Why Email Marketing Runs Rings Around Social Media

September 6, 2016 8:13 am

EMAIL AUTOPSYJust like the fashion trends, marketers tend to change their mind about email marketing, particularly when it’s compared to social media.

It’s a case of: RIP email marketing. Wait, it’s alive! No, it’s actually dead. Hold your horses, it is ALIVE! What’s going on?

As a team that works with email marketing every day, we believe quality engagement and sales leads can still be generated through email. As long as it’s done well, of course.

I know what you’re thinking, how dare I turn my nose up at social media; it’s the way of the future, it’s going to solve world hunger and have your babies! It will wake you up with a skinny latte every morning.

Don’t get me wrong; social media can be an important part of your marketing if it makes sense for your business. But don’t put it ahead of email marketing.

Where’s the Proof?
You want evidence that email marketing is the digital performance king? Here are a few figures:

  • Email marketing acquired 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey).
  • 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media (Marketing Sherpa).
  • Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social (Monetate).
  • For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI (Campaign Monitor).

More Numbers
Picture a full cup of rice as the number of emails sent out every day. In comparison, daily posts on Facebook and Twitter would be just ten miserable grains. That’s because email has almost three times as many user accounts than all social media channels combined (MailMunch). That’s 2.9 billion emails all up.

In the same breath, every single web search made on every search engine every single day is just 1/100th of daily email traffic.

Too many marketers are too busy chasing the latest Google algorithms and keyword magic bullets that they’ve neglected their email marketing strategy.

Quality Over Quantity
You’ve now seen email’s reach and the amount of traffic it has compared to social media platforms. If you’re thinking traffic doesn’t mean much and a small quantity of well-targeted marketing aimed at quality traffic will nail larger amounts than a couple of hundred shotgun pellets sprayed at random; you’re right. That is precisely why email trumps social media for quality and quantity.

MailMunch compared the performance of email and social media marketing in an interesting way. Let’s assume you have 2,000 people on an email database, 2,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 followers on Twitter. Based on industry averages, this is the exposure/engagement your target market would have with your messages:

  • 435 people will open your email
  • 120 of your Facebook fans will see your update
  • 40 Twitter followers will see your tweet

But it gets worse. Here are the average click rates by channel:

  • Email marketing: 3.57%
  • Facebook: 0.07%
  • Twitter: 0.03%

Email is Personal
You thought Facebook was the most personal medium? Think again.

First, consider the above stats and comparisons. Second, the majority of people don’t go to Facebook for 1-on-1 online conversations; they open their emails.

The inbox is like the Holy Grail – people guard it highly and once someone allows you access it means that they’re interested in you or your offering on some level.

Email Gets More Attention Per Customer
You are more likely to get face-time with your leads if you use email, not because they’re hanging around their inboxes more than their Facebook pages or searching Google, but because email makes room for repeated contact.

In fact, it’s ‘invasive’ contact. It’s right in their mailbox, and that’s very different from posting a status update or tweeting which can get lost in the tsunami of online content.

Provided your content is worth reading, your customers and prospects are more likely to take a minute to open that email.

Email is a Transactional Medium
People expect to receive offers in their inbox, so their tolerance levels are a little higher than on social media where they just want to be, well, social.

Through email, you can train customers to expect offers from you while imparting value and positioning yourself as a thought leader. In turn, customers will start to look forward to receiving your emails.

And since you can make unlimited contact with them over time, you are significantly more likely to catch them when they are ready to buy.
Image Source: Shutterstock

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