"Your company can't afford to be left behind as technology marches swiftly forward." It's a notion that has created a climate of fear in some marketers. The poor souls who toss and turn at night, constantly worrying about the next big thing and struggling endlessly to keep up with swiftly changing marketing technology. There can be value in attempting to stay ahead of the tech trends, but it's folly to abandon stable, proven, and effective marketing techniques that are still working. Being an early adopter is a dangerous game. Stretching marketing too thin and reaching too far can limit your overall success.
Email marketing is a well tested and reliable marketing standby that, despite changes in the online marketing game, is still extremely viable. Though email was one of the first ways to communicate online, it has remained a strong presence throughout the growth and development of the internet. Email has instead adapted instead of becoming obsolete and has improved with the changing market. People appreciate the simplicity and familiarity of email and because of this, it remains a staple of online communication. Email marketing still can't be beat in terms of return on investment.
Social media is the hot marketing topic. It's a great new way for companies to interact with their customers in an informal way. Many marketers have shifted a great deal of focus to social media as a way to promote their product. The problem is, social media is not an adequate replacement for email marketing. The two mediums are different in many ways. The primary difference between the two forms of marketing is the way that they interact with the customer. Social Media is not a proactive form of marketing. Social media is something that the customer has to seek out. Messages posted through social media are broadcast on a central "feed", in real time, to a general audience. They can be easily overlooked if a customer is not using social media at or around the time of posting. The more active a person is in the social media community, the more messaging they will have competing for their attention.
Email, on the other hand, is direct communication that actively engages users. Email is sent to a specific person and lands in their individual inbox. The message is not just broadcast to a general audience in hope of making an impression. Even if someone wants to do nothing more than delete an email, they must interact with it directly. This alone makes it a much better means of contacting and getting a message across to a customer. A good email campaign is easier and more cost effective than building a social media campaign which requires extended effort over weeks and months just to establish a result. Email is also much easier to track and quantify than social media efforts. Many tools are available to track opens, clickthroughs, and more. Social media is more difficult from a manpower standpoint and has to be monitored more closely. To maintain engagement, someone will need to be dedicated to dealing with social media daily. Email, once created and sent out, generally requires little more work until another campaign needs to be sent. People expect to be engaged through email and are used to receiving business offers in that format. Social media is a social space where most people would rather interact with their friends and loved ones, people are less comfortable and familiar with being marketed to on these sites.
Email is to social media as direct mail is to a billboard. Social media messaging will only be seen if the customer happens to pass by at the right time, but email arrives directly at their front door, figuratively of course. I am in no way suggesting that any company should completely abandon social media. It's definitely important, but it is not a direct replacement for email. The two work best in conjunction, which makes email marketing more relevant than ever. There is no doubt that we are biased on the matter, but we have the experience to be confident in our claims.
We've seen and understand the difference between the two forms of marketing and we're happy to report that email is as strong as ever. Long after social media sites lose popularity or migrate to something new, people will still need a way to send personal digital letters. Email has filled that role successfully for years and has only gotten better. Spam filters on services like Gmail do a fantastic job of keeping unwanted email out of the inbox and people are trusting email again. This is a trend that were are excited to see. Legitimate email marketing can and has done wonders for many companies, some have used it as the building blocks of their businesses. At the end of the day, being at the forefront of a new marketing wave can be beneficial, but it's not time to throw out tried and true methods that consistently bring in sales yet. Email marketing can still provide a great source of revenue for business of all types.