Responsys, Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTG), a provider of email and cross-channel marketing solutions, has found that retailers are more focused on using their email marketing programs to promote their social communities and less focused on email for social sharing in a its Viral & Community Links in Emails 2011 report.
Email marketing continues to be a key tactic for raising awareness of and driving traffic to retailers’ communities on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Among the top online retailers tracked by the Retail Email Blog, 88% of them include community links in their promotional emails, up from 75% in 2010, approaching near universal adoption.
“This report is a strong endorsement of email’s ability to raise awareness of and drive traffic to brands’ social media pages on an ongoing basis,” said Ed Henrich, Senior Vice President of Professional Services at Responsys. “It’s also further evidence that cross-channel integration is increasingly vital to future marketing success.”
Facebook and Twitter dominate retailers’ community efforts, although YouTube has grown to become a strong third-place contender. Every retailer in the study linked to Facebook from their emails; 84% linked to Twitter; and 29% linked to YouTube.
However, fewer retailers are including share-with-your-network (SWYN) links in their emails, instead relying on their websites to spur social sharing. The percentage of retailers that include a SWYN link in every promotional email dropped to 25% from 26% in 2010 after rising from 12% in 2009.
“Three times as many retailers include share-with-your-network (SWYN) links on their product pages as regularly as they include them in their emails,” said Chad White, Research Director at Responsys and author of the Viral & Community Links in Emails 2011 report. “That’s a strong indication that retailers are sold on the benefits of SWYN, but that placement further down the sales funnel is more effective in general.”
Meanwhile, forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) usage continues its long-term decline, dropping to 41% from 44% in 2010 and 48% in 2009. Overall, 52% of retailers now include some viral mechanism — either SWYN or FTAF — in their emails, down from 56% in 2010.