Guide: How Internet Retailers Grow Social Media With Email Marketing

Companies with established audiences, communities and lists grow social media with email marketing.

Businesses have long understood that one of the biggest assets you can have is a list of names. A list of names could be your customer list, email subscriber list and a few other types of lists. Each has a varying degree of ability when it comes to how you can send messages.

For example, your customer list and your email list allow you to have full control over how you can send email (other than a few exceptions).

When companies need to grow another list they use email marketing and their existing lists of names. For example, when a company launches a new product line they email customers of their other product lines in an effort to grow the list of customers for the new product.

Companies also use email marketing to grow their social media profiles. You’re probably thinking, “Duh. Every company does that.” That’s great. You’re doing exactly what you should to grow your social media profiles, but the following is an overview of what companies are doing today to grow their social media profiles.

Hopefully these will provide inspiration on how you can get even more engagement from your email subscribers when it comes to social media. 

Grow Social Media With Email Marketing

Cabela’s: Social Icons in the Footer

Cabelas Social Media Footer

This is a pretty standard way of promoting social media in your regular promotional email marketing efforts. Cabela’s includes the social icons in the footer. Consumers are used to finding social icons at the bottom of websites and emails. If they have the itch to follow you on social media they know they can go here.

You won’t get a ton of followers this way, but it’s easy to setup and it makes it easy for people that want to find you on social media.

Take Action: Put social icons in the footer of your emails. It’s out of the way and won’t take away from the main calls to action in the email, but the icons will be easy to find for those that want to follow you.

JCP: Social Sharing Encouraged

JCP Social Media Email

JC Penney uses social media to encourage sharing of the promotion. The retailer is back to doing big time discounting and they know their target customers love discounts. So they give current subscribers the chance to share the deal with their friends on social media. This accomplishes two things.

First, it grows awareness for the deal outside of email.

Second, it gets JCP active in social media. When new people see that JCP is active in social media they’re likely to follow the brand for future updates especially for future discounts.

Take Action: If you feel you have a message that people want to share with others then encourage your current subscribers to share the message via social media. It could be a discount, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be another piece of content like a guide or video.

Bonus Tip: Social Media Call To Action In Confirmation Emails

This is actually one I’ve never seen unless I’ve missed it, but I think it’s a great idea.

You know those transactional emails you send out after someone makes a purchase on your website? What’s the call to action in those emails?

There really isn’t a call to action. The user has the option to view their order information online. Usually people just save this email until their product arrives or the service begins.

The opportunity here is to insert a call to action for the person to follow you on social media. Think about it…they just purchased from you. They’ve taken a huge step toward your company already. It would be easy for them to show their love for you by following you on social media.

Take Action: Add a social media call to action on your transaction emails¬†and to review emails and other email messages that don’t really have a call to action. Use the emotion of excitement just like when a new customer makes a purchase.


This is how some of the biggest companies in the world are using email marketing to grow their social media profiles. Each company understands the importance of growing social media profiles and they know that using email is a great way to do that. It’s also interesting to note that companies still focus on one mail call to action per email, which is a great best practice.

What strategies have you used to grow social media with email marketing?

Share your tips in the comments.

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