I never cease to be amazed by how effective email marketing is. While it is one of the oldest forms of Internet marketing, the ROI is much higher than Facebook and other social media platforms. The average email marketer earns $44 for every $1 that they spend.
However, the most successful campaigns bridge email marketing with newer forms of online media. My friend Alex is a perfect example. Alex created an e-commerce site promoting weight loss cookbooks a few years ago. Alex discovered a novel approach to reach and convert his customers:
- He discovered a number of social media sites that specialized in sharing recipes and weight loss secrets.
- Built different email squeeze pages around each site.
- Ran advertisements on these sites. His traffic was funneled to his squeeze pages.
- Created different email funnels around the concerns of customers in each site.
- His sales funnel concluded with referring his visitors to his main sales page.
Alex found that the ROI of his email campaign was much higher than his purchased media campaigns. Promoting on niche social media sites was even better. The ROI of this approach was 300% higher than promoting on Facebook. This isn’t surprising, as 69% of marketers rated email marketing as either a “good” or “excellent” marketing strategy.
“I had never tried using email marketing to promote my [Fulfilment by Amazon] store before, so I was struggling at first. I ran some campaigns with Facebook and didn’t have much luck, because my targeting was all wrong. When I started promoting on more niche networks, I went from getting a subscriber every three days to five a day. My sales rose from zero to a week, then to one a day and eventually two a day. Doing direct media buys with niche sites really shaved my learning curve and caused my sales to skyrocket in ways I never expected. I still plan to use Facebook, but want to scale as much as I can with niche networks first. They have been an untapped goldmine!”
Alex discovered what many other marketers had to learn the hard way – social marketing requires a detailed sales funnel. You can’t link directly to your sales page and expect massive conversion. However, when you start using email in your funnel, your ROI will soar.
How e-commerce marketers can merge niche social networking with email marketing
A few years ago, Kerry Butlers wrote a very informative piece on marketing on niche social media sites. She is one of the few people that ever addressed this topic. Almost every other article I’ve ever come across focuses almost entirely on using Facebook, Instagram, and other popular social media sites.
Don’t get me wrong, major social media sites can still be very beneficial. The volume on them is absolutely tremendous and you can target users at a very granular level.
The biggest problem is that competition on these sites has become extremely saturated in recent years. The average CPC on Facebook is as high as $3.77 for highly competitive industries such as finance and insurance. These costs are likely to keep rising in the near future.
There is another problem with using major social media sites such as Facebook to reach your audience. Getting your targeting right can be very tricky. You are marketing to a network of over 1 billion monthly users with very different interests. Even if you target by interest and important demographics, there is no guarantee that they will be interested in your product. Keep in mind that many people joined Facebook groups, added interests or listed their favorite movies a long time ago. I haven’t edited my favorite quotes section or left some of the groups that I joined since I was in college 10 years ago. This information is a little relevance to marketers today.
Does this mean that Facebook isn’t an effective platform to reach targeted customers? No. However, you will probably have a much easier time soliciting them through websites that cater specifically to those interests.
This is one of the reasons that Alex’s campaigns were so successful. He found a highly engaged audience and connected with them through highly targeted ads. Once he found a low-cost customer acquisition channel, he began sending them through high converting email funnels. Email automation platforms, like Campaign Monitor, gave Alex the ability to send individualized content to each subscriber based on how they engaged with each email. This personalized created his most profitable marketing channel yet.
Here are some strategies for other marketers that want to create a lucrative sales funnel with niche social media sites and email marketing.
Consider all applicable niches
It is easy to get tunnel vision and only pursue new shoes that are directly related to your e-commerce site. However, you may find that many users on other niche social media platforms are just as interested.
For example, assume that you are running an e-commerce site that specializes in selling tai chi guides. You will obviously consider promoting your squeeze pages on martial arts social networking sites. But what other sites may be a good fit?
You might also want to consider promoting your campaigns on sites that focus on relaxation or work-life balance. Users on these platforms may not even be aware of the benefits that you offer, so the conversion rates may be even higher than they would be under martial arts sites.
Vet sites by demographic
This is where things get a little tricky. You want to make sure that each site aligns with the demographic you are targeting. This is the one area where traditional sites have an edge. You can’t target your ads the same way that you would on Facebook. You need to know what the demographic is upfront to make sure that at least 80% of the users are potential buyers.
There used to be a lot of different tools that help people identify the geography, ages, genders and other demographic information of their users. Unfortunately, Quantcast, Compete.com and many similar services are no longer available. Alexa is still a viable tool though. You may need to pay $99 a month for demographic information, but it will be very helpful with your digital marketing campaigns.
Before Advertising on any niche social media site, you should enter its URL in Alexa to see what demographic information you can find.
You can also contact the site for a list of demographic information. They often get this information directly from their users. Others collect it from their Google Analytics data, although the accuracy of Google’s data is less reliable.
Segment Your Lists by Site
Users on every website have different needs and expectations. You don’t want to merge them into a single list for the following reasons:
- You need to be able to test different sites. If the opt-in rates, email open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates are poor, you may need to stop advertising on a particular site.
- You need to be able to modify the angles of each email around the needs of a given site. If you are promoting an e-commerce site that sells tai chi books, then you would want to create a different list for social networks that focus on work-life balance and martial arts. The focus of your email list would be different.
- You want to split-test landing pages for the angles specific to each network.
Segmenting by different types of social networks will make a huge difference in the overall ROI of your campaign. Keep in mind that while promoting on different types of networks that appeal to your target audience can work, your campaigns will stagnate if you can’t distinguish them.
Testing is the path to success of any eCommerce marketing campaign. You will get more valuable testing data if you set up your campaigns to be as successful as possible from the very beginning.
Discuss the Sites Your Users Subscribed from in Your Emails
Building a rapport with your subscribers is essential for any email marketing campaign. One of the easiest ways to do so is by discussing the site that they connected with you through. This will be easy, provided you segmented your lists properly.
Here are some tips to help:
- Discuss recent posts that got attention on the site. This will show your subscribers that you are still a member of the same network as them.
- Remind them about the site they subscribed through. It is a good idea to quickly remind users that they subscribed to your emails after discovering your site through a particular network. Many email marketers mention this to discourage readers from forgetting and accidentally reporting the email as spam. Using the site name in the email helps show that you remember them.
- Discuss your own experiences with the site.
Make sure that any references to the site add actual value and tie in with your email messages in some way. You want to make sure you come across as genuine and knowledgeable. When used properly, references to the niche social networks you connected with your readers on can accomplish this.
Using Niche Social Networks with Email Marketing Can Be a Great Way to Built Lucrative E-commerce Campaigns
Generating conversions with email marketing is much easier if you target highly relevant sites. Fortunately, there are plenty of niche social networks that you can promote on to build your list. If you find niche social media platforms to promote your e-commerce site, you may be surprised by how lucrative they will be.