Most people view email marketing and social advertising as two separate entities, and I’ll be honest, I used to think that as well. However, I’ve discovered that combining multiple different avenues for a coherent marketing campaign yields some pretty impressive results.
We’ve tried this tactic before at Directive Consulting, combining SEO and PPC; but in this blog post, I’m going to break down a few ways to combine email and social advertising for multi-channel success.
More specifically, you’ll learn:
- How to create custom and lookalike audiences on Facebook from an email list
- Best practices for launching email and social campaigns simultaneously
- How we used this tactic to increase overall sessions and revenue
- Some additional strategies to take your ecommerce campaigns to the next level
Using email lists to create Custom Audiences on Facebook
Most (if not all) ecommerce stores require an email address when completing a purchase, and many times you can see what item the person bought. Keeping an organized and segmented email list is the first step to social advertising success. If you’re an online clothing store that specializes in creative t-shirts for men and women, create individual lists segmenting categories (e.g., sports, funny, and cute) and gender. If you’re using a CRM such as Hubspot, Mailchimp, or Salesforce, you can export these contact lists as .CSV files and then upload those to Facebook under the “Audiences” section using Ads Manager.
When logging onto your Ads Manager or Business Manager account, go to your ad account and select the drop-down hamburger menu in the top left-hand corner.
If “Audiences” doesn’t appear in the “Frequently Used” section, hit “All tools” and you’ll find it under the “Assets” section.
After clicking on “create custom audience,” you’ll need to select the “customer file” section and then “choose a file or copy” and you’ll be prompted to upload your .CSV file into Facebook.
Facebook will then match up the emails with actual Facebook users (you can expect anywhere from a 20% – 70% match rate), but with ecommerce those numbers tend to be on the higher side.
Using email lists to create Facebook Audiences
Another great feature of Facebook ads is the ability to create lookalike audiences from previously uploaded email lists. Facebook will match up the corresponding profiles of your email lists with a broader group of people who have similar profiles based on interests, demographics, and behaviors. As long as your email list consists of more than 100 people, Facebook will be able to create a lookalike audience. Obviously, though, the more people you have in the original email list, the more similar the lookalike audience will be (because Facebook will have more data to pull from.)
When you create your lookalike audience, you select a country and choose anywhere from 1% – 10% of a country’s population.
But you don’t have to stop there. Once you have a lookalike audience (we usually use the 10% option so we capture the most people), you can layer additional targeting on top of the lookalike. For the clothing store example, you could take the audience of 20 million and add additional behavior targeting of men’s fashion buyers and online buyers. Now that’s a specific audience!
Launching simultaneous campaigns for maximum reach
Now how can you tie together email marketing and social advertising for optimal reach?
Anytime an ecommerce shop launches a promotion or sale, they send out an email blast.
I usually check my email in the morning, see the promotion, and then promptly forget about it five minutes later. It’s common knowledge that every opportunity needs multiple touches before they end up converting to a sale, but sending three emails a day promoting a sale is a good way to lose a lot of subscribers.
The solution? Launch a social promotion targeted at your specific email list. Then ramp up the budget to ensure that every person sees your ad at least once during the campaign. A good way to do this is by looking at the estimated reach when creating an ad campaign and making sure your budget is high enough that the estimated reach per day matches up with the amount of people on your email list.
We used this tactic with a client of ours who sells collectable banknotes from countries all around the world.
Their most popular is the Zimbabwean $100 trillion dollar banknote, so they ran a promotion for 10% off. We didn’t segment the audiences like I mentioned earlier, because they were only promoting one country’s banknote, but we did create two different ad images as well as a carousel ad so we could target everyone in the list with multiple products for the same price.
While you may think this is an obnoxious ad and the red circle and arrow is overkill, this ad actually performed the best out of all of them, generating over 180 clicks in three days with a CTR of 8.7%. Little touches like this really draw in your audience’s attention and can lead to much higher engagement.
Carousel ads are great for ecommerce shops because they can show off multiple products without increasing the price of your campaigns. We recently switched over to carousel ads for a client of ours who builds custom fences and had 3,000% more sessions on the site from the carousel ads.
We launched these ads for a three-day period while the sale was running and combed it with an email blast that went out at the beginning of the sale. These are the results we saw when comparing the week of the promotion to the previous week:
We saw our sessions go up, as well as the pages per session and average session duration. We didn’t have a single transaction from Facebook the previous week, but had four during the sale, generating enough revenue to easily cover the cost of that campaign.
Another interesting thing we saw was that the email didn’t directly lead to any sales. I’m not saying it had no effect on the sales that week, but only launching an email campaign wouldn’t have had the same impact as combining these two platforms and working together to create additional touches throughout the sale period.
1. Use lookalike audiences
For the above example, we only targeted our custom audience of email subscribers (the sale was a special promo just for those customers). But taking it even further, creating a broader audience from the lookalike audience would have been a great audience to target, as well.
What better way to introduce your brand and product to a potential customer than immediately offering a sale? You can also further target these audiences to get extremely specific. For our banknote client, our targeted lookalike audience looks something like this:
2. Create a new segmented list for sale buyers
If you’re launching a promotion for a sale using this tactic, segment each new email address you receive into its own list titled “sale buyers.” There’s a chance these people have been wanting to buy your product all along and finally waited until a sale came along to do it, but more likely, these people are impulse shoppers who made a purchase because of the exclusivity of the deal you’re promoting. This now gives you a list of customers that you know make purchases during sales, and you can test out other promotional deals later on. If you don’t offer free shipping regularly, have a two-day period when you do, and target these specific people.
3. Use Twitter as another platform to target your audience
Twitter is another social platform that gives you the ability to upload a .CSV of email addresses, and matches up twitter profiles with those corresponding emails.
In the Twitter Ads platform, go to “Tools” and then “Audience manager.”
Head over to “Create new audience” and upload your own .CSV, just like you did for Facebook. (A word of warning: You do need 500 or more matches for Twitter to allow you to use the audience for promotions.)
For ecommerce, most people will use their personal email for Twitter as well as buying a product, so this shouldn’t be an issue with a big enough email list.
Now it’s your turn
Now you’re prepared to launch a robust and successful email and social advertising campaign.
Remember, it’s important to ensure your budget aligns with the amount of people you’re trying to reach, and to use eye-popping images to catch your audience’s attention. Let me know in the comments if these tactics worked for you, or if you have any additional strategies for email and social success!