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Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing in 2017

There is a lot of debate on the web about email vs. social media marketing. Both can be combined in your marketing strategy. But to know how to effectively build our businesses we must look at the numbers and see where to focus our resources.

And as we know, the world of technology is changing constantly. What may have been true last year might not be the same this year.

So let’s take a look at how email and social media marketing compare so far in 2017.

Email marketing stats

The numbers don’t lie. Email has 2.5 billion users worldwide (The Radicati Group, Inc., Email Statistics Report 2015-2019). That’s nearly three times the users as both Facebook and Twitter combined.

This suggests it’s a channel not to turn down. That’s a huge potential for generating traffic and revenue.

In addition, social media sites typically need an email address for people to sign up for them, or to reset passwords. So anyone using social media could also be assumed to be an email user. According to the CMO Council, email marketing brings in an average 4300% return on investment.

So while you may sometimes be tempted to think that email is dead, think again. And while social media platforms may come and go, it’s unlikely people will ever stop using email. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use social media marketing…but that email should be your first priority.

Effectiveness of email in B2B

We live in an age where businesses are able to make a personal connection with more customers than ever before through social media. But when it comes to communicating with other businesses, email is the better route. It is more personal and creates more of a trusting relationship.

And email is your opportunity to do some real marketing. Most people, even business professionals, don’t really want to be sold to on social media. Their purposes should be different. Use email as an opportunity to offer special sales and products to grow your business.

Social media is a great place to use more fun and creativity. Give people interesting tidbits, fun facts…but keep it light here. Get people to your email list and then do the more traditional marketing.

How to get in the inbox

Make sure you know how to jump through the hoops of email to use it effectively. Not only do you have to fight for attention in someone’s inbox, but it can be difficult to make it there in the first place.

The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that states the rules of commercial email use. You’ll probably want to read it in full if you use email marketing, but here are its main points:

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information
  • Don’t use deceptive subjective lines
  • Identify the message as an ad
  • Tell recipients where you’re located
  • Tell recipients how to opt out if they choose
  • Honor opt-out requests promptly
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf

To get your messages opened, you’ll need to spend time crafting your subject lines. They should be clear and reflect the content you’re sending…but you can also test out some ways to incorporate intrigue and humor. Here are some great examples.

Also be sure to keep your emails optimized for mobile use. Only about 25 characters are typically seen in a subject line on a mobile phone…so you need to pack a punch.

As far as the body content of email marketing goes, it’s basically the same concepts as any other form of marketing. Use email to build trust, build authority, and offer specials as you see fit. It’s a great opportunity to show a more personal side, since it’s in a personal format.

Here’s a fantastic guide on the basics of email marketing to get you started.

Email gets more attention from customers

With email, it’s much more likely that you’ll be able to gain the attention of the customer. Email allows you to make repeated contact that is “in your face.” It’s in their personal space rather than in a public timeline on Facebook or Twitter.

With social media, you have to hit the exact time window for maximum engagement. This often requires posting multiple times a day, which is a lot to keep track of. And there are the algorithms you have to deal with on Facebook. Even if someone chooses to follow you, they may never see your posts! Ultimate frustration for business owners.

But with email, your message doesn’t go anywhere. It stays in their inbox and waits for them. Give them great content, insider offers they won’t want to miss, and build their trust. If your emails are good enough that they know there’s always something good in it for them, they will open them…and maybe even look forward to them.

Email is better for sales

Since email is already a common means of making a purchase, customers are already expecting to get offers. So they are already subconsciously open to buying something.

This is an obvious leg up on social media, where people are there to catch up with people, share interesting things, or play games. On social media you have the additional task of putting people in a buying frame of mind, then selling to them.

With email, there is a shared opportunity both to share your value, and to offer sales. Customers can open your email when it is convenient to them, and you won’t need to catch them at the right time. Research from ExactTarget shows that the majority of consumers check their email before any social media, and that 77% of consumers prefer to receive promotional offers through email.

Email is still king

To summarize, according to both web research and opinion, email marketing still trumps social media marketing by a large margin. To see how all the numbers stack up, check out the 2016-2019 Statistics. And here’s a great post to motivate you to get to work on your email list by expert marketer and entrepreneur Derek Halpern.

What do you think? How do you currently focus your marketing efforts?

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