If you don’t have an email list, you’re only hoping that your online marketing is going to work.
When social media first started to hit it big, pundits opined that email was dead and we’d all be using social networks to communicate. Well, it’s 2016, and email is still chugging along. In fact, Americans are reading more marketing emails than ever before.
Today’s marketers need to do more with less.
They need to connect with their audience in a highly personalized way while staying on budget.
Marketers who can do this – connect with their prospects and customers in a highly targeted way – will be successful in delivering ROI and revenue back to the business.
No marketing category has the longevity of email marketing.
While some marketing trends come and go, email remains the most powerful channel available to the modern marketer.
In this article, I highlight 7 reasons why email marketing outperforms social media.
1. Email has larger reach
With Facebook boasting over 1 billion active users and Twitter boasting 255 million, it’s tempting to believe that social media is the most effective way to reach the masses.
These are impressive numbers, but what isn’t so frequently shared are the statistics on email usage. The total number of worldwide email accounts was 3.9 billion in 2013 and projected to reach 4.9 billion by 2017.
While this might seem surprising at first, think about your own online behavior:
- When you sign up for a website you have to enter your email address to create the account.
- You need an email address to create a Facebook or Twitter account.
- What’s more, Facebook and Twitter use email to notify users of activity like when someone is tagged in a photo.
Email is the currency of the web and anybody who online has an active email address. So when it comes to connecting with your prospects and customers, there’s no channel with a wider reach than email.
2. Email delivers your message
If marketers have to choose between adding a subscriber to their email list or gaining a new Facebook fan, they should go for the email subscriber every time.
There are two key reasons why:
First, 90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. This is because Facebook limits the number of times your posts appear in the News Feed in an attempt to drive brands towards their paid advertising options.
This is a big deal when it comes to getting your messages seen.
On Facebook, if you post an update to your 10,000 fans only about 200 of them will even have a chance of seeing it in their News Feed. Alternatively, if you send an email campaign to 10,000 subscribers at least 9,000 of them would receive it in their inbox.
This means your message is 45 times more likely to be seen using email than Facebook.
Email is the proven marketing channel to ensure your audience gets your message.
3. Email drives conversions
Most marketers are laser focused on driving conversions.
Regardless of whether this is in the form of leads, sales, memberships, or a metric unique to your business strategy, the ultimate goal for marketers is to turn potential customers into paying customers.
When it comes to conversions, there isn’t a more powerful channel than email.
In fact, the average click-through rate of an email campaign is around 3% (of total recipients), whereas the average click-through rate from a tweet is around 0.5%.
This means you are 6x more likely to get someone to click-through to your website via email than from Twitter. 4.24% of visitors from email marketing purchase something, as compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media, according to a survey conducted by Monetate.
What’s more, email is highly measurable. Campaign Monitor customers have real-time access to metrics like opens, clicks, bounces, forwards, social shares, and more.
Additionally, those who integrate their email marketing into a CRM like Salesforce can have visibility into how their email marketing impacts business opportunities and deals.
As a marketer focused on nurturing leads and driving conversions – as most marketers are – email marketing trumps all other communication channels for business.
4. Email has a higher ROI
Given email’s unmatched ability to drive conversions, it would make sense that email is also the most effective marketing channel to drive ROI.
Email marketing yields an average 3,800% return on investment for businesses and for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $38.
It’s clear from these statistics that email is a cost-effective channel for marketers, but why does it outperform other channels so significantly when it comes to ROI?
It comes down to delivering highly personalized and relevant messages.
Unlike social networks where you send status updates to every follower regardless of their location, interests & purchase history, email allows you to be hyper-targeted with your communications.
The more data you have about your customers in an email marketing tool like Mailchimp – including insights pulled in from integrated systems like your CRM, customer service solution, etc – the more targeted you can be.
For example, you know the gender of your subscribers and where they are located geographically, so you can ensure that
- Females in the United States receive a promotion about bathing suits during the summer months and
- Males in Australia receive an email about wetsuits during the winter months.
This use of Segmentation and Dynamic Content helps to ensure the content they send is relevant to every individual recipient, and that relevance drives people to click-through, make purchases – and increase the ROI of their email marketing campaigns.
5. Email is the preferred communication channel
For many, social networks are a very personal form of communication used to keep up to date with friends & family.
When people log into their social media accounts, they are there to see photos and updates from people they know and care about.
Email, on the contrary, is a much more professional channel and people expect to receive information about products and services through email.
In fact, studies show 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.
6. Email is an open platform
Over the past few years, many brands have invested millions of dollars into buying large social followings in order to be able to communicate and engage with an audience.
But while businesses are investing in various social media platforms, Facebook has frequently updated its algorithm to reduce the number of followers who will see a brand’s post, unless those posts are paid advertisements.
This has become so prevalent that
98% of brand followers will never see the posts in their News Feeds.
Similarly, Twitter seems to be moving in a similar direction with the announcement it will introduce an algorithm-controlled feed as well.
The issue with channels like Facebook and Twitter is they are owned and controlled by third parties and marketers are at the mercy of changes they make to their platform.
Email, on the other hand, isn’t owned or controlled by any one particular entity. It’s an open communication platform and there is a multitude of services that provide access to send and receive email.
The diverse array of companies involved in email marketing ensures that no one party can make changes that are going to have a widespread effect, unlike Facebook or Twitter.
If you invest the time and money into building a great email list it’s an asset you will own and be able to leverage without the threat of someone limiting its effectiveness.
7. Email will be around forever
The once-hot site was the largest social networking site in the world between 2005 and 2008, and in June 2006 surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States.
Yet where is MySpace now? All those users eventually moved on to other social networks, and the site is now the 1,500th most popular website in the United States.
Imagine if you’d invested significant amounts of time and money building an audience on a platform, only to find it a ghost town just a year or two later. The impact on your ability to reach and engage potential customers would be catastrophic.
Email, on the contrary, has a long history of stability.
The first promotional email campaign was sent in 1978 to a total of 400 people, and email has been growing consistently since.
Interestingly, the email space itself has evolved from a time where you needed a developer to build an email, to today where tools like GetResponse empower the modern marketer to create and send beautiful branded emails. This shift has put the power of business email into the hands of more people.
Building your email list, unlike building a social media following, is a stable long-term investment that will pay off for many years to come.
This is just but a limited insight into the strength of email marketing vis a vis social media
What do you think is the future of email marketing with regards to effectiveness and RIO?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.