What Email Marketing Does That Social Media Can’t

ImageThe picture above is my cat, Penelope.  As you can see, she’s a huge fan of social media (particularly YouTube).  She may not be able to type, but she enjoys hissing and making chirping sounds at her cat and bird friends online.

With online marketing methods such as social media rapidly growing more popular recently, some have been quick to declare email marketing dead.  That declaration cannot be more wrong, and some of these people may end up kicking themselves for undervaluing it.  Evidence that email marketing is alive and still necessary lies in numbers and the benefits that only it offers.

While social media is an important method that is not to be ignored, one of its biggest disadvantages is that it is not as clean, targeted and direct as email marketing.    Here are some of the ways that social media cannot even compare:

Email lists are easily segmented.  You can post a message on social media, and everyone will receive the same thing whether they’re interested or not.  There are no one-size-fits all customers, so luckily email allows you to segment and send the right messages to the right audience.  If people are actually interested in the emails you send them, they will welcome them, reducing unsubscribes and raising conversion rates.

There’s proof in numbers.  You can post a message on Facebook or Twitter, but there is no way of knowing how many friends or followers will actually see it.  Not only do email lists usually have an audience larger than a typical list of friends or followers, but it is possible to see the number of times your email was viewed and clicked, as well as the percentage that didn’t make it to a reader.

Email continues to provide the highest ROI.  It requires very little time and money to send a targeted email to a specific group of customers.  Top marketers have been surveyed and studied many times throughout the growth of social media, and the results always prove that email marketing still returns the greatest return on investment.

Social networks fade, email is forever.  How often do you still check your MySpace?  Have you ever neglected Facebook in favor of Twitter, or vice versa?  Unlike social media, where people migrate from one trendy network to another, email addresses rarely change.  People may create a secondary email address and use their older one less often, but they are still likely to check it from time to time.

It’s a one-on-one conversation. Social media is a dialogue.  A single post suddenly turns into a group conversation with dozens of responses, and sometimes nobody even buys anything.  With email, all you have to do is send a message directly.  Unless the customer is buying something, or has a question before making a purchase, you don’t have to spend another minute taking further action.  Just send and move on with your day.

Longer visibility.  On Twitter and Facebook, new messages have a very short life due to the rapid rate that others tweet and post.  Your post is likely to only be seen by people who happen to be online and looking at their screens at that moment.  An email remains visible and available in an inbox until the user chooses to open and read it.

With that said, social media is still an important marketing strategy that should not be ignored.  But while you are posting and tweeting, let’s not forget that it is important to continue building your email lists as well.

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