Is Email Marketing Still Effective in Today's Business World?
In far less than a decade the marketing landscape has changed completely for businesses both large and small. Online marketing has slowly taken over from offline techniques and, over the last few years especially the focus for many has been on SMM - social media marketing. So much so that some people, especially small business owners, have moved away from the tried and true practice of email marketing in favor of reaching out to customers and prospects via one - or usually more - of the many social media channels that businesses can make use of.
Abandoning email altogether can be a big mistake though, as there are still plenty of good reasons that a strong email marketing campaign can still be one of the biggest weapons in a business' marketing arsenal. Here are some of the most compelling of those reasons:
One on One Conversation
Social media channels - whether you are talking Facebook, Twitter, G+, Linkedin or even Pinterest - tend to be very noisy places. In the average users timeline/newsfeed there tend to be dozens of posts competing for a consumers' attention at any given time. The chances that your message will even be seen among all of these updates is very small compared to the chances that an email with a strong subject line would be noticed in an inbox.
Whatever social network you happen to use, on average only about 10-20% will ever even see your post. An email will reach every single one of the customers on your mailing list, it is then your job to make it compelling enough for them to open it and spend a few minutes reading it, but that is a different issue altogether.
There was time when an email was a text only document but that is no longer the case. Today's email templates allow you to add images, videos and even audio clips to a single message. This means that you can offer a richer multimedia experience to consumers within a single message than you can in a single post or tweet.
Almost all social media updates have to be short, as that is the nature of these platforms. That does make them ideal for quick connections, or as a way to direct users to longer form content elsewhere (on your website for example) An email newsletter however offers you the chance to offer long form content directly, and if that content is compelling a reader may spend up to five minutes reading it, as opposed to the five seconds they are likely to devote to your social media update.
Achieving a Great Balance
In the end, the simple fact is that in today's marketing plans both email and social media have an important place and can in fact be used to compliment and boost one another's effectiveness. Social media can be, for example, a great place to build an email list. Updates on social media can be used to create interest in your brand and then a consumer can confirm that interest by signing up for your email newsletter, creating the deeper engagement that will be needed to 'close a sale'.
In turn, by including social sharing buttons within the body of an email you can have your customers do a little free marketing for you by encouraging them to share content that interest them with their social circles.
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