Has Social Media Replaced Email Marketing?

Do you worry about lagging behind other companies in the rush toward the social media marketing revolution? Or do you spend so long updating your status, posting, and tweeting that you have little time left to run your business? If we are to believe the hype, email marketing is outdated and a successful marketing campaign revolves around your company’s social media presence. But how true is that for the average business?

Only 5% of visitors to retail websites identify social media as their primary influence, according to a survey published in February 2011 by ForeSee Results, a global leader in technology-driven customer satisfaction analytics. Contrast that with 19% of visitors reporting promotional emails as their primary influence, second only to familiarity with the brand (38%).

Perhaps this should not surprise us when we consider consumer preferences. In a study published in April 2011, AOL and Neilsen identified that 66% of content is shared via email, compared with 28% on social networks. In the ForeSee Results survey, 8% of online shoppers identified social media as their preferred way to interact with a retailer. Promotional emails came out on top with 64%.

When we examine the statistics, it’s clear that email marketing is alive and kicking. What are the benefits of email marketing compared to social media?

1. Email content can be tailored to customer preferences based on their previous interactions with your company. Relevant content is more likely to encourage customers to click through to your website than a generic wall post.

2. Social media websites are virtual billboards. No matter how much information you post, consumers will only view it if they choose to navigate to your page. In contrast, permission-based email marketing fires your message right into the customer’s inbox.

3. Email is a better platform than social networking sites for the type of high-quality, in-depth content that will interest and engage your customers in the long-term.

Far from being outdated, email marketing’s ability to match customer communication preferences, together with the benefits of customization, active reach and content quality, make it a vital part of any company’s marketing strategy.