Over recent years there have been a number of studies carried out to assess the difference in performance of email marketing compared to social media.
The general conclusion to date (2016) is that Email marketing is still acknowledged as one of the most effective and low cost marketing tools, especially in business to business (b2b) marketing.
Many polls have also indicated that businesses consider that email is still their preferred communication method as it is almost instant, it enables a record of communications to be kept and it is low cost – it saves on postage and stationery and you can even get email accounts for free if you want them.
A good tip for businesses doing email marketing – make sure that you use a bulk email provider (e.g. Mailchimp) for your email campaigns rather than trying to do it with your normal email tools (e.g. Outlook). There are several reasons for this.
If you suddenly send lots of emails from your normal email account, your provider could interpret this as unusual behaviour, assume it has been hacked and shut down the email account. This could take days to resolve so you could be without your email during this time.
Another major benefit is that bulk email accounts allow tracking and monitoring of your email campaigns and automate sign up and opt in and out management of email lists, this can save you a lot of time and effort. They also have lots of tried and tested email templates available for you to use.
The sophisticated bulk email systems these days also allow you to track “opens” and “clicks” etc in your campaigns, as well as enabling easy capture and sign-up to your mailing lists via forms on your website and in social media.
Regular email updates and newsletters to existing customers can be highly effective at maintaining contact with businesses and clients. By segmenting your email lists, they also allow you to easily target specific customers with specific, relevant messages.
Another top tip – NEVER buy in email lists. They are typically out of date and won’t be opted in or specific to your business. ALWAYS build your own lists. Bulk email providers also insist that you only use opted in lists and they check this.
For those of you who like statistics, there are 3 times more email accounts than there are Facebook & Twitter accounts combined. Apparently, your message is 5 times more likely to be seen through email than Facebook – remember that only a small percentage (typically 4% to 6% these days) of your fans/friends will actually see your posts due to the way Facebook’s algorithms work. Also, you are 6 times more likely to get a “click-through” from an email than you are from Twitter.
Before you rush off and ditch your social media accounts, you have to remember that you need to make use of as many marketing channels in your campaigns as you can since the end result is the “sum of the parts” so you actually need to be using email and social media together in order to maximise the results.
Combining these channels with other more traditional methods like flyers, direct mail and adverts, gives you a very powerful set of tools to market your business.