Email Marketing vs. Social Media
First off, some explanation on the graphic – the fella on the left is Kavi Guppta, a talented Digital Strategist with a focus on Social Media (and a half-decent amateur impressionist). The charming guy on the right is yours truly (for those who don’t know me, I do Email). I feel the graphic accurately reflects the perception of many marketers out there, like Ben & Jerry’s, who two years ago opted to abandon their Email Marketing entirely in favour of Social Media.
The reality is more like this:
At this point in time, Email and Social are not mutually exclusive. While ultimately, they are both communication channels, they respectively excel in different areas, achieving related – but different – goals. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
Looking to reach the maximum amount of people in the minimum amount of time? Go Social. With every “Like”, post or Tweet, your brand can be exposed to the networks of your fans and your fans’ fans. With the right messaging and ease of reaching a virtually unlimited amount of potential customers/guests/donors, social is a fantastic way to introduce prospective brand advocates into your online world… not to mention that with the proper strategy, many organizations have taken their social following and converted 40-50% into email subscribers as well!
What resonates with you more (pretend for a minute that your name is Berta and that you went to see The Avengers last night):
Have you seen ‘The Avengers’ yet?
Hi Berta, hope you enjoyed ‘The Avengers’ last night. I’ll see Robert Downey in anything! Last night by coming to the show, you accumulated 50 movie-goer points. When ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ comes out, come back to see it with us and we’ll double your movie-goer points.
Sure, you can direct message a person on Twitter or post on their Facebook wall, but connecting with an individually pertinent message is not easily scaled. Collect data that will allow you to communicate with the individual subscriber and create a meaningful connection through the lifecycle based on profile data, purchase history, etc. You’ll not only be building your list, but you’ll be building long-lasting relationships with your customers as well. It’s the ability to communicate in this way that has Email’s ROI at a whopping $39.40 for every dollar spent.
With new Social Networks popping up every day, when your customer’s online-time shifts from one Social Network to another, how are you going to let them know you’re there too? Email.
Social is built for multimedia – let your subscribers know about your latest video, your newly dressed window or photos from an event through Email, but take them to experience and share from within your Social Networks.
Though Email has matured to the point where sending an individually-pertinent message is rather simple, Social Channels are your opportunity to have two-way conversations with active online customers. Handle customer service issues, answer product questions, talk about other subject matter that your target may be interested in using your Social Channels to add a human element to your brand.
The more friends, family and brands an individual follows, the shorter the window to be exposed to your message in the Social Space becomes. If you have a message of value to your customers, Email is still your best opportunity to get your message across.
Takeaway: The bottom line is that it’s not an either/or; these two channels (Email and Social) compliment each other perfectly. Use Email to build high-quality, long-lasting relationships through individually pertinent content, while using Social to expand your reach with rich media and participation in two-way conversations. Though both channels will certainly evolve, in the meantime we must live in harmony and play to each channel’s strengths to get the most out of our online marketing efforts.
Is your organization increasing, decreasing or maintaining Email Marketing budget? Are you moving budget from Email to Social?