Is Email Marketing The Best Digital Marketing Money Can Buy?

Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, email marketing is about the most powerful, efficient and value-driven online marketing resource today.

Let us explain:  Yes, social media is social driven, as it should be. Kind of like that new swanky sports car your neighbor just got as an all-too-obvious ode to his youth after his recent crash into middle age. It’s glitzy and hums like a tiger, but at the end of the day, he keeps the Buick to take him farther on less gas, without as much maintenance and more safely. Balance. Bottom line, he needs to have both to if he wants to fill both needs. And if you hadn’t noticed WE ALL have LOTS of needs today and all need LOTS of options.  We are the entitled generation. Give the people what they want.

Now make no mistake, we are social-first, meaning we value the VALUE of social media first and foremost as it is an incredible way to grow a long term relationship with a database of followers that you can repeatedly market to on a day-to-day basis.  If you aren’t using social media for your small business, we’d love to hear from you if you truly feel you are crushing it without [We can safely assume the inbox will remain quiet but are absolutely open to hearing your stories:  jeremy@chicagomarketingsolutions.com].

That said, it is absolutely true that social media is more time consuming and takes more effort than email.  By design and if used the right way, email marketing can pack a MASSIVE wallop in terms effectiveness, ease of message consumption, and indigenous promotional components.   We all have to remember that social is NOT a market place, it’s a place for companies to be social, tell stories, provide added value and stay in the psyche of your potential and current customers.

The Direct Marketing Association reported that a recent study found e-mail marketing to offer an ROI of $57.25 for every dollar spent. That’s more than 150% more than the ROI for non-e-mail online marketing, including search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
Again, that’s not to say social media isn’t a powerhouse of marketing potential. If done skillfully, social media marketing offers a great way to be in front of millions of waiting eyes for your brand and brand message and market over and over again to them. Nice. It captures the attention (even if briefly) of a broad audience and grows every day in its ability to target your message to a given demographic.

But when you look at the real power of email marketing to not only proliferate your brand message, but to actually take that message to the next level and make that all-too-important sale, this is where social media reveals itself as an altogether different beast.  Read on to find out how to strengthen your email efforts via social.

Let’s look at the native elements involved in email marketing. You’re reaching out to an opted-in consumer (at least you’re supposed to be) in their own very personal realm, their inbox, communicating your brand’s core values while building on the trust that got you in their inbox in the first place.

Simply put, email was made  just for marketing. With social media, marketers are trying to retrofit a digital medium to suit needs that are not only not indigenous to that medium but must be clouded in subterfuge (so that marketing appears social) to even be tolerated, let alone received, by its community. In social, you are competing in a mind numbing stream of information & competing with cat videos, selfies and endless other bits of micro-content. However,  if you are good at it and know how to use each respective social platform to story tell, it is a field day for marketing, especially when integrated with email.

Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are meant  for social activity. An intrusion into that activity with sales-based messaging can not only fall short on your readers but actually damage your business’ brand. And with the new “Mute” button Twitter is launching, your social marketing dollars could be wasted without you even knowing it [UNLESS you are doing it RIGHT meaning , in a native sense].

Email marketing simply offers the best means of communicating your brand message through educational and brand-reinforcing content that gives the reader fundamental insight into why your brand is the one they signed up to learn more about in the first place. Email marketing powers the value of your business and brand right where your audience lives.

Given the sheer volume of content flowing, the efficacy of your marketing can easily get lost on many you may be reaching via social marketing. But every reader you reach via email marketing has given you the opportunity to make your pitch in the first place. By and large, a greater proportion of those you reach via email marketing will be open to your message than those you reach on social media.

But, you say, aren’t more people reading social media than email? The simple answer: No. The fact is that there are more than three times the number of active email accounts than Twitter and Facebook combined.

And email is more personal. With Facebook and Twitter, messages are blasted to a community, and when you do reach out with personal messaging, it’s cumbersome and less-conducive for professional corporate communications. (Again, it’s meant to be casual, social).
Email can be given a personal touch while maintaining a very corporate feel. So a financial management firm touting its recent quarter’s performance numbers, for example, will find its message better received in an email marketing message than in a Facebook post.

So what about making a sale, landing that new client? Sorry, there’s no app for that. Facebook and Twitter are but a step in the process. Email marketing can get the job done. Built in eCommerce value with “buy now” buttons that take the reader to your online shopping cart, coupons and high value, exclusive offers are all native to the email experience. On social media, they’re mostly a nuisance.

The fact is people don’t utilize social media to shop or conduct business. They utilize social media to be social. They check-in with friends, find the latest cute baby video and look for the newest meme. They don’t, as a rule, use social media to conduct business (whether it’s B2B or B2C).  However, you can use social media to listen to what people are saying, whether it’s directly about your brand or related topics and learn how to better have a conversation there.

People do, however, conduct business via email everyday and have been since its inception. So it’s only natural to field offers, learn more about a product or service, check rates and, yes, close a deal in your inbox.

The real challenge for marketers in harnessing the power of the email marketing is amassing opted-in email addresses. And that’s where  you leverage your social standing.

Be social on Facebook, be social on Twitter. Heck, be social on Pinterest or any of the other endless social platforms, if you want. Have a ball in every new digital mixer that comes along. But to maximize your marketing budget, take that conversation to the inbox when you really want to start integrating your marketing. Be present on as many relevant platforms as possible and send the information around all of them, strategically.

Use social to tease your brand message, wrapped up in a cute and witty, eye-catching posts. But when you’re ready to talk value proposition, and brand value, make your social call to action one that converts the interest your online community has in your business into an email address so you can really talk turkey and show them the power of your brand philosophy in a medium made for commerce.

At the end of the day, using social as a springboard for email marketing makes the most sense. Instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole. You’re using both digital mediums in ways native (and not contrary) to their functions for a seamless marketing campaign that turns “friends” into clients without hurting your brand in the socialsphere and becoming ‘that guy’ at the cocktail party who’s always trying to sell everyone in the room life insurance.