Thursday, February 28, 2013

5 Tips for Combining Your Email and Facebook Marketing Efforts

Some of Facebook's gifts, as displayed in the ...
Some of Facebook's icons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our recent survey of vacation rental owners and managers about their online marketing in 2013, many said social media and email would be a major focus. While paid and free listing sites were Nos. 1 and 2 respectively, social media and email came in at 3rd and 4th in importance, well ahead of organic and paid search.

This makes some sense. Paid search is expensive. Organic search is a constant battle against competitors and Google algorithm changes. Facebook and other social media, on the other hand, are free unless you advertise, and email's monetary costs usually consist of only what you pay to your email service provider, which in most cases is a relatively small amount.

But both social media and email take up your most valuable resource--your time. Every hour you spend on them is an hour you could have spent prospecting more profitably, so you need to make both count.

Facebook’s a hot button right now for the vast majority of people, so for brevity’s sake, we’ll focus on it rather than try to address other social media outlets, such as LinkedIn, Pintrest or Twitter (we’ll save those for a future blog post). Here are five tips for making sure your Facebook and email efforts are coordinated, so you can make the most of your time.

Where is everybody? In the social media pool!
It's time you dove into Facebook too. 
1. Keep your website updated. Whether it’s Facebook or email, your customers will almost always end up at your website. If your website isn't clean, focused and easy to use, then all the time you spend on Facebook and email will be for naught. Do you have clear calls to action? Are your photos as good as they can be? Is your copy well written, concise, valuable and informative? Is your page layout pleasing and navigable for the user? And last, but by no means least, are your Facebook, other social media and email list sign up icons clearly displayed? If not, make improving your site a priority.

2. Develop Facebook only offers. Then publicize them via email. People need to find value in your Facebook page and your emails. You need to give them a reason to visit Facebook and open your emails. Run sweepstakes and contests on Facebook, but make sure everyone on your mailing list knows about them. Encourage sweeps and contest participants to sign up for your emails so they don't miss deals or freebies.

3. Post your emails to Facebook. This can be as easy as posting the link to your email on your Facebook page. Many email service providers allow you to do this by simply checking a box when you schedule your email. Or, you can post elements of your email on your Facebook and direct customers back to your page. If you have a special offer featured in your email, you can pull it out of your email and post it on your Facebook page. The same goes for an article on your blog, new property, or new amenity.

4. Keep your branding consistent. Make sure that your logo is displayed on your Facebook page within the Profile and/or Cover images. One problem with the Profile image on Facebook is that the size allotted is a rectangle oriented vertically. This means that logos that are rectangles oriented horizontally don't fit too well in the space allotted. You might have to pull a recognizable element out of your logo and use it as your profile picture. Don't just upload anything--it's worth engaging a freelance designer to help you get your Facebook Profile image right. The same goes for your Facebook Cover image--it should be consistent with your website. Then, make sure your emails are using the same or similar images and logos.

5. Coordinate your Facebook, website and email content. If you add new properties to your site, announce them in Facebook and in email. Blog posts you want noticed can be pinned to the top of your Facebook page and distributed via email. Content on your site should include Like Us links and email sign ups. It’s best to create at least the outline of a content marketing calendar. Have a rough idea every week or month of what it is you want to accomplish. This will save you time and keep your efforts focused.

The most important thing to remember is that Facebook and email should work together with your website and blog to create a synergistic experience for the customer. They may find you on Facebook, but you want them to remember you when they open their email inbox or see your URL on a search results page. A holistic approach to your marketing is how you stay top of mind no matter how your customers find you.

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