Why Email Marketing Will Never be Replaced by Social Media by Michael Truby @youtrubes

Why Email Marketing Will Never be Replaced by Social Media by Michael Truby @youtrubes

Why Email Marketing Will Never be Replaced by Social Media 

As a marketer striving to make your mark in this competitive world, you’re probably constantly looking for solutions to help you devise the most innovative marketing program.  One that is also quick, has greater reach, and lowers cost would make great business sense too.  As such, using the web to reach customers has become central to modern marketing. Within this online world, email marketing and more recently social media are two tools that have emerged as ones wielding considerable power and influence over customers.

The key issue now facing marketers is “Is one method better than the other?” We need to consider the possibility put forward that social media could obliterate email marketing, but also balance this with an understanding of the benefits that email marketing has already demonstrated. A closer look at the relative strengths of email marketing and social media marketing will reveal more…

The Relative Strengths of Email Marketing

Email marketing is a tool to reach potential and existing customers in an organized and targeted way.  A Direct Marketing Association study indicates that “email marketing generated an ROI (return on invested capital) of $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009.”

With email marketing, you, the advertiser, are in complete control of who, where, and what message reaches your target audience.  Depending on the profile of your target audience you can create content suited to their needs and level of understanding without worrying about postal delays and costs.  Your campaign can be local or global without being bound by restrictions of time and space.

Email marketing helps marketers create awareness, generate interest, and can garner almost immediate responses through newsletters and embedded links that encourage recipients to respond and request more information if they so desire.  On top of this, email marketing campaigns are interactive and can be designed to include elements such as images, animations, and surveys.

The reach of your campaign can be easily widened to greater numbers of possible customers using contact lists.  Marketers can also include opt-in or opt-out opportunities for greater interaction. If you’re unsure where to start with an email marketing campaign, there are plenty of companies out there who can help you – such as Constant Contact and Pinpointe. They have experience in running campaigns and should be able to help you in all areas – from email design and layout, to when to send emails, and when to offer promotions.

The Relative Strengths of Social Media Marketing

The biggest perk of social media as a marketing platform is cost.  Most social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are free to access, meaning marketers can create a profile and post information which can reach their target market for little or no cost.  More importantly, the audience seeking information about a product or service voluntarily joins or follows marketers or brands.

The power of social media lies in the number of people out there.  According to the 90-9-1 Principle the behavior of people on social networks:

  • 1% of users are Creators who are actively creating content,
  • 9% are Editors who are commenting and adding to content that already exists, and
  • 90% are Audience or Lurkers. They are watching and consuming content.

The takeaway from this is that by fostering a conversation with 10% of the audience, you are building value for the remaining 90%.

Pay-per-click advertisements on sites such as Facebook can be easily “geo-targeted” based on specific criteria in order to reach the right audience.

However, users are more and more frequently citing privacy concerns when it comes to social sites collecting the kind of data marketers need in order to target the right audience. Also, social media campaigns contain the possibility of disgruntled customers or employees publishing negative comments that cannot always be removed.  Every post on Twitter and on a Facebook page is public and you have no control over what people say. While a great piece of news can go viral in just a few seconds, the same also applies to bad publicity.

Bad news can spread just as easily as good news and can do your business irreparable harm. In fact, a report released by IT governance group the Information Systems Audit and Control Association in June 2010 ranked viruses and malware, brand hijacking, lack of control over corporate content, unrealistic customer expectations, and non-compliance with record management regulations among the top five risks of using social media as a marketing platform.

Combining The Two Approaches

However in this day and age, it isn’t about using “only” email marketing or social media; it is about capitalising on the benefits of both and adopting a mixed approach to create a power-packed marketing campaign.  Email marketing has been around for some time while social media marketing is still evolving.  Why not use advances in both email marketing and social media to your advantage?

Email marketing today has advanced beyond conventional technologies and marketers have switched between plain text and HTML formats. Audio and video email can be used to make a campaign interesting, interactive, and different while furthering chances of making your message go viral. Audio email, or “talking email” as it is referred to more commonly, offers marketers a more direct and dramatic means of communication with the client or customer.

Adding voice, sound, or music to a message brings character and novelty to an email message.

Video clips are usually not embedded or directly included in the email, as the ordinary user will find the size of the download excessive. Instead, video is best linked to external sources that play either on opening or by means of activating a link within the body of the email.

Effective email marketing calls for focused selection and targeting of customer demographics and needs.  Marketers have a number of companies to choose from when it comes to finding the right email marketing solutions.  Companies like Emarsys and SDL provide email marketing services that are reliable and result oriented.

Takeaway: Instead of spending time and money on devising print marketing campaigns that end up in dusty mailboxes and probably remain unopened, you can now combine your social networking marketing efforts with effective email campaigns to get just the right mix of privacy, reach, customized messages and interaction.

Meet the author:



Father of one, big football (soccer) fan & player & outreach executive, specialising in email communications. My previous experience includes account management & customer-centric roles.

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