Sunday, December 21, 2008

10 Tips for Using Twitter And Email Marketing for B2B

I was told that every blog needs a "top 10 post" and I thought today would be a good day to write one on a topic that is growing in popularity. That topic is Twitter and how best to use this tool for your B2B marketing efforts. I thought I would take a stab at providing tips on blending a tried and true tool like email with Twitter. Let me know what you think and if you have additional tips (let's see if Darren Rowse from Twitip is listening)

10 Tips for Using Twitter And Email Marketing for B2B

1. Add a link to your company's Twitter account to all mass email communications. Consider adding a link in the email footer to items such as your event invitations or email newsletters. This tip is especially important for any resource or newsletter autoresponder subscription emails. I've found that the autoresponder email from BreakingPoint does this quite well (and has an excellent newsletter!).

Quick note here: I already assumed that your company created a Twitter account. You can find many other blog posts out there on that subject. Here is a great one that should scare you into getting one: Don’t get BrandJacked: Confirming Your Corporate Twitter Account

2. Link to a form landing page from your company Twitter account. For example if you have a Twitter post such as "New white paper on how to increase ROI". Upon clicking on the link to the white paper, direct "Tweeple" (twitter people) to a landing page where you request their email address to get access to the white paper if you don't already have it. In this way you're converting your twitter followers into opted-in email subscribers.

3. Use Twitter content in your email newsletters. For example, create a feature called "Twitter Q/A". In this section, address questions/comments that came up on Twitter and what the response was. This goes back to being an Eco-Marketer and reusing content that you have. I would also recommend recognizing and thanking Tweeple that have contributed to your community. That's the stuff that builds social media loyalty and grows and nurtures your community. If you don't have enough content it means that your company is not leveraging this channel enough and it's time to get on that because it many cases, the conversation has already started.

4. Post links from your email newsletter articles on Twitter. Instead of including one twit that says: "Check out the latest newsletter" and links back to your main newsletter page, consider seeding individual articles on Twitter over a period of time (say a week). You can use a tool like Brightkit to pre-schedule your twits in advance. Companies should make each twit count and make the content as interesting as possible.

5. Ensure that all email newsletter article authors have their Twitter account listed on the email. This allows recipients to continue the conversation after they read the article. You may want to have a Twitter account for anyone mentioned in your marketing emails. This will require the individual to listen and contribute on Twitter which is a good thing (even if they object) :). A definite email best practice is personalization and I believe that Twitter is just an extension of this.

6. Provide instructions in your emails about how subscribers can follow conversations about your company on Twitter. For example, if you are promoting an event in your email, let subscribers know that they they can twit about the event using the hashtag character #. For example #myevent. You would replace "myevent" with the name of the event. You can instruct event registrants to use Twemes to follow the Twitter conversation about the event. Have a look at Karl Roche's excellent post on Twitter for events for more information.

7. Ask email subscribers for their Twitter ID when they sign up. Experiment with an optional field on a few key web registration forms and see how this affects your conversion rate. I recommend mentioning that you will follow the person if they provide their Twitter ID. This may an incentive enough as Tweeple are looking to get as many followers as possible.

8. On your email preference page, indicate to those who may want to unsubscribe that they can still follow you on Twitter. While you may have lost the person from your email list, you keep them in your community. This is the strength of Twitter and how it can be leveraged to enhance your existing marketing efforts.

9. Add a link in your emails and/or on your website that allows email subscribers and web visitors to easily tweet about an article, event or promotion. I learned this from Mr. Tweet. All you need to do is link to Twitter with the following URL: and add in a message under 140 characters after the "=" sign. Here is an example: post on Anything Goes Marketing: "10 Tips for Using Twitter And Email Marketing for B2B" This makes the process of spreading the word about your email article extremely easy. Does it take more time? Yes. Will it drive more traffic and help you get further bang for your email buck? Most likely. All you have to do is test it out.

10. Conduct Twitter interviews and use this as content for your email marketing. This type of "Twitterview" could be with a customer, partner, company exec (or any other employee), or industry thought leader. What makes Twitter great is that these types of interviews are easy to do and you can use email to promote these as "live events" as well. Here is an interview that Ann Handley from MarketingProfs did which is a great example of how easy this is.

I hope you have found this useful and please contribute additional tips by adding your own comments below.

Chad H

PS: If you found this useful, please tweet about it.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to Prevent List Attrition yet Drive Event Attendance

This week's blog post was inspired by an idea by Yaro Starak over at who suggested to look for blog ideas by scanning Facebook groups. I decided to do a quick scan on Linkedin instead and found a great topic on email marketing. Here is the question that was asked:
How does your company email customers about events and web seminars without sending too many emails to the same customer that may share several products within a product line?

How often do you email your customers and do you have a format that eliminates multiple emails to the same contacts within a short time frame?

This is a timely question as I was just reviewing a similar situation last week. While you can answer the question by saying "use a system that restricts how many emails you send within a given time frame", that may not be an acceptable approach for marketers that are measured on the number of event attendees. The best approach that was brought up in the Answers section in Linkedin is to send emails based on a person's specified interests. While the product that a customer has purchased can help you segment them, is that what they are truly interested in and can you go further in your segmentation (say based on their title or geography)?

Let's assume that the marketer may not know all of this information just yet. The bottom line is that the marketing team needs to promote events but the more emails that are sent may lead to list attrition. My recommendation is to use the right messaging based on what you know about the contact.

Using Dynamic Email Content the Right Way

This is a perfect situation for using dynamic content in email. Instead of creating one email for each event, consider creating one email and using dynamic content to display multiple events based on a person's product purchases. For example, if a person has only purchased one product, they will receive an email that promotes the event associated to that product. If a person is associated to two products (I would not promote more then two events in one email), you may want to promote the event that will be occurring next at the top of the email while including the event that is occurring later on underneath it. Another approach is to display both events side by side or to promote one event in the main column and a webinar in the smaller column.

Promoting Events in Your Newsletters

Another issue that you may deal with is the mix of newsletters, promo offers and event invite emails that you need to send. These items really should work together. For example, you can include a column on your newsletter that promotes upcoming events. You could even make this dynamic to only show events that are relevant to the individual based on their product purchases.

One approach I'm seeing more and more is to create an RSS feed of your company events and display this as a featured section in an email newsletter. It doesn't have to be an RSS feed but it does make it easier as you can update this in one spot- see Steve Wood's post called Content for Free on how to do this.

A Few Other Ideas to Cut Down on Event Emails

Here are a few small tips that you can implement:
  • Have a link on your event invite that says "I can't make the event but maybe next time". Surprisingly, there will be times when a person in your database has a conflict because their umm.... working? Instead of sending them a follow up email that invites them again to an event that they can't attend (send enough of these and you can expect an unsubscribe), give the person an out. If they do click on that "I can't male it this time" send them a follow up email after the event with recorded version and see if they download it.
  • Once someone has signed up for an event, do you really need to send 10 emails reminding them of the event (exaggerating here)? Perhaps all that is needed is an autoresponder confirmation email and an email on the day of the event or a day before the event. The way to cut down reminder emails is to get the event registrant to book off the time in their Outlook or Lotus Notes calender using an ICS file link.

Unfortunately, the question on Linked in was closed so I couldn't post my answer but that's why I have my blog. I hope you have found this useful and maybe inspired you on how to generate posts on your blog as well. Let me know if you agree or have other ideas.

Chad H.

PS: I did create a recent group on Facebook during the whole Canadian federal government debacle last week called: "I Prefer Celine as Canada's PM over Stephan Dion any day!". Even if you're Canadian it's not really that funny.

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