In my first two posts, “How email must reverse engineer social now” and “Socialized subject lines will reduce spam complaints“, we discovered how socially centric preference centers and subject lines will lead to dramatically higher engagement and lower spam complaints.
In this third part, we’ll identify challenges that are inherent with acquiring a subscribers social data points and what the benefits are to your brand once harnessed.
Challenge: develop a preference center marketing program
The challenge for today’s brand marketer is to find ways to seductively charm subscribers to fully or partially divulge their social media credentials through an intuitive preference center.
Some subscribers will immediately acquiesce, while others will be more sensitive and allow the brand only a partial glimpse into their social networks.
For example, B2B focused subscribers may prefer to provide only credentials of their LinkedIn network and not necessarily Facebook or Twitter.
Future preference centers will allow you to prioritize which social networks you want linked to a given brand
For this concept to work, marketers must demonstrate to subscribers the value of this initiative.
Those subscribers who opt-in will glean more value and insight through their network associated with a given brand, because knowing what transactions are taking place with their social networks is in most cases desired.
Once brands amass these nuggets of data; designers, engineers and email marketing specialists will collaborate to produce instinctive methods of engagement while furthering your brands credibility.
Brands must take a proactive approach with subscribers to induce them to release this essential data.
A strategic marketing program targeted towards this master preference center with strong calls-to-action should be integrated into your marketing mix. This marketing program should primarily focus on the features, benefits and value of updating socially centric preferences.
Emphasize value and benefits
One way to galvanize a brands subscriber base is to highlight reasons “why” updating your preference center is so valuable. In your email marketing program, dedicate sends that emphasize the real value of managing and sharing social media credentials. Market your preference center through other channels as well. Read Stephanie Miller‘s (ReturnPath) stellar post on why earning permission is divine.
Future marketing programs for updating preference centers should illustrate value–based notifications of activity within a subscribers given network: For example, in the email message itself give subscribers the option to choose from a host of alert notifications such as:
- Alert me when a member of my network makes a purchase from this brand
- Alert me when a member of my network signs up to receive newsletters from this brand
- Alert me when a member of my network reviews a product from this brand
This type of socially centric messaging will echo well with subscribers and will develop an affinity not only your brand but just as importantly your preference center.
These notifications will go “prime-time” and will replace the current generic “marketing messages” we currently receive. Messages of this nature could be an excellent resource for winning back dormant subscribers.
Furthermore, your subscribers might want to be immediately notified if a person from their network reviewed a nearby restaurant? By giving your subscribers “night-vision” into their social networks, brands will have a simpler time summoning subscribers to release this coveted information. Benefits to brands include far fewer defections from list segments, increased engagement, an awakening to dormant subscribers and significantly fewer “spam complaints.”
Immediate benefits to the brand
Credibility – As discussed throughout this series, socialized messaging of this nature provides a more intimate user experience. It permits a subscriber to feel that the message is about their social ecosystem first and about the brand second. It authorizes subscribers and their network to indirectly promote your brand, through a more relaxed conversation.
Reduced Costs – Socialized messaging, will significantly reduce a brands’ overall operating expenses, because of a higher engagement index, fewer spam complains and better inbox placements rates. Socialized messaging will increase sender reputation which reduces message handling costs including more relaxed human filtering steps with a given brand.
Validation through Engagement – The ability to quickly connect with your peers before clicking the purchase button will soon be the “de facto” model for how to validate a purchase through a given brand. Acquiring validation from your trusted network means that an emotional and financial investment has been made on behalf of your friends and colleagues. With a swift chat session with members of their network, your subscribers will discern information about a featured product/service, which accelerates immediate gratification for the purchaser. Building a subscriber centric brand will add considerable value to your existing customer base and through crosshairs will magnify brand integrity.
Fred Tabsharani is passionately engaged in strategic marketing initiatives for Port25 Solutions, Inc., a globally recognized email software company which serves Email Service Providers and leading enterprises. After receiving his MBA from John F. Kennedy University, Fred immersed himself into the world of email deliverability and constantly discovers new insight from thought-leaders in the email industry. He is a columnist for a few industry blogging portals and is also a member of several email based organizations including but not limited to MAAWG and the Email Experience Council. Fred’s goal is to continue honing his skills and knowledge in this space and to build timeless industry relationships that transcend business goals. You can connect with Fred on Twitter here.
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