This is interesting - several users of Facebook's Pages app have reported seeing a new function appear over the weekend which prompts them to 'send customized marketing emails' via their Facebook Page.
How does that work?
As per these screenshots, provided by social media expert Meg Coffey, Pages first need to confirm their Page email address.
Once confirmed, Page managers then need to manually add email contacts to their database. In this process, Page managers are also asked to confirm that any email contacts that they do add have given them explicit permission to contact them with promotional messages via email.
Once you agree to Facebook's usage terms, you can then create email campaigns via the Pages app, with a preview of your subject line and content in the lower section, making it easy to extend into email outreach.
It essentially seeks to replicate CRM systems, with all of your marketing messages - including Facebook and Instagram ads AND promotional emails - coming from your Facebook business hub. Seemingly, any emails you do send through this process will be delivered via your 'business.mailbyfb.com' email address which is attached to your account, though as noted, any email contacts need to be manually uploaded. You can't simply use the emails that people have listed on their Facebook profiles.
Which makes it a strange addition. Functionally, it doesn't seem to add anything beyond acting as a facilitator - you can send your email messages through the Pages app, but you still need to provide the base data, in terms of email addresses, for such. So you can compose your emails in the system, which is something of an advantage, but other than that, the process is no different to any other CRM software - you upload the contact info, compose the email, then send it out en masse.
Facebook used to provide every user with a unique Facebook email address, but they removed the option sometime back due to misuse by advertisers. It's likely still there in the back-end, and you'd theoretically still be able to use that process to actually target people through this system, but Facebook's not enabling that extended functionality. It's simply, seemingly, adding another way to keep tabs on your various digital marketing activities within its management app.
In this respect, it seems more aimed at businesses that are not as familiar with email marketing, providing another way to help them connect with their audiences with simple, CRM-style tools. Larger brands would already be well familiar with such processes, but maybe smaller organizations that aren't as accustomed to such will find the option valuable, helping them expand their reach.
And it may also help them target their Facebook ads from there - once you have an active listing of email contacts, you can then also use that to build Custom Audiences, and use Facebook's data matching tools to reach people with similar traits and interests.
Given that many businesses are already looking to upload their email lists for such purpose anyway, providing a direct mail-out option within Facebook's dashboards actually makes some sense - but again, it's a simplified version of existing CRM options.
Furthering this, Facebook's also updating its contact listings to provide more ways to help keep track of relevant information.
That further underlines the 'introduction to CRM' vibe, which could also be part of Facebook's extended tools to help SMBs shift to digital marketing in order to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
We've asked Facebook for more clarification on the features, in regards to how they're being rolled out, when, etc. We'll update this post if we hear more - but thus far, independent reports suggest that at least some users in both the US and Australia are seeing the update.