Pinterest and Twitter Love Email Marketing

Email is dead.

It used to bother me when I heard someone utter that phrase or when I read a blog post proclaiming that email marketing is dead. No longer. Now I use it as a conversation starter, as an opportunity to educate folks that not only is email not dead, it’s alive and thriving.

There are a ton of studies out there proving that email marketing is far from dead. One of my favorites is from my friends at ExactTarget (read more & download the study). In fact, Jason Falls and I discuss this fallacy (and then dispel it) in the Introduction of The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing.

In case you needed a bit more proof that email is not dead, check out what two of the most popular social media sites, Pinterest and Twitter, announced recently. On May 14th, Twitter shared that they would begin rolling out an email digest – The best of Twitter in your inbox. A few days ago, Mashable wrote about Pinterest’s plan to send a “curated newsletter” to users.

As it turns out, Pinterest and Twitter love email marketing.

Wait. I thought email marketing was dead? Social media is going to replace it, right? Nope. In fact, nearly all social networking sites send out some type of email marketing message to it’s subscribers. Some of them are updates (like Facebook). Others are more detailed (like LinkedIn). Now, both Twitter and Pinterest are sending curated content to users via email marketing.

This also plays into my belief that email marketing and social media go together like Batman and Robin.

The New Twitter Email Digest

Let’s say you wanted to opt-in to the new Twitter email digest. How would you go about it? Here’s what the folks from Twitter said about opting in to this new email:

We’re rolling out this new email out to everyone over the next few weeks, so keep checking your inbox for new messages from Twitter. Like other Twitter email notifications, you can manage your preferences for this new digest in your Notification Settings.

So, again, how do you opt-in? Twitter is leveraging what my friend Janet Roberts calls a “soft” opt-out approach (another “rule breaker” we address in The Rebel’s Guide). They are rolling it out to everyone. The only way to turn it off (opt-out) is to “manage your preferences” in your Notification Settings. Here is what that looks like – notice the pre-checked box in front of all email options.

The bottom checkbox – “A weekly digest of Stories & Tweets from my network” is the new one Twitter just added. So, again, if you do NOT want to receive these new weekly digest emails from Twitter, you must go into your Notification Settings and uncheck the box.

I just started receiving these email digests from Twitter and I have to say, I kinda like them. Below is a screenshot of the top half of one of these emails from this week. Note: This example is from my 2-year old’s Twitter account. Don’t ask.

Here is what Twitter had to say about the content of these digest emails:

This new email digest also features the most engaging Tweets seen by the people you follow, even if you don’t follow those who wrote them. You can see who from your network retweeted or favorited these Tweets and click “View details” to retweet, favorite, reply or view the conversation around them.

As you can see from the screenshot above, Twitter does a very nice job of fulfilling on that promise. I really love that they show me stories of what the folks I follow are saying. The emails also show other people I follow who have shared this particular article or blog post – good “social proof.”

What happens when you click?

  • Clicking on the headline takes the reader directly to the article.
  • Clicking on the avatar brings people to the actual tweet about the article.
  • Clicking on “tweet this story” auto-populates a tweet (assuming you’re logged in) with the article headline and its associated URL.

Pretty neat, huh?

However, the bigger story here, and what I really love, is that this Twitter digest is making email more social. The inbox is becoming (slightly) more interactive – a trend I see playing out more and more as email and social begin to integrate more.

I’m very curious to see what impact these types of emails will have on social sharing. Twitter is, for all intents and purposes, using email marketing to power the social media channel. They are curating content from Twitter, dropping it into an email digest, which then redirects clickers back to … Twitter. For those folks whose articles get somehow magically selected (I’m not entirely sure how Twitter decides the content), there is an opportunity for more eyeballs on their articles.  Again, pretty neat.

The New Pinterest Curated Newsletter

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to share here (yet) as this service is quite new. I have yet to receive an email from Pinterest. Then again, maybe that’s because I have Pinterest email updates turned off. I posed this question on Twitter yesterday:

Andrew Burch replied saying that he just created his account and the email digest was sent automatically. If that’s the case, it appears that Pinterest, like Twitter, is turning this feature on by default. Andrew was kind enough to capture a screenshot of how the Pinterest email appears on his iPhone (see picture here - Celebrity Breastfeeding Mamas? Ha!).

What Do You Think?

As an email marketing guy, I just love (LOVE) it when social networking sites understand the power of email marketing. Clearly Pinterest and Twitter see the value, but what about you? How are you integrating email marketing and social media?

Also, I’d love to get your thoughts on email marketing becoming more social. Is this something you see happening more and more? Is this the next trend in email marketing?

Please share in the comments below. As always, I’d love to hear and learn from you.

DJ Waldow


As mentioned above, Jason Falls and I just wrote a new book about breaking the rules of email marketing! In the book, we talk about the fact that email marketing is not dead. We also dedicate an entire section to “the power of pairs” – using email marketing and social media together. In The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win, we share with you all sorts of email marketing “best practices” individuals and companies are breaking each and every day … and still finding success.


