KFC saw email and social marketing success by using content to integrate campaigns.

KFC may have boasted, “We Do Chicken Right,” but marketers may be more interested in how the brand “does right” with email and social media marketing. Last year, the company tied together its email marketing and social campaigns in an effort to promote its limited-time Double Down sandwich, and the campaign was so successful it played a role in making the sandwich a regular menu item.

Scott Geiser, senior digital analyst for KFC, told Marketing Sherpa that the Double Down campaign was one of the company's first efforts to integrate social and email marketing. “We sent out an email with just a picture of the Double Down and links to share it in social networks,” Geiser explained.

Shortly after sending the email, KFC reports that subscribers began sharing the picture of the Double Down across Twitter and Facebook. The campaign generated more than 12,000 social shares. Email subscribers were creating the buzz about the sandwch among a broader audience for the company.

Geiser tells Marketing Sherpa that KFC has learned social users demonstrate higher email open rates and click-through rates than other subscribers. By creating email content they will want to share across social networks, the company strives to keep these social influencers engaged – and it is getting word-of-web referrals as a result.

To further encourage email subscribers and social users to connect with KFC across these two platforms, KFC has also added an “Email Club” tab to its Facebook page. Now, about 3 percent of its email acquisitions come from its Facebook profile, reports MarketingSherpa.

Marketers should take this as evidence that it's important to integrate online marketing campaigns, and that email content should be “Like” bait – the type of content that consumers will want to share on the web. While promotional campaigns – like KFC's link to the Double Down sandwich – are great for one-time outreach, brands might find that custom news content entices consumers to open their emails and share.

According to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 12 percent of Americans look for news in their inboxes.