Social Media’s Best Kept Secret

3 Social Media Experts Tell The Secret to Their Success

Social media's secret to success? Email marketingWhat marketer doesn’t want to have the key to social media success? Think about how much more efficient your social media and related marketing activities would be.

What would you be willing to invest in your business to get this information, especially if it would provide a trackable way to assess your social media progress?

Social media’s best kept secret isn’t sexy, rather it sounds like something out of an old direct marketing textbook written by one of the original Mad Men. Simple and to the point, the secret is: Build your house file. Contrary to reports of its demise, email is alive and kicking!

The reason is obvious: social media runs on email. You need a way to be able to contact visitors and potential prospects without waiting for them to return to your website – if they ever do. Further, without your own email list, you’re stuck praying your social media execution will make a sufficient impression at the right time to entice shoppers back to your site.

Don’t take my word for it! Here’s what three, top social media experts have to say about why email marketing is the key to effective social media marketing.

For Michael A. Stelzner, founder and author of, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (Affiliate link), the holy grail of blogging [and social media] is getting email subscribers. The most important metric is email subscriber growth. adds roughly 500 new email subscribers per day. To put this in perspective, this is more email addresses than many bloggers have in total. has permission to email these people. That’s 153,000 people who receive emailings six days a week! These emailings have a 25% average daily open rate. (Here’s our full interview with Stelzner.)

Blogger Syed Balkhi knows a thing or two about blogging having started both in 2009 and in 2011. What’s Balkhi’s top blogging advice for beginners? “Start with a newsletter since whatever platform you’re on will go away.” Balkhi recommends starting with a newsletter, either daily or weekly, to keep people engaged and offers these 5 tips:

  1. Plan your content schedule in advance (aka develop and follow an editorial calendar.)
  2. Create tailored landing pages to encourage people to register for your email list.
  3. Make sure you answer what’s in it for registrants. Give respondents something in exchange for their personal information whether it’s an e-book or discount.
  4. Redirect people who comment to a specific landing page. After the initial comment, redirect people who comment to a “thank you” landing page where you can capture their email address. Explain to people that they’re here because it’s their first time commenting.
  5. Separate partially completed forms from complete forms on your website. This allows you to target your communications and expands your house file.

In the words of Chris Garrett, founder of Authority Blogger, “We’re cattle drivers.” You must drive traffic, and engage is a fancy word for talking to people. One of the biggest social media mistakes is to put all your eggs in one basket by building your business on someone else’s platform including social media networks. For blogging in particular, develop your email list to supplement search since Google continually changes the rules and you can get blacklisted. While you’re at it, reward people for joining your list and make sure you’ve got an up-to-date backup since accidents happen. To acquire visitors’ email addresses, remove distractions so that all they can do is register for your email list. Don’t just jump to buy, buy, buy.

BTW, email is overwhelmingly the tool marketers use to support and enhance their social media efforts according to Social Media Examiner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. (Here’s the data as well as 10 tips to improve your email effectiveness with regard to social media.)

While email isn’t as sexy as social media, it’s the key to social media success! Email is an owned media platform that enables marketers to contact prospects. It provides a means for on-going conversation, content delivery and sales promotion even if readers don’t return to your social media site. Your email file enables you to continue marketing even if you social media platform disappears or search algorithms change.

Are you building your housefile? If so, what’s your favorite tip for enticing new subscribers?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Hat tip to Mike Stelzner for his interview and to  Syed Balkhi and Chris Garrett for their presentations at BlogWorld Expo New York.

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