How to Handle Negative Feedback

You SuckI don’t care what business you are in, or how good your product or service is, you are bound to receive negative feedback at some point. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. Impossible.

Add social media to the equation and you are really opening yourself up to feedback – both positive and negative. Remember: Many people use social media to either say something amazing about you (your product, your service, your company) or they use it to complain. I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts, Tweets, and blog posts I’ve seen directed specifically at a company, often venting about something the person did not like, how they were wronged, etc.

If you decide to make the jump and participate in social media, you have to expect that you’ll receive negative feedback at some point. You know it’s inevitable. But are you prepared? How do you handle it? How do you respond? What channel(s) do you use to communicate?

The Story: Zappos Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

On Sunday, I was joined by 44,000 other runners on the strip for the Zappos Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. It was an incredible event. Imagine: 44 thousand people running down the streets of Las Vegas – at night – with local bands playing every mile or so. One of the guys from Pearl Jam did the national anthem … as a guitar solo. It was wild.

When I got home Monday night, I was still on a bit of a runner’s high. Sore, but feeling good mentally. I decided to pop over to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Facebook page. This is what I saw (Note: If you want to see all comments, you may have to “like” their page first):
Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1_2 Marathon Facebook Post
As you can see, the folks running this page took the lead by posting a congratulations to all runners. They acknowledged that there were some issues and then asked for feedback. They asked. People replied. In fact, as I write this, this post was liked 365 times, shared 18, and there were nearly 400 comments. The first comment, “I’m in next year” was one of the few positive ones. The far majority read something like the second one, from Charlene:

APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE!!!!! What a callus and inappropriate comment to those who paid you money to ensure our safety. I hope your next year’s FAILS. Go ahead, delete my comment, too.

Yikes, right?

How They Responded

Here is what was interesting. They chose not to respond on that thread. Unless I missed it, they never once directly (publicly) acknowledged any of the runner feedback – not the positive feedback, not the negative feedback. My guess is they were a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume. However, this is not an excuse. If you are going to ask for feedback, be prepared to reply. Did they have to acknowledge every single comment? Maybe not, but at least a few of them. Personally, I would have taken the time to reply to all.

Instead, they chose another route.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, they added the following 4 updates on their Facebook page:
Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1_2 Marathon Facebook Post (2)

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1_2 Marathon Facebook Post (3)

A few things to note here:

  1. These posts generated a ton more likes, shares, and comments. Still, no replies from the Marathon folks.
  2. Runners continued to complain, though it seemed as though the balance of negative to positive comments was shifting to the positive – slightly.
  3. Runners used this as an opportunity to drop in links to other, non-Facebook, commentary about the race – like this one.

Their Response in Other Channels

While I cannot comment on all channels that they used to reply, I can tell you that I received a few follow-up emails from the folks at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. The first was this email (below):
Rock & Roll Marathon Email - Participant Feedback Wanted
The subject line read, “Participant Feedback Wanted” and included a short explanation of some of the issues they identified as well as a link to the survey. They also added a $10 incentive to complete the survey. To their credit, they were certainly trying. Again, asking for feedback – in many ways – shows that they care and want to improve.

The day after, I received this email:
Congrats Rock 'n' Rollers! Email
The subject line read “Congrats Rock ‘n’ Rollers!” and lead with an apology note from the CEO of Competitor Group. That same apology letter appears on their Facebook page as a tab. See below:
Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1_2 Marathon Apology on Facebook page

A Recap & Some Suggestions

If you’ve made it this far, my guess is that you have an opinion on how this was all handled. I do too. Overall, I think they did a nice job being proactive. They…

  1. Posted to Facebook soliciting feedback
  2. Sent an email that included a link to a survey
  3. Sent another email with an apology from the CEO
  4. Added a tab to their Facebook page with that same apology
  5. Posted a few more times to their Facebook page with explanations, apologies, acknowledgements

However, I still feel strongly that if they are going to open up the door for feedback on their Facebook page, they need to reply to the comments – both the positive and negative ones. As you can see from that page, they have over 25,000 likes. My bet is that over 90% of those who liked this page are those who ran in the race. If you are going to start a conversation on Facebook, continue it there. That’s not to say that you can’t communicate via other channels. I loved that they sent an email asking for feedback as not everyone would have seen the posts on Facebook. Just because they have 25k likes does not mean that everyone is reading their updates. Email, on the other hand, will at least land in everyone’s inbox. Sure, they can delete it, but they are more likely to at least see it.

One suggestion – that would take time, effort and money – but could have a huge impact: Pull a list of all runners who left comments on their Facebook wall. Match them to their email address and/or postal address and send them a personal note. Apologize. Ask for feedback. Acknowledge that they messed up. Suggest ways they will improve for next time. Create another forum (maybe even a closed Facebook Group) where the most vocal can continue the conversation. Actively participate in that discussion. Use this an an opportunity to turn the haters into fans. It’s possible, but it takes work.

I’m curious what you all think. What did you like about how this was handled? What would you have done differently? Has this ever happened at your company? If so, how did you respond?

