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Marketing your small business through email and social media channels has become as obligatory in todays business environment as taking out a Yellow Page ad was a couple of decades ago.

Prevent and largely eliminate critical missteps when engaging customers through these channels by coming up with the correct answers to these top 20 critical questions:

1. What are your subscribers and followers preferences for the discovery, sharing, and consumption of your companys content?

2. Have you clearly defined the goals for each of the various segments in your email subscription list as well as the differentiated subgroups of followers, such as customers, prospects, and influencers?

3. Does your social networking personnel possess impeccable online background content, or will a simple name search reveal inebriated party photos and controversial or even illegal discussions?

4. Have you identified the subscriber and follower categories which determine the amount of participation each will engage in, such as creating content, sharing it, or just lurking in the shadows consuming it?

5. Does each and every one of your marketing and promotional channels (print or broadcast ads, direct mail, flyers, brochures, stationery, business cards) feature cross-channel linkage to drive traffic to your social media presence and email subscription form?

6. Are you currently using a social channel monitoring application to discover what is being said about your business and where its being discussed?

7. Do you have reliable and accurate mechanisms in place for the measurement of the bottom line business result of your dovetailing email and social media marketing strategies?

8. Are you monitoring each incoming vector for immediate response, or do you have your email newsletters leading to dead links, noreply@, or email addresses that no one ever accesses; and social network pages which do not get updated frequently and consistently?

9. Are you cannibalizing your own sales, or attributing to your social network presence sales that would have been made anyway through your email marketing or vice versa?

10. Is there a single, unified social media approach or does your business present itself through a variety of identities, each offering contradictory information on your company and its activities?

11. Have your online employees signed agreements to portray your company in the most ethical and positive manner possible, even after their employment is terminated?

12. Which key performance indicators and email metrics are the most significant for your online business outcomes, and are you monitoring them meticulously?

13. Are you testing everything that can conceivably be tested in your email and social media marketing through both A/B split and multivariate approaches?

14. Are you obtaining your social media followers through overly aggressive strategies, such as excessive following on Twitter?

15. Are you nurturing online influencers and evangelists for your business by offering valid and valuable incentives for the sharing of your content among their social circles?

16. Do you feature interesting related content on your social networking pages from a variety of outside sources in addition to your own links, or are you overly hard-selling a single business promotion?

17. Does every online channel your company utilizes share a consistent approach in the form of logos, color schemes, fonts, design, imaging, and writing style?

18. Is your company leveraging Social Relationship Management tools to assist you in increasing sales, building business equity, improving your customer service, and tutoring you in focusing your strategy through product management decisions and differentiation opportunities?

19. Are you writing for your audience, so that each demographic and interest sub-grouping is receiving content in the specific lingo and level of jargon they prefer, or even in their expressed language preference?

20. Do you focus too heavily on a single social network, such as expending all your energies on Facebook while ignoring LinkedIn and Google+?

These twenty questions can provide an invaluable perspective on what youre doing right and what youre doing wrong. The more informed and aware you are of the current state of your email and social media strategy, the more you can fine tune it for optimal results

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Daniel Cassady

Daniel Cassady is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to an Email Marketing Blog run by Benchmark Email.

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