Facebook Email and Integrated Direct Marketing

While the big buzz this week was over Google's purchase of Skype, millions of people around the world were quietly obtaining their Facebook email accounts. It's the latest round of power plays between these two internet giants, each one trying to become the dominant platform in social networking, communications and marketing dollars.

Google, with it's combination of email, search, YouTube and now Skype, seems to have everything a marketer could want in one integrated platform. Facebook is the dominant global social network, combining email, video, search, e-commerce and a highly mobile audience (approximately 50% of Facebookers use their mobile FB app more than the web version). Targeting your audience on Facebook is a marketer's dream.

But here's the critical difference between Google and Facebook: Google is a utility, Facebook is a destination.

People use Google when they need to search or use their gmail account. Now they will use Google to Skype. Google is something people use when they need to do something specific. Facebook is different. Facebook is something people use every day regardless of their intent. There's a ubiquitous quality to Facebook in that it is a part of peoples' daily lives whether they want to admit it or not. 600,000,000 people around the world spend 40 minutes each day on Facebook. They might be just reading posts from their network, playing Farmville or Scrabble, watching videos, buying from retailers and now sending email inside and outside the Facebook universe. Regardless of the action they take, people go to Facebook and spend time there everyday.

Marketers need to see Facebook for what it is: a network with a highly engaged, identifiable and diverse global audience, a two-way communications device, and a daily destination. It is web based and mobile. And now with the arrival of @facebook.com email addresses, it is poised to become an all-in-one communications portal. Marketers should be licking their chops with anticipation.

If email marketing is part of your mix, then Facebook Email marketing will offer a truly integrated way to reach and grow your audience. If email marketing is something you are considering for your business, there's never been a better time to start.


The Email Subject Line Hall Of Shame

Email marketing, when executed correctly, can be extremely effective in reaching your audience and motivating them to respond in a particular way. But your email must be opened and read first, and one of the first lines of defense against a bounced or unopened email is a well-crafted subject line.

The subject line is more than a “headline” to your email. It is the key to getting through spam filters, which are notorious for degrading the ROI of your campaign.

Here are the stars of the “Subject Line Hall of Shame” and how your emails can avoid being just like them:

1. Everything you need to know about this email is in the subject line, so open it now and read.

At 92 characters long this subject line is likely to get cut off in most email clients, and has a high probability of being blocked by a content-based spam filter. Think about how you write a personal email. The subject line is usually just enough to convey importance, urgency, seriousness, or humor. It should act as an attention-getter, not a summary of the message.

We recommend subject lines be 35 characters max.

2. THIS EMAIL IS SO IMPORTANT, I’M USING ALL CAPS

This email looks so spammy, your filter can’t wait to block it from being delivered. All-caps are an immediate giveaway that the email is a poorly-crafted message that needs to SHOUT to be heard, or it was written by that guy in a foreign country who has $5,000,000 waiting to be deposited into your account. JUST SEND HIM YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO GET RICH.

Do not use all-caps.

3. Tips are a tipoff

If I wanted your advice I would have asked for it, so this email must be junk. Here’s a tip: tell me what the benefit is to me in the subject line and I’ll be motivated to read the email. Otherwise, I’ve got 20 other emails in my inbox that have identified themselves as requiring action.

Tips are too passive to be effective, and unsolicited advice is rude.

4. $ave Money!! Act Now!!

Benefit driven? Check. Short? Check. Upper and lower case? Check. Spam? Definitely, according to your filter. Spam filters look for symbols like exclamation points and misused dollar signs in subject lines. And “save money” is such a blind benefit that the reader will wonder how for about 1 second before they delete the email.

“Save money on your cable bill” or “Save money on groceries” focus the reader’s attention better because these kinds of lines communicate real, tangible benefits.


Clicking Is The New Clipping: Coupons In The Digital Age

Contrary to the identity of coupon clippers from years past, the coupon is now cool.

It was unfathomable just a few years ago that a coupon company like Groupon would be considered fashionable or interesting enough to run a commercial during the Superbowl. But combine a struggling US economy with digital media, and a behavioral shift towards living socially online, and the result is a new life for the coupon.

Kantar Media reports the use of digital coupons grew by 60% in 2010, while printed free-standing inserts rose by 11%. This is incredible growth for a marketing strategy that hasn’t seen an increase in year-over-year usage since 1992.

Marketers are seeing digital coupons as a way to revitalize their brands by literally putting value in their customers’ hands, and refusing to cede market share to lower cost competitors. Coupons were once seen as a taboo for higher-end brands because they feared the discounting of their brand value more than the shortening of their margins. And now there is an implicit need to connect with people and help them afford the things they want to buy.

But this new coupon-chic is more than that. Coupons have become the clutter-busters in social media because people love to share with others how smart they are with their money. People want to tell other people that they got a great deal, and they want to help their friends get the same great deal. For a marketer, a coupon is now a social media badge of honor to be worn by loyal customers, new customers, and their networks of like-minded friends. Coupons can be shared, posted, liked, emailed, forwarded, and in the case of Groupon they can be collectively bargained for.

At The Weinstein Organization we have long recognized the value of the coupon. It is a great tool for increasing store and web site traffic, sales, and for building email databases. We enable our coupon emails to be easily shared on social networks to increase the effective reach of the campaign, thereby increasing the marketing footprint for our clients in ways no other strategy can match.


Keep Your Website Up To Speed

Your website must download as fast as your competition. Typical shoppers expect websites to download in 2 seconds. That's down from 4 seconds in 2007. Research from a leading search engine reveals that a delay of 2 seconds results in a:

• 1.8% reduction in queries

•3.75% drop in clicks

• 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor

Slow load times have a significant harmful effect on sales revenues.


Landing Page Essentials

When prospects click on an email, banner ad or other teaser copy, take them to a landing page.

It elaborates on the teaser's promises and adds incentive to continue to your site. A good landing page:

• Graphically resembles the banner ad or item clicked. Same fonts, color, and logos. The key is consistency across all platforms.

• Captures the prospect's contact information.

• Has your organization's email, phone, address, and other ways to contact you.

The landing page is a vital connection between your ads and your website. It's the pathway to better web performance.