Social Media or Email Marketing – what works better for online marketing? Should they be used together or are they purely mutually exclusive? The question to these answers is not as simple as it may seem. More and more email marketers are joining the social media bandwagon to cope with digital marketing revolution. I believe that to be a successful online marketer, you need to use the best of both worlds – email marketing as well as social media.
Why Email Marketing Rules?
I believe that Email Marketing provides massive untapped potential to reach out to prospect customers in a more private and intimate way than most social networks. However, there’s a thin line between effective email marketing and spam marketing.
Email is the ‘tried-and-tested’ technique of online marketing and it will be difficult for any social network (be it Facebook or twitter) to completely eliminate Email Marketing.
Social Media as an Online Marketing Tool
Many detractors of Email Marketing claim that email is not built for socializing and I whole-heartedly agree with them. Email has always been a simple, easy to use and non-glamorous marketing tool. In fact, the rise of social media has been largely built on the email experience by adding more features and throwing in more interactivity.
Contrary to Email, Social Media offers many innovative marketing techniques – online video promotions (YouTube), audio podcasts, Fan Pages (Facebook), tweets and pins (Twitter and Pinterest). It allows reaching out to a large number of people on different networks amidst different walks of life. However, it comes with a greater responsibility as well.
A Statistical Comparison
A study conducted by eMarketer.com indicates that Email is still the king of online sharing and that too by a fair distance as compared to its closest competitors. Further, Email Marketing promises more page views per click when compared with any social networking platform.
Similarly, another report from StrongMail suggests that Email Marketing still ranks as the primary choice of most online marketers.
As many as 69% Marketing Programs indicated a strong preference for Email Marketing as compared to 59% who opted for Social Media.
How About Social Media + Email Marketing Together?
In my opinion, the debate about Social Media vs. Email Marketing is a non-starter. These are two distinct ways of online marketing which can be combined together to achieve maximum benefits. I certainly do not believe that social networks signal the death of email as a marketing channel. Neither am I a strong opponent of continuing to live in the email age despite a plethora of social media networks cropping up on the internet every alternate day.
Many referral campaigns and incentive-based promotions have benefited from the combo of Email + Social Media Marketing. The socialization of Email Marketing is a reality and the sooner this reality is accepted by online marketers, the better it is for their business. Marketers must realize what works best in a specific scenario and then take an educated decision on the appropriate online marketing channel.
Here’s an interesting infographic from VisibleGains that could help you in your decision making process on the subject:
Coming back to the original question – will Social Media destroy Email Marketing? No, I don’t think so. After all, email was the first ever passive social media network itself! If you think likewise, I’ll be glad to hear from you. If you think otherwise, I’ll be eager to hear from you.