Each, taken on their own, are effective. Put them together though and you will have something very powerful. Email marketing and social media go together perfectly, just like peanut butter and jelly :)
Now before you get in a huff and say, "But isn't email dead and ineffective?", just take a second and consider this fact:
According to a recent survey, performed by StrongMail, this past December, ”More than two-thirds of business leaders (68%) say they plan to integrate social media with their email marketing efforts in 2012″.
Certainly that is not a statistic that you can ignore. That said, I will grant you the fact that there are countless stories out there of companies that are pairing back their email marketing budgets and devoting those resources to other media efforts, such as social media. But the reality is you can't kill your email initiatives, and the mere fact that I bet you have checked your email at least five or more times, today alone, proves this point.
Why would you want to integrate your email and social media anyways? What could there be to gain from this? There are many things you can gain from this:
1) Extend the reach of your email marketing. Social media will extend the reach of your email marketing. When one of your diners likes your email message and wants to share it with their social networks, social media sharing buttons allow them to easily do this. This makes your email marketing viral.
2) You get easy to view metrics on who the big influencers (people that share your restaurant's messages the most) are in your diner club. Basically every email provider on the planet offers you these metrics. If your ISP or your email marketing solution doesn't have this functionality, get a new service provider.
3) This integration allows you to expand your reach and pick up more diners. When your message goes viral, anyone that sees your message can link into your diner club sign up page, easily, because your marketing is integrated BOTH ways (People reading the email can easily get to the social media sharing and people viewing the shared content on their social media sites can easily get to your club sign up form).
Integration makes your marketing efforts nice and neat. Besides that, why limit your diners to a single way to interact with you and your Restaurant Brand? Why not give them multiple options?
Okay, you got me. So how do I do this?
This wouldn't be a very good article, if we didn't give you tips on how to integrate this, now would it? So fear not! We have a handy list of ways you can integrate your email and social media, making your marketing stickier, more viral and therefore more powerful.
#1- Include Social Media Icons That Link To Your Social Media Pages In Your Emails
This is referred to as a "Social Connection". What that simply means is people can click on an icon in your email message and be directed to that page. In other words, it's like telling someone to "like us on Facebook".
I know this sounds like a "non-tip", but you wouldn't believe how many people we see that are not doing this. It is the EASIEST thing you can do with your social media/email integration efforts, so, like Nike says, "Just Do It".
#2- Ask You Diner Club Members To Connect And Share
This form of integration is what is known as "Social Sharing". What that means is that your diner can click on an icon and immediately share a portion of, or all of your content, on their social media wall, timeline, etc.
#3 Send Dedicated Email Campaigns To Your Diners
Sometimes, you might want to send a dedicated email campaign, trying to build up, specifically, one of your social media sites. For instance, perhaps you send a message to your diners, letting them know that they can get breaking news on events and promotions going on in your restaurant, by following your restaurant's twitter page.
#4 Provide Incentive To Your Diners
Much like the tip above, if you want to drive diners to a certain social media site, offering specials or promotional incentives to your diners can help attract more followers or fans.
For instance, using landing pages on your Restaurant's Facebook Fan Page is a great way to offer incentive. The landing page can say something like, "Like this page and instantly get a coupon for a free appetizer". When the diner clicks the "Like" button, with a little bit of programming, you can have the page instantly refresh to the coupon.
#5: Promote Your Diner Club (Email Club) Sign Ups Via Your Restaurant's Social Media Pages
Does your social media seem to be trumping the size of your email database for your diner club? One easy way to remedy this situation is to invite your fans on your social media pages to join your email club. It is very important to note that when you do this, be sure to include a link to the sign up page, so it is easy for your fans to do so.
#6: Include Code In Your Emails To Allow People To "Retweet" Your Messages:
Another great way to merge your social media and email is by making it easy for your diners to retweet your email message to their twitter page. This requires a little bit of HTML coding, but it is the perfect way to help make your Email Marketing viral.
#7: Put a Diner Club Sign Up Form On Your Facebook Fan Page
One of the greatest things about Facebook Fan Pages is that you can add a tab to the page that will allow your Facebook Fans the ability to sign up for your Diner Rewards Club.
While this does require some custom programming, changes to Facebook's inner workings have made it much easier to accomplish this.
These are just seven of my favorite ways to integrate your social media with your email. The truth is there are probably 10 or more other ways one can accomplish this as well. This may sound like a lot of work, but the good news is there are many third party vendors that can assist you with these things. Every one of the things I mention in this article is offered as a standard part of our DinerCentric restaurant marketing system, for instance. No matter how you do it, the integration of social media with your email marketing is key to the success of your marketing initiatives.