social-mediaSocial media has provided us with more ways that ever to connect with our customers, clients and prospects. But, while there are now a huge number of diverse marketing channels, email marketing remains the preferred channel for both customers and businesses alike. Email marketing is the only marketing channel where you are given permission to send relevant, highly targeted emails to your subscribers. In fact, according to a survey by MarketingSherpa, 75% of social media users say that email is the way they prefer brands to communicate with them.

So, if email is the marketing method that people prefer (and the most effective), why use social media to market your business at all? Well, the two can actually go hand in hand. Social media provides some useful list building tools. By using your company’s social network pages effectively, you can convert your fans and followers into email subscribers. Here are some of the ways to do that:

Facebook

Facebook is one of the best social networks for generating email subscribers. You can use text and media in a completely unrestricted way (unlike with Twitter, for example), so you can use every tool in your arsenal to entice potential subscribers.

The first thing to do is add an email sign up form to your Facebook fan page. Despite this being the most straightforward way to turn your Facebook Fans into subscribers, a Silverpop study found that only 10% of brands do this. Take this simple step, and you’ll already be ahead of many of the companies that use Facebook.

It is usually worthwhile to offer your potential subscribers an incentive to get them to sign up. Facebook offers a number of ways to do this. You could use your Facebook page to tell your fans about subscriber-only benefits, like Crocs did:

Crocs

Or you can collect email addresses by running a Facebook competition, like Beverly Hills Formula:

Beverly Hills

Either way, you’ll soon start to see your Fans become subscribers.

Twitter

Twitter might not allow you as much freedom as Facebook, but it can still help you grow your email list. The simplest way to do this is to occasionally tweet a link to the sign up form on your website, like this one:

Pegasus TweetYou can also take advantage of Twitter cards; marketing Tweets that allow you to communicate with more than the standard 140 characters. Twitter’s lead generation cards offer one click sign up. When a follower clicks the call to action button, they are immediately signed up to your list. You will receive their Twitter handle and email address. HP Cloud used a lead generation card on their Twitter feed:

Hp Twitter

Social media marketing might not be able to match email marketing in terms of ROI but, if you use them correctly, your social media pages can help make your email marketing even more effective.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net