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The Coming of Age of Socialised Emails

The introduction to Groundswell, a book by Forrester, says:  “Right now, your customers are writing about your products on blogs and recutting your commercials on YouTube. They’re defining you on Wikipedia and ganging up on you in social networking sites like Facebook. These are all elements of a social phenomenon — the groundswell — that has created a permanent, long-lasting shift in the way the world works. Most companies see it as a threat. You can see it as an opportunity.”

Socialised emails can be used as an opportunity to contribute to the Groundswell positively by providing your customers with shareworthy content. Moreover, socialised emails can be used to spread the word far and wide with very little effort from the marketer. SWYN (Share with your Network) has more potential than FTAF (Forward to a Friend) ever had.  The concept of viral emails is easy to grasp – by their very nature, email is a viral medium. FTAF recognised this and tried to harness this viral effect of emails, but essentially it was an uphill battle, for as the name implies, it was asking the subscriber to forward the email to a friend (singular), SWYN is altogether a more virile beast and utilises the subscribers networks to spread the word, thus benefiting from the exponential effect.

 Socialised emails are still in their infancy as a tool in the marketer’s belt.  However some there are a few reports about which can help us to understand their potential, so let’s get to and check out what has been discovered about them so far…..

Does socialising your email result in increased CTR’s?

In a report by GetResponse, they state that by socializing your emails you can increase on average 30% higher CTR over non-socialised emails. This varies according to how many networks you offer to share via – for example if you provide 3 networks in your email, then your CTR can increase by 55%!

So, how many marketers are socialising their emails?

GetResponse, states that 13.5% of their clients are using their SWYN tool whilst eROI, states that 59.1% of their clients are using their sharing tools. In a Smith-Harmon report released a year ago, they determined that 13% of USA online retailers were using SWYN as a strategy.

Glancing in my eclectic, international inbox, I calculate that 25% of B2C emails are using SWYN icons with the most popular being Facebook and Twitter, B2B emails however are up around the 45% usage with the Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook being the majority of icons used.

 So, which networks are being utilised the most?

 In the USA retail industry according to Smith-Harmon, the top 3 are Facebook, Twitter and MySpace; eROI – Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin; GetResponse – Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. 

Interestingly enough GetResponse reports that Twitter has the highest CTR (Click-Through Rate), with Facebook coming second and MySpace in third place.

Is it necessary to track the results?

More than ever we need to be listening to our subscribers/customers and give them what they want…the impact of not doing so is greater now than ever before. I don’t just mean looking at unsubscribe rates, complaints and CTR’s – but the SWYN statistics can provide some invaluable information about what your subscribers/customers consider to be valuable and shareworthy.

Due to the ‘newness’ of SWYN, it is not as yet mainstream, and neither marketers nor subscribers are fully au fait with the nature of it or in fact, I believe, its full potential. So if you are thinking of utilising SWYN within your campaigns, be sure to introduce it and educate your subscribers – don’t just lump it in your email and hope they pick up on how it works. With the majority of Email Service Providers offering SWYN tools, implementing socialised emails isn’t a major headache and could well end up being a handy tool in your marketer’s toolbox. If you are currently socialising your emails and have a great case study or some more interesting statistics available, I’d love to hear from you.

References:

“Groundswell: Winning in a world Transformed by Social Technologies” (http://www.forrester.com/groundswell/book.html), Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, May 2008

 ”FTAF va SWYN: The State if Email Sharing”, Smith-Harmon, August 2009

“Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Report”, GetResponse, May 2010.

“The Current State of Social, Mobile and Email Integration”, eROI, May 2010

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