Jeanne S. Jennings

Making Social and Email Work Together

March 1st, 2010

Social is sexy; email is not. Social is alive and well; email is dead. This is the perception, but it’s not reality.

Smart marketers know that social and email work together well, and that by leveraging that relationship they can make both their social media and email marketing strategies more effective. This is just one topic I’ll be covering in the MarketingSherpa Email Essentials 2010 Workshop Training, taking place in 10 locations around the United States beginning in this month.

The strategic link between social and email is supported by “View from the Social Inbox 2010”, released by Merkle last month. It builds on the findings published by MarketingSherpa earlier this year, and by Silverpop in their “Emails Gone Viral: Measuring ‘Share to Social’ Performance” late last year.

Merkle found that people who use social media actually check their email more frequently than those that do not: 42% of social media users check their email four times a day or more, compared to just 27% of those that don’t use social media.

Even better news for marketers: 63% of those surveyed said that they use the same email account for social media messages as they do to opt-in to permission based email.

So those social media users are checking their email inboxes more frequently – and your marketing messages are more likely to be seen and acted upon.

In fact, a recent MarketingSherpa study found that 75% of daily social media users said that email is the best way for companies to communicate with them, compared to 65% of all email users. And 49% of Twitter users said they made an online purchase because of an email, compared to 33% of all email users

The Silverpop study found that social media share links included in email messages were receiving clickthrough rates of 0.5%. It may not sound like much, but it is significantly higher than the clickthrough rates on the “forward this email to a friend” links that marketers have been using for years.

When someone shares your email message on a social network, it’s the ultimate viral marketing. With very little effort your message has the potential to reach all of the recipients’ friends and contacts on that network. Silverpop estimates that posted messages have an average increase in reach of more than 24.3%, based on original email messages delivered.

Better yet, they feel that this is a conservative estimate – and that as social network usage grows, so will this figure.

Social networks and email feed each other – it’s the ultimate symbiotic relationship. But just knowing that isn’t enough. You have to know how to do it correctly to make it work. What type of content is most likely to shared? How can you make it as easy as possible for people to share it? How can you build a relationship with your recipients that will make them want to share your information? We’ll cover this and lots more in the training workshop.

Five years ago we weren’t talking about social networks in conjunction with email marketing. Now it’s a hot topic, one that every email marketer should be leveraging to its fullest.

Editor’s Note: Jeanne Jennings will be teaching MarketingSherpa’s Email Essentials Workshop Training series in 10 locations from March through August, and will be blogging about her experiences in the various cities. We’re excited to have her on board and contributing to the blog.

Jeanne S. Jennings

About Jeanne S. Jennings

Jeanne S. Jennings ( is an email marketing strategy consultant with over 20 years of experience in the online/Internet marketing realm. She will is leading the MarketingSherpa Email Essentials 2010 Training Workshops at locations around the United States and Canada. Jeanne works with medium- to enterprise-sized organizations, helping them become more effective and more profitable online. Her direct response focus gets results for her clients, which include Hasbro, The Mayo Clinic, The National Press Club, Network Solutions, Verizon Communications, and Weight Watchers International. Jeanne’s book, The Email Marketing Kit: The Ultimate Email Marketer’s Bible, was published by SitePoint. Since 2001 she has authored a twice-monthly column on email marketing for ClickZ Experts. Jeanne is a frequent contributor to marketing publications as well as a sought-after speaker on email marketing topics.

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  1. March 1st, 2010 at 11:36 | #1

    Great article, hopefully you can follow up with another article on “how to do it correctly to make it work,” and “what type of content is most likely to be shared.”

  2. March 1st, 2010 at 15:31 | #2

    Jeanne – you are spot on. Email is far from dead. In fact, email can be a great way to drive traffic to your social networks. McKinsey Quarterly does a great job of integrating their web presence, email and social networks. Here is a brief social media case study (with pics) about them:



  3. March 2nd, 2010 at 11:32 | #3

    Thanks for the link to the case study, Graham, I’ll check it out!

    Chicago Web Design — stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about social and email.

  4. March 2nd, 2010 at 19:30 | #4

    You are right on target! We are seeing an increase on clicks on “Social Sharing” in client emails especially when we personalize the content and links to the recipient.

  5. March 3rd, 2010 at 13:58 | #5

    Great article Jeanne. Regarding the questions you raise on building the ultimate symbiotic relationships…I hope you agree that building email channels that allow the participants in your network to participate where they find the greatest overlap with their passion, interests, and abilities, is how you get them bought in enough to regularly share that email content with their trusted network. It’s just not good enough to lump all of your network into on generic email channel…you’ll be training them to tune out.


  6. March 3rd, 2010 at 20:36 | #6

    I have to set up filters on my email to sort out all the social site emails that I receive.

  7. March 3rd, 2010 at 22:45 | #7

    Duh. Web developers/social media gurus have “always on” blinders on and simply do not support e-mail participation effective. At we’ve always kept e-mail at the center of our online exchanges and feed them into the web, Facebook and Twitter as options. It works.

  8. Rahul Kohli
    March 5th, 2010 at 06:48 | #8

    While I agree that including social sharing icons in your e-mail is a good idea to generate viral marketing, it is also important to have the staff and resources to be able to track the conversations feeding from such e-mails to see whether any negative publicity is being generated, so weigh your options accordingly.

  9. March 5th, 2010 at 10:53 | #9

    Thanks all for the comments!

    Darren — I totally agree. Relevant engaging content, judged as such by your readers, not by you, is the key to effective email-social network viral.

    Steven — yes, social networking folks think they’re the only game in town. They fail to recognize the important role email plays in general and in social.

    Rahul — Good point! Social is a two-way channel. You need to listen and respond — to both the good and the bad. The Kevin Smith-Southwest Airlines incident is an example of the power — and possible peril — of social. Gawker has a good overview, will all the tweets, here:

  10. July 6th, 2010 at 06:54 | #10

    Social media and e-mail are not only ways for communicating but also for business wherein it can also do sales. In fact direct sales can be done through the use of those process. Social and email are one of the mean ways of doing a good marketing strategy for a specific business and also for personal stuffs.

  11. March 29th, 2011 at 12:22 | #11

    Email and social are here to stay, but they may need to make some room for qr codes and mobile marketing.

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