Want to get more out of your Facebook marketing? How about using it to create better emails? You can – and it’s really easy. Here are six tricks to make your Facebook marketing do double duty as an email improvement project.
1. Use ads or posts to test email subject lines.
Email marketers test subject lines more than anything else. Know why? Because the subject line can make or break an email campaign. It probably has more effect on your final results than any other element.
The traditional way to address this is to either craft a killer subject line on your own (or maybe with the help of tools like Subject Line Gold, or to split-test. Split-tests are great, but you’ll need at least 2,000 email subscribers to get results you can trust. And even with that approach, you’ll have sent the losing subject line to half your list…
There is a workaround. Facebook posts tend to perform best when the copy is short – really short. Like 50 characters or less. That’s very close to the typical length of an email subject line. So how about using your Facebook posts to test email subject lines? It’s not a perfect test, but it’s actually your best shot if you’ve got a small list.
Caption: Use Facebook posts with short copy as a way to test email subject lines.
Here’s a couple of pointers for this technique:
- Test only 2-3 subject lines/posts.
- Don’t get sloppy with the subject lines you test – put as much thought into each version as you would if you had only one shot.
- Test subject lines that are really different. This isn’t a perfect enough test to be able to tell if just one different word matters.
- Publish your test posts at about the same time each day. This makes the audiences seeing the posts more similar, which means you get results that are a bit more trustworthy.
Again – this is not a perfect test. It might make a statistics geek itch. But if your list is small, tests like this are far better than nothing.
2. Use the last week’s Facebook posts to test which piece of content to lead this week’s email with.
How often do you publish a post on Facebook? Once a day? Twice? More? If you publish even once a day, that means there’s been seven different pieces of content put in front of your audience in the last week.
What if you took whichever post performed best, and used that as the lead article in your email update for that week? It’s a proven winner for your Facebook audience. While the two groups aren’t identical, the odds are high that what your Facebook audience liked, your email subscribers will like too.
3. Use comments, engagement and follower contributions as content for your emails.
Your email messages don’t have to be exclusively created by you. What if you could include contributions from your Facebook audience, too?
Caption: The pet supplies retailer Chewy gets great feedback (and cute pictures) from its audience by asking for pictures of pets. These could be re-used in their email messages – so long as they have the contributors’ permission.
This can take the form of almost any interaction. Questions asked, comments posted, photos people shared with you are all possible material. Or you could include the results of polls and quizzes you posted on your page.
If you’ve got a large enough audience, it might even be possible to have a “best question of the week” section in your email updates. Just be sure to protect peoples’ privacy (usually by referring to only their first name and the first initial of their last name). Also try to ask for their permission first before you use a photo they shared. Most people have no problem with this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
According to BuzzSumo, the type of Facebook post with the highest engagement is a combination question/photo post. This is our good luck: The answers to question posts are great for email content.
4. Use content from related pages on Facebook as curated content in your emails.
Content curation is getting a lot of attention from content marketers right now. So what is it? Curation is when you use someone else’s content – aka “third party” content. If you’ve ever shared someone else’s article or video in a social media feed, that’s curation.
Caption: ActionRocket curates a nice newsletter about all things email. It’d be even better if they added some commentary about each article.
Surprisingly, well-curated content can perform just as well as “in house” created content in terms of leads or even traffic. And you can have up to 30% of the content you publish be curated.
Just follow a few basic rules:
- Include a link back to the original site
- Mention where the content is from
- Add a sentence or two about why you liked the content piece
Don’t skip that last part. Your commentary adds a personal touch and context. The more commentary and insight you can share, the more valuable this technique becomes.
How to find good posts to curate
This is really easy. Have you noticed any posts that have done particularly well on other Facebook pages – pages that aren’t your direct competitors? I’m talking about influencers in your niche, industry associations, and maybe complimentary services or businesses. Watch what they post and how it performs. It’s fair game again to use the best-performing posts as curated content in your email newsletter – if you give them credit.
Caption: This Facebook question-style post was curated from the Litmus blog.
5. Monitor posts on competitors’ and related Facebook pages for content ideas.
You can use top posts for curation, or for content ideas. Here we’re talking about using them as content ideas. This also means you can track your competitor’s pages, or any page that’s in your niche. Notice which posts do really well. Could the topics of those posts fit with your editorial content? If they would, add them to your list of content ideas. Or maybe put them right into your editorial calendar.
Word to the wise: While you can “steal” content ideas from competitors, please don’t take it too far. Add a different spin to any content ideas you use. Don’t make the headline mirror the original piece of content. It’s fine to snitch content ideas, but it’s not okay to do it so closely that you’re at risk of copyright infringement.
Caption: Many Facebook analytics tools (like Fanpage Karma, shown here) can tell you which posts have performed best for a given Facebook page.
6. Use Facebook custom audiences to tease your email subscribers about upcoming email announcements.
This works best if you really want some extra bang for an upcoming email. Maybe you’re launching a product or have a cool new feature. But you don’t always need blockbuster news to use this. Even some juicy exclusive information for your subscribers can be enough to make this tactic work – it’s just got to be only available in your email message.
Here’s an example of how it might work. We know that most people follow brands on Facebook to get coupons or discounts:
So a simple ad that says “Check your inbox on Thursday for a valuable coupon from us” will attract extra attention to that email. Add a twist of exclusivity by reminding your Facebook audience that they’re only getting this because they’re email subscribers – it’s not available to anyone else.
Interesting test: Try split-testing that ad against a message that gives them a link to share with a friend, so the friend can get the personalized coupon, too – after they’d signed up for your email list. You might pick up a few subscribers.
Your Facebook work can support – and help improve – your email marketing. This is easier when the same people are managing both channels. It’ll save extra work, and can probably get you better results, too. Besides, there’s no reason to silo these two channels. They complement each other perfectly.
What do you think?
Do you coordinate the content and marketing strategy of your emails and your Facebook page? Can you think of any ways to improve emails with Facebook that I haven’t mentioned here? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.