Right now SMM might be the main focus of marketing departments, however email marketing is still a good bet for a decent ROI, and 2017 may see the re-emergence of this vital marketing tool.
Marketers are always under pressure to stay on top of all the latest developments, and whilst evolution and reinventing tactics should be at the top of the pile there’s the peril that tried and tested methods get left behind in the rush. As is true in life as well as marketing, to embrace the new means to scorn the old way of doing things which is often a short-sighted mistake too often made.
There’s no denying that platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have been given most of the attention in recent years, but email marketing has continued to expand and evolve which has proven indispensible for many businesses on a daily basis.
If it came to the crunch between these two marketing staples, I believe email would win out by a large margin in 2017. That’s not to say SM doesn’t have potential, but email marketing has existed for many decades before SM came on the scene and more lessons have been learned in this timeframe, giving us a better understanding of this digital tool.
Email Marketing vs SMM- the stats
This tested lead generation technique has proven effective time after time when it comes to retaining and informing a customer base. Even though Facebook has the tools set up for effective marketing, and Pinterest has huge potential, email has something special which can’t be erased by new-fangled social media accounts- at least not yet. A majority of internet marketers, 60%, agreed with the statement that SM was being outperformed by traditional email marketing in a survey last year by MailMunch.
Other surveys and studies have shown through numbers just how email weighs up against new SM:
• There are 2.6b registered email users in comparison to 1.7b on Facebook. Twitter has just 313m users.
• 58% of email users check their accounts first, followed by 11% who check Facebook and only 2% who are checking Twitter regularly.
• Click-through rates for marketing emails amount to 3.57% but it drops to 0.07 for Facebook links and only 0.03% on Twitter.
• Emails convert more. 66% will purchase when sent an email, but only 20% of Facebook users will do the same, and Twitter gets just a 6% conversion.
• Email gives a much steadier ROI. 21% vs. social media’s 15%.
Email is much simpler than SM, and getting a list of emails is much quicker than looking constantly for followers on your accounts. This could be set to change with social media now integrating paid ads which do the legwork for you.
Rise of Email Marketing in 2017
Whilst the honeymoon period of using SM could be drawing to a close, society in general is still enthralled with social networking but their perception of it is slowly transforming.
Social media is starting to run its course and become less spontaneous and much more predictable, it’s lost the initial excitement it once used to generate and marketers now find themselves studying the metrics a lot more.
Marketers are now falling back on what is considered a traditional marketing tool via email, and paying attention to the numbers much more. Brands and users alike are becoming more disenchanted with the way SM is starting to behave.
People and companies are becoming increasingly frustrated with the changes that have been made as paid advertising creeps into their affairs, according to Joe Pulizzi of the CMI. In 2016 it was all about revenue generation and paid ad creation, which means less time spent on SM accounts due to the brand being out there constantly, however it does bring an element of restriction and loss of independence that SM is recognized for.
Major institutions such as the NY Times and The Washington Post have been upping their efforts recently in setting up email newsletters. The latter has around 75, whereas the NY Times has a dozen people specially dedicated to creating and distributing e-newsletters. A survey by the CMI of B2B marketers showed that over 90% of those surveyed said that their email channels were by far the most efficient way to distribute content.
Dependable, Reliable Email
So, why has this marketing channel remained in such good standing? Emails are often considered somewhat annoying and over-saturated, and we spend far too much time cleaning out accounts from spam mail. Not everyone is pleased with the junk mail that finds its way into their inbox, and to be honest it’s not ideal that this mail is delivered into the same place where work emails are sent either- even if it’s from site’s we’ve signed up to. But at the end of the day, email is now so integrated into our lives that we can put up with the odd piece of mail because of the high functionality of having an email address.
In today’s world of modern communication, we’re able to check emails quickly wherever we happen to be or whatever we’re doing, all at the same speed as we can check SM accounts. Email is also the number one method of digital communication for the post-millennial generation. Professionals too prefer a personal email for conversation compared to Facebook or Twitter which are more social than private.
Consumers are now well accustomed to getting their personal emails, newsletters, promotions, transactions from purchases into their account, so the process of buying and selling linked to an email account has already been established. This is true for B2B and B2C communications and social media just can’t compete. People expect email interaction.
The Best of Both Worlds
Marketing via email is coming back to the forefront once again in 2017, and marketers are slowly but surely realising that the efforts made on SMM haven’t borne the fruits they wished for- when they already were doing great with email marketing. However, SMM still does have many uses.
Both channels have their own roles to play. SM is imperative for creating attention and buzz about a certain brand, and whilst success can’t be measured in terms of your overall ROI through this channel, newsletters and email marketing campaigns have relied heavily on SM laying the groundwork for the branding.
The sales funnel needs to be taken as a whole and each method has it’s own place in the funnel according to Litmus’ Director of Research, Chad White. He points out that SM is more of a mid-funnel type of channel where news and announcements can be made, whereas email functions more of a low-funnel for sending promos and discounts.
SM Is more for adding flavour to your campaign but email is definitely still the place where sales are initiated and closed. To be at your height of effectiveness both channels need to be embraced, and both are important in their own aspects- businesses would do well to utilize each to the best of their potential to succeed.