Adam T. Sutton

Social Bookmarks in B2B Email

Not every marketer’s audience is waiting on Facebook or Twitter, especially marketers in B2B manufacturing. Tim Madel, Manger, Global Ebusiness, Kennametal, is one of these marketers, and his team experiments with social channels anyway.

“We know our current customers might not be using Twitter and Facebook, but we know that the next generation is, and we want to be there and ready for it,” he says.

One way Madel’s team is preparing for a new generation of metal workers is by using Lyris to add buttons to Kennametal’s emails to share content on social bookmarking sites and networks. Although the quick, low-cost tactic does not drive much traffic to Kennametal’s site (referrals from social networks are below 1%), the team hopes the buttons:

- Bring content to correct customers

Many of the team’s email subscribers are purchasing officers, who’re not their target audience. The team adds the buttons so emails can more easily reach people who use Kennametal’s tools.
Kennametal email with bookmarking buttons
- Help current and future customers

Customers who prefer to bookmark using Delicious or iGoogle have the option. And if more customers start moving to Twitter, the team will be comfortable sharing its content on the network having experimented. Other buttons the team includes are for:
o Digg
o Reddit
o Newsvine
o LinkedIn
o StumbleUpon

In a sample of two emails, the buttons captured between 40 and 50 clicks each in each email. This is a very low percentage of all emails sent, but the team is undaunted.

“You’re not looking at high percentages, but in our world, that’s a great number to start with,” says Jennifer Altimore, Site Content Manager, Global E-Customer, Kennametal.

Share and Enjoy:
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B To B Ecommerce, Business To Business, Email Marketing



  1. March 24th, 2010 at 21:03 | #1

    Social Bookmarks in e-mail marketing works.

    This is especially when the e-mail is about educating them, and adding value in their lives.

  2. March 25th, 2010 at 01:22 | #2

    This is a good example of a company working to connect and engage with their audience. Theoretically, your audience consumes your content and represents an opportunity for an interactive relationship. As long as the company continues to monitor their audience’s demonstrated behaviors, they can modify their content and/or methods of delivery.

  3. March 26th, 2010 at 12:33 | #3

    Interesting technique for incorporating social media for BtoB. I’d love a follow-up blog post in a year to see if it’s click-through rates increase.

  4. March 29th, 2010 at 15:01 | #4

    We added social media share buttons to both my blog and enewsletter articles about healthcare marketing. It surprised us when people bookmarked and Tweeted not just our late-breaking newsworthy articles, but also our every day marketing 101 instructional articles as well. We are pleased to get traction with virtually zero effort. This is an easy way for us (and your readers) to leverage the content they are already creating. Even if it is more base hits than home runs, it is worth doing.

  5. March 29th, 2010 at 15:05 | #5

    I work for TreeHouse Interactive that produces demand generation sofeware where you can easily place these sharing links on both emails and landing pages. There’s also a link shortening integration with bit.ly for places like Twitter.

    What we’ve seen with our customers is that share rates largely depend on how compelling the content is. B2C companies do get higher share rates, however, 5-10% share rates (based on those that opened the email) is not uncommon.

    Interesting thing here is that you are expanding the reach of your message or offer, sometimes exponentially. While you may have 100k people in your database, each one of those people may have 100+ people following them on at least one social media site (on average). Many have more.

    Sharing does differ per social media or social bookmarking site. So while on Twitter people may share with direct followers, on LinkedIn you can share with many groups and then have that share get picked up in weekly emails from LinkedIn.

    The great thing about integrating this with demand generation is that your expanded reach gets turned into form submits that can then be qualified and nurtured.

    Just a few thoughts… Hopefully it was helpful.

  6. March 29th, 2010 at 15:42 | #6

    Hi Chris–Your input is definitely appreciated. Thanks to you and to everyone else for their commentary.

  7. April 6th, 2010 at 14:50 | #7

    I’m also a big fan of http://www.BizSugar.com it’s a bookmarking site SPECIFICALLY for small business. Talk about a targeted B2B audience.

  8. November 30th, 2012 at 08:10 | #8

    It depends on your industry though. I have a healthcare marketing company and we send out thousands of emails each week on behalf of doctors and hospitals and social bookmarks along with social share buttons really work. But flipping the coin… in emails sent out to the doctors themselves the social media buttons are distractors – that means they are just another thing for them to click on distracting them from clicking on the link or image that really matters. On top of it all, many doctors are still prohibited from the use of social media so they can’t even interact with the buttons. (Same thing applies in restricted industries like alcohol, tobacco, firearms, etc)

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