Social media has been a primary focus of marketers and executives over the last two years. Companies have been setting up Facebook Pages, getting active on Twitter, implementing monitoring and analytics tools, and trying to figure out this rapidly growing new medium. Social media has been the shiny, new marketing object.
Meanwhile, email became passé. It wasn’t cool to run email newsletters and engage users through email—that was so 2005. But wait! According to the Direct Marketing Association, email outperforms social media advertising three-to-one.
Email is personal
Email may not be sexy, but it’s far more intimate than Facebook or Twitter. It’s a direct line of communication between you and your customers.
Social media is primarily a broadcast mechanism. A tweet or a Facebook update can be read by anyone, where as email is one-to-one.
A primary goal of social media is to create engagement. The more people who like, comment or share your posts the better. Engagement increases exposure. Email on the other hand is closer to a phone conversation. If the reader chooses to respond, their response is for you.
The intimacy of email makes it a very potent marketing engine, because it is closer to the natural order of relationships. Email requires trust and rapport for a customer to share their personal contact information. Email also comes with an understanding. Customers expect a higher level of content and communication from email than they do from any other medium. And if that trust is ever broken, the user unsubscribes and the dialogue is lost.
Enhance your relationships with email
Building a strong audience of followers on social networks is important, but don’t let the dialogue end there. Build upon the engagement, and encourage your users to subscribe to your email content. Give your followers a reason to get even more intimate with your brand.
Many companies gave email a bad name, because they spammed their users incessantly with weak and irrelevant content, and promotions. There’s nothing more frustrating than scrolling through crap on your smartphone.
What kind of communications can you offer your audience that is unique, relevant and helpful?
Focus on your customers. I doubt your audience is looking for email updates about your company, your products or your industry. What do they need? What do they want? Email is an intimate dialogue. A good rule of thumb is email is not about you, it’s about them.
Reinvest in email marketing
Your database is your most important marketing asset. It’s a direct line of communication between you and your customers, prospects, partners and centers of influence.
A follower may or may not see an update on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. It could get lost in the clutter, or it may not even be delivered. Email on the other hand will get through.
Grow your list. Capture and manage the contact information, because communicating through email provides a vehicle that will grow your brand, build relationships and drive sales—better than any other tool available.