It should come as no surprise that social media links help people share and open emails more often. But marketers aren’t taking advantage of that option.

According to a new study from email marketing provider GetResponse, offering at least three social options leads to 55% higher click-through rates. But only about half of email marketers are adding social elements to their emails.

The “Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Report” found that
email messages including a social sharing option generated 30% higher
click-throughs than emails without any social sharing links. Messages
with three or more sharing options generated 55% higher click-throughs.
Emails with a Twitter sharing option returned 40% higher CTRs than
messages without any social media links.

Among those that used sharing in their messages, Twitter was the most
popular option, included in 67.2% of all social emails. Facebook came
in second at 62.7%.

In the study,
GetResponse’s parent company Implix analyzed almost 500 million emails sent by over 19,000 GetResponse users. 

According to Susan Wing, communications manager at GetResponse, shared emails encouraged people to not just open those messages, but click through something inside the email. Considering the ease with which social options can be used, she says:

“Why not use Twitter sharing or YouTube, and see what happens?”

But not everyone is using the social tools available to them. According to Wing, the company surveyed its users last year and found that 88% planned
to use social sharing in 2010. But in actuality, only a little over
half actually implemented those changes.  She says:

“We think there might be some trepidation as to what they’re getting themselves into.”

Simon Grabowski, founder of GetResponse, says marketers should definitely be including social options:

“It’s not enough to integrate campaigns with social media networks – the power is in sharing. For example, Twitter users are posting 55 million tweets per day. And Facebook has over 400 million active users worldwide, each with about 130 “friends”… Imagine the impact on campaign results if every recipient shared a message with 130 friends, and so on and so on! The best part is that there’s no added cost to include social media sharing, so it’s pure ROI.”

Wing notes that marketers are probably doubling their CTR every time they add a social sharing link. Which should encourage others to start doing just that:

“We think this is going to be great bait for people to start jumping in the pool and start sharing.”