DJ Waldow

Social Media Experiment: How To Find a Job

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at BlogWorld & New Media Expo: Los Angeles*.

My talk was titled, “Social Media Experiment: How to Find a New Job” and was based on my experience of my 30-day job search that resulted in the founding of Waldow Social (read Waldow Social: My Successful Social Media Experiment for more details).

Below is a copy of the slides that I presented on November 5th:

Social Media Experiment: How to Find a New Job – BlogWorld 5NOV11 (Waldow Social)

Having trouble seeing the presentation above? Try going directly to Slideshare.

While I always love sharing my presentations publicly, I still feel that nothing is better than seeing them live. Slides can only convey so much – especially the way I put mine together (big images/pictures, few words). However, as you’ll note with this presentation, there are certainly a few overarching themes and takeaways.

Themes & Takeaways

  1. Finding a job using social media does not happen in 30 days. It takes years. (See slides 19 & 20)
  2. It’s all about social capital, trust, friendships, & relationships. (Slides 21-37)
  3. Ask yourself: What are you known for? What do you want to be known for? What are you good at? What do you love? (Slide 40)
  4. Be helpful. Be kind. Be positive. (Slide 41)
  5. It takes time, work, and involves online and offline. (Slide 42)

I really hope that you enjoy viewing this presentation as much as I enjoyed giving it. There is not much more satisfying in my personal & professional life then standing in front of a captive audience sharing stories. If you are interested in learning a bit more about how Waldow Social may be able to help you, fill out our Contact Form.

*Disclaimer: BlogWorld is a Waldow Social client.

DJ Waldow

Why Should I Like Your Facebook Page?

Why should I like your Facebook page? Really. It’s a serious question. What’s in it for me?

I realize it’s a simple click and BOOM, I like you. In some cases, I have to do a bit more work and type in a URL or do a search (that’s another blog post). Either way, the act of liking a company on Facebook falls on the “easy” end of the spectrum.

As I was sucking down my 2nd cup of coffee at my local Starbucks the other day, I saw this flyer:
Foothill Village Facebook Flyer

Before I break down this flyer, please note that Foothill Village is the shopping/business center near my house. Starbucks is one of the businesses within Foothill Village.

Why This Flyer Worked (for me)

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I love this flyer. Why? I’m glad you asked. 4 reasons:

1. It includes a nice picture depicting community. Similar to a blog post, something visual is important. It caught my eye. I immediately smiled and thought about my family, about community. I’m guessing that’s the emotion they were going for.

2. It has a clear call to action – “Join the Foothill Village Facebook Community Today!” Too often I see a crazy-long call to action – one that’s unclear and confusing. This one is simple and straightforward. I know exactly what they want me to do.

3. It tells me, briefly, what’s in it for me, “Free Gifts & Discounts.” As mentioned above, this is a big one. I need a reason to take that extra step. Just like we preach in email marketing, set some expectations. Sure, they could have expanded on the types of gifts and discounts they would provide, but this was enough (for me) to like them.

4. It includes the full URL to their Facebook page. We often assume that by dropping the Facebook icon on marketing collateral (snail mail, flyers, television ads, email marketing campaigns, etc) people know instinctively what to do. Don’t make that assumption! Don’t make me work for it. Keep it simple. Spell it out.

Some More Thoughts

Once nice addition to this flyer could have been a QR code*. From a design standpoint, they could have moved over the call to action copy and dropped in a QR code. Ideally, this QR code would have linked to a nice mobile version of their Facebook page. Staying consistent with the theme of the flyer, potential “likes” would have another option (a relatively easy one) to like their Facebook page.

*Personally, I’m a fan of 44doors (disclaimer, I use them and their CMO – Tim Hayden – is a good friend of mine). In fact, the entire back of my new business cards will be a 44Doors QR code!

Don’t forget offline! Remember that while many of us (myself included) spend an inordinate amount of time online, much of the world still lives offline. I patronize my local Starbucks 3-5 times per week. If that ad was somewhere online, I would have likely missed it.

Be sure that your ad fulfills your promise. I told you earlier that I loved the “What’s In It For Me?” call to action. However, when I did go to their Facebook page, this is what I saw.

Foothill Village Facebook Page

Notice what’s missing? WHERE ARE MY FREE GIFTS & DISCOUNTS!?! To be fair to Foothill Village, this page is clearly new (40 likes). In fact, by the looks of it, they may have launched it this week! One suggestion could be to like-gate that page. The image could even be the same as the flyer. Simple, right? Even better, once people like the page, they could provide a coupon/discount for one of the businesses in Foothill Village (I vote for Starbucks!).

Kudos to the folks at Foothill Village for launching their Facebook page. I love that they chose to use a flyer – one with a clear, direct, simple “what’s in it for me?” call to action – to spread the word. I already love the mix of content they are posting – pictures, links, questions, etc. Well done! I’m anxious to see how this page grows over time. I’m looking forward to those free gifts & discounts.

DJ Waldow