicking on a link in the email. Also, marketers should make it a point to place at least some information concerning the reward above the fold on the Facebook Page, so people visiting the page don’t have to look for it. The time frame within which the offer can be claimed should be mentioned in the email as well as on the Facebook page so hurrying visitors to avail of the offer. Various strategies to increase participation should be employed, and marketers should monitor how well each of these strategies is working. Arriving at how effective a particular campaign is can sometimes be a challenge, given the quantity of data available and the difficulty in tracing increases in sales to a particular variable or strategy. Responses on a Facebook page are harder to assess than an email marketing campaign. Thus it is important to evolve effective benchmarks for measuring Facebook activity as well.
The aim of any marketing activity should be to get people to cross channels and actively participate in various networks. Increase in activity on a Facebook page should ideally reflect greater support for your business in terms of increased sales or increased monetary involvement and word of mouth, etc.
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