The Intersection of Email Marketing and Influencer Marketing

Even though email is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing communication and is a common marketing strategy, (the first email marketing message was sent out 50 years ago![1]) marketers shouldn’t discount its ability to bring in leads and convert them to customers. Email marketing consistently generates the highest ROI compared to other digital marketing channels, with the latest figures showing that email generates $36 for every dollar spent.[2] That makes email one of the most effective forms of content marketing and is still effective against other forms of powerful tools such as Facebook ads.

Businesses are able to direct their promotional messages to a list of subscribers who have willingly opted in to receive their emails and utilize marketing software to assist with campaign engagement, measurement and to drive sales. That’s a significant advantage. But businesses also run up against the obstacle of significant inbox competition. Unless your email is targeted correctly, has a compelling offer, outstanding copy, segmenting users correctly and an engaging message, your email campaign will fall flat and not result in increased sales.

Assuming you’re able to write a captivating subject line that leads the inbox owner to click on your email or series of emails, one of the most effective ways to create engagement and enhance this marketing tool is to leverage the power of social media influencers in your email campaign and further engage subscribers.  This can also improve deliverability rates and clickthrough rates. Research shows that people trust influencers more than brands when making product decisions,[3] so businesses should find ways to work with influencers who are most relatable to their target audience and increase customer loyalty.

Best Practices for Using Influencers in Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Choose Your Influencers Wisely

Bigger is not always better when it comes to influencers. Influencers with lower follower counts see a higher engagement rate than accounts with a million or more followers.[4] That could be because many assume that mega-influencers are getting paid a hefty sum to participate in a brand campaign, which can make a celebrity’s endorsement lack credibility and authenticity and potentially end up in spam filters.

Micro- or nano-influencers are often more relatable to your target customers since they give off the appearance of regular people who use the product or service and help improve brand awareness.

So, choose lower-tier influencers who are viewed more like peers than public figures. You’ll also save money because micro- and nano-influencers are less costly than mega-influencers. Just be sure that whoever you select represents your brand’s values and identity.

Encourage Your Influencers to Be Storytellers

Storytelling is a powerful content marketing tool and is certainly more engaging than simply typing up a list of product benefits which we see often in online marketing and when business owners are just getting started. And storytelling is even more effective when the narrator is a relatable peer. Readers empathize with storytellers’ personal experiences, which may help them form a connection with the brand and be more inclined to make a purchase.

So, allow influencers to tell stories about how they’ve benefitted from your product or service. Your email subscribers—who have already forged a personal connection with the influencer on social media channels—may come away from the email with a more positive feeling about your brand and remember that standout subject line. They may also find it easier to envision how the product or service will fit into their lives. 

One way to build a relationship with your email subscribers is to plan a series of “chapters” that feature the influencer. Make the readers excited for the next installment of the story by teasing what comes next.  This builds campaign engagement and improves customer loyalty.  This is how effective email marketing elevates the methodology as one of the powerful tools available where you are rewarded for paying attention to customers and ensuring a successful campaign.

Use Influencers to Help Grow Your Subscriber List

Why not use your influencers to strengthen one of your most effective digital marketing assets?

Influencers who are participating in an email series can tease their upcoming story directly on their social media pages. They can promise a special offer for those who sign up as a subscriber in addition to setting expectations for exciting news or exclusive content that will be available only on email.

Business owners can incentivize influencers by offering compensation for each person who signs up, which is also an excellent way to measure the results of the effort.

Use Your Influencer Email Campaign to Increase Your Reach on Other Marketing Channels

Sharing email content should absolutely be part of your content marketing strategy, and those share buttons in your email messages will have a better chance of being used if influencers create engaging content and then encourage readers to take action.  Even while using marketing automation tools or marketing software such as Constant Contact or other tools that allow things like ab tests, testing subject lines, conversion rates, and so on – effective email marketing is achieved with a variety of methods where sharing is a key strategy.

Ask influencers to develop content that will appeal to their followers and your current and potential customers. Some examples include how-to or step by step videos, personal recipes, or innovative ways to use your products like a beginners guide. Give your influencers creative freedom to come up with ideas that will resonate with their fans and your subscriber list and engage existing customers – this is also a great way to reactivate inactive subscribers. 

Email Marketing is Even More Effective When Influencers Get Involved

Wouldn’t it be great if your email subscribers actually looked forward to your daily or weekly emails and your unsubscribe rates were consistently low, clickthrough rates are increasing – ensuring returns on investment from this endeavor? Find influencers who appeal to your target base and then collaborate with them to create the kind of content that informs, educates, inspires, and entertains your current and prospective customers to ultimately improve the overall buyer journey.