Lyris Connections Blog

Customers as your Friends

Aug 10, 2012 by

Don’t you wish your customers interacted with your emails the way your friends do on your personal Facebook page (liking, commenting, clicking on your links, and being really engaged)? There are many built-in Facebook functionalities and user practices that encourage engagement – practices that can be applied to your email marketing exchanges.

I acknowledge there are system differences between emails and social sites, but consider the parallels:



Customer list

The Network

Audience segments

Customized distribution lists

Subject line


Email body / content

Links to content


Likes / comments

Email content creation

Add links, videos, images, content to status



One-to-one message

Send personal message




I am offering a simple perspective on how to leverage engagement in social sites with email marketing:

  • Gain a high-level understanding of your target audience just as you generally know your network of friends.
  • Build specific segments within your list just as you would build customized feed lists on Facebook (i.e. college friends, work friends, family).
  • Write catchy subject lines just as you do on your Facebook status. Create them specifically for your audience segments (like you do to your FB lists – i.e. Hey college reunion in 10 days!).
  • Entice your customers to open your email with a call-to-action. Write your subject line with a call-to-action to encourage customers to open – just as you would on your FB status with links to view videos, provide a comment, etc.
  • Create interesting email content. Most FB statuses that get commented on or “liked” are those with visuals or other
    interesting content.
  • Avoid being unsubscribed or “de-friended” by sending only timely and relevant messages / posts.

The HUGE elephant in the room is that on Facebook, you already have a base knowledge of your audience, and getting information about all of them is relatively easy (read their pages, browse through their pictures, check out where they have been, etc.). However, this still takes time, especially if you are Ashton Kutcher or Lady Gaga with millions of friends.

Because your customer list is much larger and there isn’t a central location for profile and behavioral information that is updated constantly, getting to know your customers at an individual level is virtually impossible.

Imagine a system that can gather each of your friend’s postings and content updates, plus their specific interactions with you – likes / comments / personalized messages – and made them available to you in real time? Now let’s take this a bit further and say we can use this information to automate messages to your friends. For example, the system sends your nearby friends that share your enthusiasm for kayaking a personalized invitation to join you the minute you (or they) check in at the local beach through Facebook. Way cool!

Now imagine if you could do the same with your email customer list whereby you get up-to-date information on your customers’ online interactions (clicks on your website, what content was viewed and downloaded, purchases on your store, clicks on an email promotion for a specific product) and combined with preference information you already know about them, and could send a highly relevant promotional offer or an invitation to an industry event?

Won’t that just be email marketing utopia? Facebook will probably get there with these automated messages, but what about digital marketing automation systems? Stay tuned.





















Angie Zener

About the Author: Angie Zener

Angie Zener is Senior Director of Corporate and Product Marketing at Lyris. She is a long-time marketer and an enthusiast of all emerging marketing technologies, in particular those that help marketers better connect with customers. Angie has managed customer communities, led social media teams, built mobile solutions, and launched many new software products. Follow Angie on Twitter: @angiezener

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