Email marketing remains one of the main communication mediums in the construction industry. Building product manufacturers use it to update their customers and prospects on new products, to promote exclusive discounts and discuss industry news. There are articles floating about saying that social media will ‘kill’ email but these forget the most important point; you need an email address to have a social media account in the first place! Email is not going away but the way it is used for marketing needs to adapt and align with the changing buying behaviour of specifiers and architects.
Social media should be seen as a partner and not as a threat to email marketing. Together they can strengthen your brand message, provide new communication channels and increase your exposure to existing and potential customers. Both email and social media aim to keep your construction products top of mind for architects and specifiers by communicating with them in a relevant and timely manner that is both testable and measurable. Social media is the new tool but does not work alone. It is part of your overall marketing mix, of which email plays a large role.
Enabling your emails to be easily shared on social networking sites increases your message reach and facilitates engagement through comments. But first, you have to make your email worth sharing. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers or prospects, what information would you like to read about? What kind of news would you want to share with your peers? Testing email layouts, subject lines, text placement and calls to action will give you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Tips for email and social integration:
- Add social network ‘follow’ buttons in your email messages – if email recipients like the content you provide in your newsletter they may be more inclined to follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook brand page. Encourage interaction on social networks where you can have detailed conversations with them and also share more useful information.
- Use social media to increase sign ups to your email marketing list – promote your newsletter, blog or downloadable whitepaper through social networks and have a (short) contact form on the relevant landing pages that capture email addresses.
- Include ‘share on social network’ links in your email messages – the relationship between email and social media needs to be stronger than simply adding a few social media icons at the bottom of each email. You need to drive interaction between the two mediums and make them work together. Make the social calls to action (‘Like’, ‘Tweet’, ‘+1’) a prominent part of your email or newsletter design. If an architect is subscribed to your mailing list and thinks your latest article would be a useful resource for his/her Twitter followers then having the tweet button integrated into your email makes it easier and quicker for them to share it. This will make their followers aware of your company and the information that you publish. Potential customers might then be more inclined to visit your website and also sign up to receive your newsletter.
- Conduct a survey on social media and share it in your newsletter – create conversation and engagement by conducting an industry survey on a relevant topic. State that you will publish the results in the next edition of your newsletter which encourages prospects to sign up.
- Ask your ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ what information would be useful to them – gauge opinions and feelings towards new products, competitors, new building regulations and your sector as a whole. Incorporate this knowledge into future email marketing campaigns.
- Use metrics from email campaigns to identify most popular social networks – most email service providers provide tracking and reporting on how many people posted your email to their social networks. This information is valuable in establishing which emails where most effective and to which social networks your posts have been shared.
How are you using email marketing to communicate with architects and specifiers? Have you started using social media to support your campaigns? Has it made a difference?