July 24, 2017

How to Use Email Marketing to Drive Social Engagement


Social Media Email Marketing - How to Use Email Marketing to Drive Social Engagement

Despite occasionally being mocked as a relatively archaic marketing method, email marketing remains a fantastic tool for almost any business. Because it doesn’t require any monetary investment (beyond a management platform, which tends to be an inexpensive item), and because it tends to grow in effectiveness over time as you attract more subscribers, it has enormous ROI potential all on its own.

However, the real power of email marketing is its ability to integrate with other marketing strategies. It can be used as a funnel for leads generated by other means, a showcase for your most popular content, and perhaps most importantly, a facilitator of greater social media engagement. How can email marketing best brandish this power?

Social Media Email Marketing Engagement Tips

Basic Prerequisites

First, let’s take a look at some of the prerequisites for this approach. These are a handful of features and tactics that your email strategy needs to have in place before you can even start attracting more social engagement:



  • Include social share icons. This is a basic necessity. The body of your email template needs to include links to your social media profiles in the header or the footer, at a minimum. You should also have “share” icons throughout your work that enable your users to share snippets of content they find interesting with one click. The easier you make it for your users to share, the more they’re going to share.
  • Embed featured posts. Interesting content is highly shareable, so no matter what the core purpose of your email blast is, you should include at least one piece of top-performing content from your content strategy (such as a particularly popular blog post). Embed this into your email, and of course, include share icons.
  • Call users to action. Sometimes your readers will need a helpful nudge in the right direction before they take an action. Don’t be afraid to ask your users to get involved in a social context directly. For example, you can ask users to share your latest post, or include some incentive for sharing something, such as an entry in a giveaway.

Include Shareable Content

In addition to embedding posts from your blog, you may want to offer exclusive forms of content to your email subscribers. If earning more social shares and social visibility is one of your primary goals, you should make that content as shareable as possible. Make it fast, concise, easy-to-read, and make sure you choose a topic that’s valuable for your audience. Even better, establish some kind of emotional connection by evoking humor, sympathy, or surprise. The basic tenets of viral content can help you here, but remember your limitations with email engagement — keep this content above the fold, and make it easy for your viewers to skim and share this content.

Make Exclusive Offers (That Users Can Share Anyway)

Exclusive offers reward your email subscribers, but if you want to make the most of these offers, you should allow your email recipients to share them with their social followings anyway. The degree of exclusivity will still be present enough for your subscribers to appreciate the gesture, but you’ll gain visibility across multiple new audiences. Your readers will be incentivized to share these offers because they’ll feel a sense of pride in doing so — not only are they doing a favor to all their followers, they’re showing off their own status, to a certain degree. The exact nature and significance of the offer is up to you — discounts, giveaways, and specialty items work well here, and consider escalating the objective value of your offer based on how desperate you are for more shares.

Announce Contests (and Winners)

Contests are a powerful form of social media engagement, and email blasts are a great way to increase awareness of them. A good contest, announced over email, could encourage a subscriber who isn’t currently following you to finally make the jump. And if a subscriber is already following you, they’ll be likely to share the contest opportunity with their own friends and followers. Once the contest is over, you can also announce your contest winners via email to further showcase the benefits of being an active member of your brand community.

Feedback Loops

Finally, remember that email marketing and social media marketing are mutually beneficial strategies. Throughout this article, I’ve mostly discussed ways that email marketing can bring you more social media followers, but don’t forget that social media marketing can bring you more email subscribers as well. Show off the benefits of being an email subscriber in your social media news feeds, such as by announcing exclusive content or exclusive discounts, and provide regular calls to action for users to sign up for your lists. Keep these strategies tightly interlinked, and you’ll greatly enhance your performance in both areas.

Email Photo via Shutterstock

4 Comments ▼
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Timothy Carter


Timothy Carter Timothy Carter is founder of digital marketing agency, OutrankLabs. He’s also the Director of Business Development for the Seattle-based content marketing agency, AudienceBloom. When Timothy isn't telling the world about the great work his company does, he's planning his next trip to Hawaii while drinking some Kona coffee.

4 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    I think that there is something special about email because it drives engagement in such a way that they are already prequalified to engage – they signed up, so their interest is somehow established already.

  2. Great tips! Social media and email marketing working together is a great opportunity for engagement. I’ve started using GetResponse recently when I saw the email marketing opportunities. I think that when you have your content marketing strategy established it’s a perfect way to share it via email.

  3. Timothy, I found this post while searching for email engagement topics via Buzz Sumo.
    There is a strong focus on getting social media fans and website visitors to become an email subscriber and then very little focus on engaging with your subscribers. This doesn’t make any sense as engaged email subscribers often become our customers.
    I’ve made notes about your points on persuading users to action and establishing an emotional connection – these approaches work well for public speakers who make a living this way. We can learn engagement from them.
    Your suggestions to include exclusive offers and contest winners are also great.
    With what I’ve been reading about readers ‘peeking’ at our emails via their phones – keeping great content near the top of emails is another worthwhile point! ~Keri

  4. Thats a very resourceful article.Thanks for sharing these tips,looking forward to execute this.I use hybrid email marketing tool to drive traffic and generate business leads.

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