Integrated Marketing Association

Targeting social media contacts with email campaigns

Twitter screen shot

Three years ago I was marketing a B2B event called Demandcon in San Francisco and registrations were down for what I had expected at that time. So I decided to test an email campaign against three different segments in our database.

  • The first email went to approximately 10,000 opt-in records.
  • The second outbound email went to approximately 70,000 contacts in our database that had marketing in their title.
  • The third campaign I wanted to target people in California who talked about marketing on twitter. I had a hunch that people who talked/tweeted about marketing topics were more passionate about the topic and more likely to attend an event like Demandcon. To do this I first had to find a tool that could identify those individuals and somehow get their email address so I could send them an invitation to our event.

Now a lot of you might cringe at the thought of sending an unsolicited email and I get that, however, over the years I noticed that marketers didn’t mind it if I sent them an outbound email that was relevant to their job as long as I watched my frequency. In short, relevancy and frequency trumped permission.

That’s when I stumbled onto followerwonk, a moz product that would identify people who talked/tweeted about #marketing related topics on twitter. You can also target their location which was ideal for my San Francisco event at the time. For those of you not familiar with followerwonk, their application allows you to search twitter bios, compare users, analyze followers, track followers, and sort followers. The cool thing about followerwonk is that you can export all of the twitter handles of those contacts in a CSV file.

The Followerwonk search for people in the bay area tweeting about #marketing uncovered slightly over 18,000 contacts. I downloaded these twitter handles and then uploaded them into another application I was testing at the time called Next Principles. Next Principles would allow you to send automated @mentions to each person with an image and unique URL so you could track who clicked on your link.

Here is an example of a tweet wit an @mention.

@mention tweet

The application would also allow me to personalize the message (if I had room).

So what happens when someone @mentions you on twitter? Depending on how you have your settings configured, most people would get an email saying XYZ mentioned them.

The results blew me away. I had a 248% increase in click through rates with these @mention tweets than I received with my email campaigns to our opt-in list!  Sadly, Next Principles went out of business.

Not to mention automated @mentions goes against twitters user policy but there really isn’t anything they can do other than shut your account down. Since its free to create a twitter account, you could just set up another account for these campaigns. Again not the best idea but certainly possible if you are in a bind.

Shelly Kramer wrote a nice post the other day on content marketing tools every marketer should know about which featured a new tool called  This application allows you to upload a CSV file of names, websites or Twitter handles downloaded from tools like Followerwonk, BuzzSumo or Twitter lists and it will find the email address, twitter handles, and any related contact forms

I’m going to test this solution on our next event in Tampa this October 12-13th. I suspect I’m going to get the same results I did three years ago. People who are tweeting about topics related to marketing are more likely to respond to our marketing messages. You might want to consider the same strategy when marketing your products or services.



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