Who is the heavyweight champion of marketing – social media or email?
Social media gets everyone excited. It’s pretty simple to get started on your favourite site and with all those ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, it seems to be the perfect platform to reach and convert customers. However, a closer examination shows that in a knock down battle between social media and email for King of the Hill status as a marketing tool, feisty little email might just have the edge.
So let’s see if email marketing can score a TKO against social media.
Round 1: Run the Numbers.
Email is massive. It has nearly 3 times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined, clocking in at a staggering 2.9 billion people hitting ‘send’ and ‘receive.’
Here’s a nice Asian analogy. Imagine that a full cup of rice is the number of emails sent every day. In comparison, all the daily posts on Facebook would equal a very tiny 10 grains – not enough to construct a single very, very small prawn nigiri. All the tweets sent every day would be an even less impressive 4 grains. Facebook and Twitter combined make up just 0.2% of the number of emails sent every day.
Let’s go big and use search engines for comparison. Every web search made on every search engine every day accounts for just 1/100th of daily email traffic; and all the pages (porn included!) viewed on the entire web each day use only a quarter of the bandwidth used by email.
The problem is that many marketing gurus like ‘shooting stars’. The newest tech and applications are bright and shiny and attractive – old is, well, boring. Surely the latest and the greatest is bigger and better.
The truth of the matter is that email is essential to the success of marketing and sales systems.
Quality vs. Quantity
So email’s got the numbers, big deal right? It’s always quality that wins over quantity, I hear you say. Any savvy marketer knows that precisely targeted marketing aimed at high-quality leads will be better than the old shotgun model of ‘spray and pray’.
Round 2: Up Close and Personal.
Surely social media platforms are the most personal platforms for marketing? Well, not really. It’s all about the numbers, remember? A lot of folks still don’t use social media, especially the older demographic.
But even if they did, most business people aren’t going to be spending their time on Facebook having one-on-one conversations about business issues – especially B2B. How do they communicate? Email, of course!
Round 3: Doing the Business.
Ok, admittedly some businesses do use social media for communicating with various people. But simple communication isn’t always building a trusted business relationship when communicating with customers. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are still viewed by many business people as a little, well childish. Many of those folks believe that grown-ups use email.
There’s also the question of focus. If you want to reach a wide variety of targets, then wouldn’t it make sense to use a single marketing channel? The thing about social media is that each platform has a narrow demographic. You need to use multiple channels to reach across a wide customer base. Let’s be honest, who’s got the time? Social media management is very time consuming. We’re not asking you to stop using them, but make them secondary to a well-designed, professional email marketing campaign.
Round 4: Grabbing Attention.
If you want to be top of mind with your customer base, your best bet is email. The reason for this is that email is ‘invasive’. That’s invasive in a good way. Your mail is in the potential customer’s inbox – a very personal space that most people pay very special attention to. It’s personal, it’s not like a Tweet or a Facebook post that is sent out into the ether. Those sorts of efforts can be easily missed. It’s very similar to that ‘spray and pray’ approach mentioned earlier. With email, you’re addressing a person, with a message tailored specially for them.
For this reason, emails build trust. If you can become a trusted advisor by providing useful content via email, you’re a long way down the road to growing a vibrant and loyal customer base. A customer base that will open your mail, every time.
Round 5: It’s a Two-way Street.
We’ve travelled pretty far down the email road together as people across the globe. We know we’re going to get special offers. We know that email is used to sell. If the offer is interesting enough, we’ll read and act. Customers are primed to buy when they read an email. It’s transactional – I send you something interesting and you act. It’s sort of like an agreement that we just don’t talk about, but we all know how it works.
Facebook is great for sharing cat videos and Twitter is exceptional for following the latest fad, but most folks aren’t looking to buy stuff on social media. How many times have you heard ‘I can’t stand those social media ads’. Right? They’re impersonal and annoying. Email wins this round hands down.
So, at the end of Round 5, we find social media battered and bruised, but still standing. But email remains the champion by popular vote. Supercharge your marketing by trying a channel that gets the results you need to power up your sales funnel.