The Integrated Email

In 2013, Spider Trainers created the “Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say” as an experiment in repurposing and the effectiveness of using social media for promotion—specifically LinkedIn. This week has been a big week for that effort—two years later—and here’s why.

As I’m certain you already know, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social-networking service used primarily for professional networking. In 2013, they reported more than 259 million users in more than 200 countries and territories—that’s a wide reach and one that, as a marketer, I wanted to harness. For us the question was, “Could LinkedIn—as a professional network—be used for marketing more effectively, or as effectively, as other social networks we already recognized for their marketing value?”

To gain the answer to my question, I set out to create a campaign that might give me the insight I needed. I built a campaign specifically ideal for repurposing—everything from video to email—and though I was focused on LinkedIn for much of the marketing, we did use Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, YouTube and other vehicles as well.

The campaign was sizeable and had many moving parts. Of course we needed to first have enough content to create a book, but then we also had to choose how the book would be created, how to deliver it, and so on. Our approach went something like this:

  1. Collect quotes from marketers
  2. Produce the product
  3. Post the product (what format and where)
  4. Track the engagement
  5. Promote the content
  6. Repurpose the content
  7. Promote the repurposed content
  8. Measure the success

Of course we used email every step of the way, for instance:

  • We reached out to our clients—who are primarily marketers-and asked them for quotes
  • We used auto-responders to confirm submissions
  • We announced the final product posted to SlideShare
  • We announced repurposed versions (such as the video, blog article, PDFs, and case study)
  • We reminded authors of the benefit to them when they shared it in their networks
  • We suggested quoted authors add the book to their products on their LinkedIn profile

Some of our emails were direct and some were created inside LinkedIn, but in no case did email stand alone. There were also times where the emails were personalized—actually containing the author’s quote-and other times they were generalized. Some of the email were sent as HTML, some as plain text. Some contained attachments, some did not. For each email, we used A/B testing and analytics to track engagement and measure success.

So how did we do?

Well, two years later, two things happened this week I did not expect. First, the campaign is very much alive and well and has just reached 3,000 likes and shares within a LinkedIn group—with another 3,000 combined between seven other groups. Second, SlideShareOpens in a new window notified me the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say was among the top 5 percent of the most-viewed content on their site.

Yes, I agree, these numbers are a long way from what any of us marketers would consider viral, but given the amount of aggregated traffic, there’s no doubt using LinkedIn as a promotional vehicle was a resounding success. (The case study of our project is a vailable in our resource centerOpens in a new window, in case you’re interested in a bit more of the specifics.)

So, you’d think that would be the end of the story, but as it turns out, it’s not—we’re still testing and still enjoying the long legs of this campaign. In addition to the continued likes and shares, we’re also conducting a new test on the effectiveness of posting e-books to Amazon and Kindle. If, as I’ve read, this turns out to be yet another successful repurposing opportunity, imagine the audience we can reach by tapping into Amazon’s network and the marketing vehicle of Kindle Direct Publishing. Since the book’s content is timeless—after all it’s simply a collection of good advice—we are uniquely positioned to continue to use the book for marketing for some time to come.

The possibilities may well be endless.

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