(I’m sure you’re doing this already, but here’s an idea that should really pay off.)
If you manage any kind of email database and routinely send out newsletters and mailshots to your customers, make sure you mention your Twitter account each and every time.
And here’s the key part: in a way that cannot fail to be noticed (and understood), politely ask your customers to follow you on Twitter.
Don’t hide it away in the footer. Don’t underplay it. And don’t be all coy and bashful. Make sure it cannot possibly be missed. If you send out your newsletter in HTML format, spend the time to create an attractive image button (that says, literally, ‘please follow us on Twitter for real-time updates’, or similar).
The benefits are huge. If you convert the thousands of people in your email database to Twitter followers, you can cut your mailshot costs to zero. And using a statistic-tracking URL shortener (like bit.ly, or through Hootsuite) you can link to anywhere you like and work the analytics.
Better, because everybody who follows you on Twitter has opted in, you essentially have their permission to tell them about your products. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be smart about it. Adopt an intelligent ratio of marketing tweets to everything else. I would recommend no more than ten per cent of your tweets are (in any way) related to pitching your merchandise. Aim for five per cent if you can. (What should you talk about in the other 90-95 per cent? I’ll be writing about this later in the week.)
Sending out mailshots to tens of thousands of customers is time-consuming and expensive. Writing a tweet to those same people is simple and costs nothing. You get real-time feedback and conversions. You can easily follow-up with a personalised response. And you get the privilege of doing this again, and again, and again. For free.
And the best part? The more optimised your Twitter network, the better the results are for you.