AlanGlazier's blog

AlanGlazier's blog

SM & Your Eyecare Business: Social eMail: The Importance of Integrating Social Media in Your Email Marketing – Lesson 33

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In 2009, Boston College suspended the distribution of email addresses to incoming freshmen in favor of using social media. When I first heard this, it made me realize that social media was a potential threat to email communication and it didn’t take too much to imagine the demise of email in favor of social media web wide. As it turns out - email isn’t going anywhere - but instead we are starting to see a chimera arise, a social email that enables better engagement with customers and the sharing of email content by customers to potential new customers.

This year will be remembered as the year medical businesses integrated social media into their marketing strategy. The combination of email and social media is a powerful one, and there are at least two businesses making inroads into eyecare with tools that make your email communications more social – Demandforce (see The Conversation – Lesson 28) and Smile Reminder, both of which entered the eyecare industry after success in other medical verticals.

What does a “social email” look like? It is like a typical email with links to your social efforts; envision opening an email and finding icons that enable you to connect with the sender through their various social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. “Like” buttons will also be included, as will links that encourage the reader to write a review on a popular social review site like Yahoo Local, Google Places or Yelp. Social emails will contain incentives to share information about the sender with their friends inside and outside the social space.

What does this new technology bring to your business in terms of returns? You will be able to measure responses to your emails and the social links they contain as well as elicit feedback from your clients for business improvement and benchmarking purposes. This provides small businesses a “Social ROI” – a return on your investment in adding social technologies to your email, making it worthwhile to implement. Your consumers will appreciate the ease with which they can make suggestions that may make a difference in their experience at your business.

A study, “Social Media’s Influence on E-Mail Marketing According to U.S. E-Mail Marketers” was conducted in August 2009:
• 81% of respondents agreed that social email “extended the reach of email content to new markets.”
• 78% believed that social email “increases brand reputation and awareness.”
• 53% believed social email “increases the ROI of email programs in general.”
• 47% believed it “accelerates the growth of e-mail lists” and
• 31% believed it “generates more qualified leads.”

No matter what one believes, the face of email is changing. Consider how your emails appear to your customers and patients compared to the colorful, interesting email with surveys and review opportunities they get from their dentist and ask yourself if it’s time for your email marketing to evolve too?

- Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO
Founder/CEO
Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care
Rockville, MD

Twitter Handle: @EyeInfo
Blog: eyeinfo.wordpress.com
Website: YourEyeSite.com

Comments

AlanGlazier's pictureOptometristAlanGlazierJoined: Mar, 2010
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 77

Sorry for the delay in responding but was out of the country for the last two weeks and at the AAO.

I talk about two of the ways one can use social media to increase business, one of them being the 'Grass roots" method, where one spends a lot of time connecting and interacting with people. While this generates some business, for most it is not worth the time and effort if your goal is to drive new business in. "Searchial" is a term I coined to define the other type of social media, where you post content on various social suites that contains keywords and key phrases that people searching for you in your geographical vicinity are most likely to use, including city name and occasionally zip code, so they easily and quite by accident "find" the conversation you are having online and chime in - less time chasing people and interacting with everyone to find a few - you interact with people who are in your area who are interested in the conversation you are having.

Acting social online involves talking "with" people, not "at" them, and can be a great way to build your businesses reputation, so I am not discounting the grass-roots method by any means, just suggesting you define your goals, and then set out to participate in the way best suited to reach your goals. Get ready for my book "Searchial Marketing" coming out soon, which teaches the various methods so the layman can practice them, or use the information to keep tabs on web developers and so called "search engine gurus or experts" to make sure you can maximize your investment if you choose to hire a professional.

WRG_LDO's pictureOpticianWRG_LDOJoined: Apr, 2010
Location: Sedro Woolley, WA
Posts: 53

Alan, I'm reading a lot about the importance of "engaging" SMM patients in "the Conversation". Do you have some tips about things that have worked well for you to get responses from your practices SMM followers?

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