While email is a comparatively old, un-sexy technology compared to social media, the rallying cries of “Email is dead!” are simply inaccurate and undoubtedly hurting the bottom line of those businesses who listen.
Email marketing provides the most direct line of communication for turning leads into sales, which is why the savviest entrepreneurs have no intention of giving it up any time soon.
The truth is that you don’t even need to be on social media to make use of it.
Social networks thrive on the sharing of good content, and your only job is to give people something to share.
When they get to your site, your job is to continue communicating with them, and for that, email is the superior choice, avoiding just another update in an overcrowded Twitter stream.
Below, we’ll go over the truth of how these channels perform so that you’ll be able to get a clear picture as to why email isn’t dead, and won’t be dying anytime soon.
Breaking Down the Data
In order to convince you that email should be your #1 when it comes to communicating with customers, it’s time to bring out the statistics and data to examine how and why email use lends itself to better engagement.
In the sections below we’ll discuss just how much more effective email marketing is than social media marketing, with a particular focus on these three points:
- Email is more popular than social media.
- People guard their email accounts, so engagement is much higher.
- You’re competing with “fun” on social networks.
Ready to find out why these matter?
1. Email is More Popular than Social Media
According to a recent study by Ipsos, nearly 85 percent of people who use the web will use email, compared to only 62 percent who use social networking sites.
The key difference to note here is that all social networking sites were included in that 62 percent, which means that each individual site has far less of an audience than you think.
Email is universal, widely used, and still the de facto place where business is conducted online.
Worse yet, by using multiple social networks (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest), you’re spreading your audience across multiple platforms. Comparatively, a powerful email list can be a singular distribution channel for content and updates.
If you’re not sold yet on the power of email marketing, wait until you see the statistics below.
2. Engagement is Much Higher via Email
As an AWeber user, I’m regularly checking my open and click-through rates on recent broadcasts (it’s just as addicting as checking Google Analytics!).
After compiling an average of some data from my newsletter, it was apparent that reader engagement via email was incredibly strong.
Better still, since we began heavily focusing on email marketing at Help Scout, we’ve regularly seen open rates of greater than 21 percent.
To put these numbers into context: a myriad of data compiled on Twitter shows that the average click-through rate rarely tops 1.64 percent. Without paying for promotion, the average Facebook post is even worse. This is compared to email open rates, which hover around ~20% for many industries and can go up to as high as 40, 50, and 60 percent (and beyond!).
(Paying to reach the fans you already earned? We’ll pass.)
According to data compiled by Litmus, an email marketing analytics company, email regularly offers better value per dollar spent than even search and paid ads:
|Email$40 for every $1 spent
|Keyword Ads$17 for every $1 spent
|Banner Ads$2 for every $1 spent
Email has higher conversion rates per session than search and social combined:
It’s easy to see that an engaging newsletter is a win-win. You get to send out valuable content to current customers and prospects who have an interest in your industry; in return, you’re able to maximize one of the most powerful, personal marketing channels available on the cluttered mess that is the internet.
Perhaps best of all, however, is that you don’t have to compete with a myriad of distractions that are present on social networks. I’ll outline a few of these problems in the section below.
3. Email is Made for Business
An explanation that many miss when evaluating why social media updates, ads, and even promoted posts are so ignored is the fact that you are competing with fun on social media.
When the average user logs into Facebook, they want to see new pictures from last Friday night (so they can un-tag any unsightly evidence), updates from family members who are out of state, and witty status updates from their friends.
Thus, not only does email trump social media in both quantity (more users) and quality (better engagement), it also has another factor going for it—it’s a platform that was made for business.
Social media streams are filled to the brim with items users don’t mind being seen publicly.
Email as a communication channel is personal.
As consumers, we are therefore naturally more receptive to things in our inbox— which most of us tend to guard like a mother bear guards her cubs—because they are filled with things we elect to see with some privacy.
This more intimate medium of communication lends itself to more honest decisions; that’s an important reason why people will always be “warmer” to being sold on their interests via email, and just another reason why email will always beat social media marketing.