Small and medium business owners who stepped into online marketing are often confused when they find themselves faced with so many marketing channels: which one is right for me, how should I use it, can I manage to use them all, I just saw this strategy for Twitter but I started building my email list, how the heck am I supposed to juggle them all…?

Soon they realize that there’s much more to online marketing than just registering an account on social media, or putting an opt-in form on a website. And when they manage to create a solid fan / subscribers / follower base, they often aren’t sure how to manage them. Presenting different networks with same content seem redundant because there will always be people who belong to more than one of them, and each network has its own rules… This can be really frustrating. Here’s one way you can make it work for you (and a pretty smart one).

Understanding the main differences

For easier explanation, we’ll use Facebook and Twitter, two most important social networks, on one side, and email marketing on the other.

Facebook and Twitter, as different as they are, still have a few things in common: they are networking sites where everything (as far as you’ll allow it) you do is public; people there connect with you more easily, and are used to having more, let’s put it that way, freedom of speech. And as great as they are for the brand establishment and growth, they aren’t the best sales channels in the world. People on Facebook and Twitter look to be informed and/or entertained, so direct promotions don’t go that well there.

There is one more thing that makes social networks potentially dangerous, Facebook fan pages in particular. Say there is something that someone doesn’t like, he/she will freely express their opinion right under your post. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there: one bad comment often causes an avalanche of bad comments, because other people who see it can decide that they also disagree with you, and they will want to share their opinion too… This kind of thing can easily happen especially when you’re trying to promote an offer directly on Facebook.

The email lists, on the other hand, are just made for promoting offers. Sure, you can’t sell to your list all the time, but people are more used to it in emails. They allow you to create a more personal connection with your subscribers, and their attention span isn’t that short, so once they get used in your emails, you can send them detailed tips or promotions. Besides, an unhappy email subscriber can’t cause as much damage as an unhappy fan can.

You need both kinds of marketing channels, but instead of keeping them separate, you can make them work together and maximize the potential of each.

The perfect symbiosis

You need to develop strategies for both channels according to their nature.

For the email subscribers, apart from offers and promotions, you will need to come up with a way to make it exclusive: special bonuses or tips available only to them. These you should send on regular bases.

On your Facebook fan page and your Twitter account, apart from the regular engagement activities, make announcements of what those on the email list can expect to receive from you the next day. Occasionally you can publish posts that you send to the email list, with a note at the end saying that it was first meant for your subscribers only, but that you’ve decided to share it with your fans / followers too – and add a link to a page where they can subscribe.

These pieces that you will occasionally publish should be really useful; your goal is to make people feel that if they enter your subscribers list, they will receive much more value from you.

When you’re announcing an offer you’ll be making to your subscribers, do it in a spectacular way, but without revealing details – just put the link to the opt-in form.

You see, people will click on “Like” or “Follow” buttons much more easily than they will give away their email; and just like only the small percentage of those who visit your site for the first time will convert into buyers, there’s also not a whole bunch of people who will subscribe to your newsletter right away. By implementing this strategy, you’re using the reach that social sites have provided you with, to make people know you better and to convert more of them into subscribers and, eventually, buyers.

It’s not simple, it requires work, but it pays!

Jeff Gross is an avid and enthusiastic blogger and content manager. Curently, he is charge of running e-mail and social marketing campaigns at Sadrzaj Serija.