Every business today needs a social media presence. Even entrepreneurs who loathe social media on a personal level have been forced to embrace the potential that it offers for their businesses. Facebook provides businesses with a straightforward means of communicating directly with their audience, keeping them updated about new developments, and receiving vital feedback from them.
However, while Facebook enables businesses to create business profiles that work a little differently from regular Facebook profiles, it hasn’t put much on the table in terms of business-specific tools and features. That looks like it is about to change, however, as Facebook has now confirmed the existence of a new set of email marketing tools for SMEs.
Facebook For Business
Eagle-eyed social media marketer Meg Coffey noticed new tools were being tested on select accounts, including one that she was responsible for. According to Meg’s Tweet about the new tools, businesses will soon be able to send marketing emails out to their subscribers from their Facebook account.
There’s no word on how Facebook is selecting accounts to trial the tools with, it may well be done at random. However, any business that has been granted access to the new emailing tool should see a notification on the left-hand sidebar and a new ‘Marketing Emails’ tab. Clicking on this tab will then prompt the user to confirm their email address.
Facebook is marketing these new tools as enabling businesses to “select your audience”, “customize your design”, and “track performance.” This suggests that Facebook is planning on letting users do more than just send business emails through their Facebook accounts. Give how much data Facebook processes, which businesses would love to get their hands on, there is enormous potential for Facebook to release some game-changing tools for businesses to use. Allowing businesses to both execute email marketing campaigns and analyze the resultant data could completely transform their relationships with Facebook.
Smaller businesses in particular stand to benefit enormously from these new features. Marketing is always going to be one of the biggest expenditures for any business, irrespective of its size. But for big businesses with huge marketing budgets, the game is a very different one. With the resources of a big corporation to draw on, marketers can saturate their most important marketing channels and call on a multitude of tools and analytics techniques to enable them to better understand how their marketing is received by their audience.
Putting all of this together in one place would be a huge boon for many SMEs. There are suites of tools that digital marketers can use to execute, monitor, and then evaluate their marketing campaigns. But these often come at a significant cost, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. If Facebook can offer high-quality tools free of charge for their business accounts, they will have a serious advantage over their competitors. In fact, this could be the first step on the road to market dominance for Facebook.
How Does It Work
It also looks like Facebook is going to be assigning businesses their own unique email addresses to use. Based on screenshots included in Meg Coffey’s Tweet, after confirming their email address, businesses will be given a page e-mail address in the format of [email protected]
After confirming their email address, managers can then begin to add new contacts to their e-mail subscriber list. This information can be entered manually, but Facebook also supports uploading the information from a spreadsheet to make importing large contacts lists easier. In line with GDPR and the CCPA, Facebook is requiring managers to confirm that they have the permission of anyone whose email they add to their subscribers’ list to send them marketing materials.
Facebook requires managers to confirm that the contact information they are using meets three key criteria. First, businesses need specific permission from their users to send them promotional and transactional e-mails. The contact information that is uploaded to Facebook should be the most recent available and should be stripped of any contacts that have since opted out and withdrawn their permission to receive marketing emails from you. Finally, businesses must make sure that they remove the contact information of any user that requests it.
Right now, the e-mail tool itself is a little bit bare-bones but it is expected to grow and evolve with time. Users use the Pages app to compose marketing e-mails. One feature of Pages that is already receiving a lot of praise is the ability to create new audiences on the fly by selecting some of your contacts and grouping them together. For example, businesses that cater to several different audiences can easily segment them and customize their messaging for each group.
Facebook has now officially confirmed the existence of the tools and has also revealed that the initial test run is going to be limited to a small number of small and medium-sized enterprises. However, the company hasn’t revealed how it is selecting these businesses and has only described them as “a small number.” Facebook did strike a slightly cautious tone in their response, emphasizing that they are still evaluating the usefulness of the tools and no decisions have been made about expanding it further yet.
Early reports of the new e-mail marketing tools have been mostly positive. Clearly, the tools are still at an early stage and there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. But, given the potential benefits to many of the businesses with a presence on Facebook, it’s hard to imagine that they won’t ultimately decide to roll the features out to all their business accounts.
Small and mid-sized enterprises stand to benefit greatly from the addition of email marketing tools to their Facebook accounts. E-mail marketing has fallen out of favor in some quarters, but it remains an effective technique for businesses of all sizes. Facebook has a real opportunity here and it looks like they might just be able to pull it off.