Not too long ago, my Aunt was over at my house for a visit. During her visit we got to chatting about what I do for a living as she was genuinely interested in trying to understand exactly why my job was "so cool" (for those of you who don't know, I'm the Email Marketing Manager for FreshBooks). So after telling her about what I do, she said this:
"I don't get it, what's the big deal about sending emails?"
After explaining to her all of the thought and strategy that goes behind the emails that companies send to their customers (and blowing her mind with the fact that companies know exactly what emails she opens and clicks on), I realized one thing: she can't be the only one wondering this.
It made me realize that not only does the general public not fully understand the power of email marketing, but that business owners probably don't either. But, I bet you any money that those business owners, regardless of age, can tell you all about the different social media platforms that they NEED to be on in order to market their business. Which leads me to my next point, and if there's one thing you take away from this post, it's this:
Email Marketing trumps Social Media when it comes to marketing your business.
Now, let me give you my opinion on why I believe this to be true (although as an Email Marketer, I may be a bit biased).
1. Email isn't going anywhere.
Email has been around for years. Over 30 years as a matter of fact. Yet it seems like there is a "new" social media platform that surfaces to the top every 3-4 years. For my generation in particular, it started with Facebook, then the next big thing was Twitter and now the only one people seem to care about is Instagram. Oh, and Snapchat. But I'm personally still learning how to use it. Anyways, you know what I've consistently had since the day I started using a computer? An email address.
Totally unrelated side note: My very first email address was firstname.lastname@example.org. Pretty awesome right? Part of me wishes I kept it and just rocked it right into my twenties.
So, with all that said, I believe that if email has made it this far, it ain't going anywhere anytime soon.
2. Email Marketing yields higher conversion rates.
There are tons of stats out there to prove this point. Seriously, just google "Email Marketing versus Social Media" and see for yourself. But instead of throwing around numbers, let's talk about this logically.
When you post something on Social Media, you essentially have to rely on the person you're hoping to reach to be online at the exact second you hit post in order to see your message. Or you could hope they see it as they scroll through all their feeds before turning off the lights and hitting the sack (we all do it). But even then, it's fairly likely that your message will be missed by most. However, when someone has given you permission to send them an email, chances are they will see it in their inbox. Now, whether or not they decide to open and read it is a whole other topic that I'll cover in another blog post. But if you send an email to a group of people (who've given you permission), majority of them will at the very least see the email sitting in their inbox.
Now think about the last time you took action on a Social Media post. And by action I mean purchase action, not a simple double tap. Majority of us are trained to scroll, scroll, scroll through our social media feeds. And maybe, just maybe, something will stand out to us that forces us to click-through to find out how we can buy said "thing". Now think about how you interact with you emails. As an Email Marketer, I subscribe to everything! So I can almost guarantee that my inbox is way more flooded with marketing messages than the average joe. But even then, I find myself opening and clicking through on emails far more often than social media posts. Again, maybe I'm biased because I know a damn good email when I see one, but based on the numbers out there, I'm not the only one that does this.
So, I'll end it with this. Do the research (it's not hard) and you'll see that time and time again, Email Marketing has a higher ROI and higher conversion rates than Social Media.
3. Email does not have any creative limits.
Don't get me wrong, I love my social media just as much as the next person. But you know what I hate? All of the god damned limitations. I know. I get it. The limitations are in place to prevent Social Media platforms from becoming just another blogging site. But still, sometimes I just really struggle to get my message across in 140 characters on Twitter, in a 250px by 250px square on Instagram or in a 10 second video on Snapchat. It's even more difficult as a business owner to try and add some solid value for your followers/customers within those confines.
But you know what I love about engaging with your customers/followers via email instead? There's no limitations. You can write as much or as little as you want. You can include links, pictures, videos, animated gifs -- anything you want. I think it's a really great medium to share a message with your customers, without feeling like you're limited in what you can and cannot fit.
4. Email is the only channel where you can own the relationship.
It's a shame that some people work so insanely hard to build up a large Social Media following, just to have it all disappear when that platform is no longer the "in" thing anymore. Yeah you can try and encourage your followers to continue to follow you on the next big Social Media platform you've moved to, but it's not a guarantee.
But the great thing with building an email list is that once you get those subscribers, they're yours. If you need to move email systems, you simply export the entire list and import it into your next system. It's that simple. Email is one of the only channels where you completely own the audience you've built.
In summary: Does Email Marketing trump Social Media when it comes to marketing your business? I believe it does. But does that mean you should stop using Social Media? Hell no!
Often times Social Media is a huge ingredient when it comes to growing a newsletter list. Social Media is a great way to get your brand out in front of the eyes of many potential customers. It's a great way to start luring people into your funnel where you ideally move them from having a general awareness of your brand to engaging with your content (whether that's through a newsletter or a blog, or both!) to ultimately purchasing what you have to offer.
I know it's a lot faster and easier to draft a quick Instagram post or Tweet. But all I ask is that you take a step back and really investigate what email marketing would look like for your business. You'll likely find that the time and effort it takes to build an email marketing strategy is well worth it once you see the impact a good email strategy can have on your business.