Social Media vs Email Marketing: The Winner Is…?

Sometimes there can be a lot of heat and smoke, but no fire and the same thing can be true in marketing trends.

If you read blogs and articles in the popular press, you’ll find them replete with items about social media marketing. However, it’s important to keep all the publicity we’re hearing about social media in context. Otherwise, as digital marketeers, we will just be running from one popular trend to the next.

It’s crucial to use all your digital marketing tools properly and not expect one to replace another. In this article I want to look at social media versus email marketing.

It’s not even close

In January, McKinsey&Company published results of a study that found email to be almost 40 times better for the acquisition of new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Let me stress that last word: combined!

And that’s not where the good news for email marketing stopped. As well as excelling at bringing in new customers, buyers responding to emails had order values that were 17 percent higher than those coming from the social media.

One of the basic reasons email outperforms social media is that despite the increasing popularity of sites like Facebook and services like Twitter, many more people use email on a daily basis. The study said that 91 percent of all U.S. consumers access their email each day.

Dealing with your ‘In Box’

We know that we all receive many emails that we simply discard. However, when we open an email we tend to do a good job reading it, or at least scanning it. Emails, when they come from a legitimate sender, get our attention and present their content. Even if the recipient doesn’t immediately open the email, it’s going to sit there beckoning, until something is done with it.

This is far superior to what can be achieved via social media today, and there’s another way that email tops social media. Email has displaced snail mail almost entirely, even to the point that we expect to get offers via email. We know that occasionally a hot deal is going to show up in our “In Box” and that we’re going to check it out.

A different attitude

That’s not true with social media. When we log into Facebook, we’re just looking for some community news and to perhaps make a few pleasant or snarky comments (you choose). We don’t come expecting to buy tickets to a concert. Our frame of mind is different.

Let me mention one more way email beats social media. With email you can engage in “remarketing.” If you’ve had a website visitor who requested a free download and then never followed up, or created an abandoned shopping cart, you can “remarket” these individuals. They are prime candidates for conversion. They may just need a little coaxing. This isn’t something you can achieve in the social media world.

So as you’re planning your marketing efforts, be careful as you balance your campaigns between email and social media.