Is it true that email is now passé? That the young cool set today prefers to use popular social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ to keep in touch and communicate?
Undeniably, social media does have its advantages: Facebook is great for frequently updating your status and checking that of others; Twitter for exchanging brief messages; WhatsApp for cheap and simple communication, Pinterest for use of images; blogging for longer articles and so on. The problem with these, however, is that they are limited in flexibility and functionality. Social media and email are two very separate beasts and we do not have to choose or prefer one over the other. Studies have shown, in particular in a business context, that email trumps over social media in more ways than one, and it is likely it will continue after all the others have blazed their trails and disappeared.
According to a report from Custora, a customer acquisition, retention, and segmentation platform for e-commerce marketing, “email marketing has become a more effective tool for e-commerce companies in the past four years, while Facebook and Twitter have lagged behind.” The study states: “E-commerce customer acquisition via email has quadrupled in the last four years.”
So why do we still love email in a social media world? The reasons are many.
First and foremost, email is personal. Unlike any social media, emails can address each reader by name and find a direct line of communication to their inbox. Through email, you can have an extended business or private conversation and sustain it far more effectively and realistically than on a social medium. Building a long-term relationship, which email makes possible, means having a better chance of converting this conversation into business.
Not everyone uses Facebook or Twitter. In fact, some people are now starting to close down their Facebook accounts due to its intrusive nature. Most people have an email account as it is very difficult not to these days.
Know your Customers
With email, you own your list of clients and customers, and you can keep expanding this list. What’s more, you can separate this list into chosen categories and target your emails to specific groups according to their needs and interests. With regular, reliable and consistent messaging, you can build a loyal clientele that will not only stay with you but also recommend you to others.
Social media may be useful for initially showcasing your business and providing up-to-date information, but it is usually most effective only as an initial hook to grab the attention of a potential client. After that, email provides a more powerful communication channel to follow up, establish a business relationship and sustain interest that could result in concrete action. With emails, the response is immediate. Since the conversation can be on-going, you have greater power to influence your customers. By providing links, you can guide your readers to your website and get them to register immediately.
Your Message is Lost with Social Media
Social media feeds get updated by the second and your message can get buried and lost forever. Emails can get buried too, but usually it is a matter of time before most are opened unless they are considered spam. It is far easier to return to an earlier email that it is to return to an earlier Facebook or Twitter posting.
Email can be flexible and varied in its use. You can create monthly or weekly reminders, send attachments and images, and identify each reader by name to engage and connect, and even control the conversation. It can be saved, copied, printed, forwarded and filed away for a later time. This way you can expand your reach as well as your business.
Email Marketing is Alive and Well
In the words of Scott Stratten, President of Unmarketing and author of “Stop Marketing. Start Engaging”: “A Tweet will last minutes, a Facebook status will last minutes – and that’s if it’s even shown in the news feed – but a subscriber has to do something with that message.” His message is: “Email marketing is alive and well. Don’t ignore what has been the backbone of communication for a long time now.”