Is Email Marketing Still Relevant in the Age of Social Media?

by Christy Rakoczy on December 3, 2013
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With so many small businesses interacting directly with customers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, email can seem outdated as a marketing tool.

But don’t write it off just yet. Email is still very relevant to business marketing. In fact, email marketing and social networking should go hand in hand in your efforts to build relationships with clients, boost your search-engine rankings, and grow your brand online.

Why Email Marketing Matters

Although U.S. internet users spend 27 percent of online time on social networking, Experian Marketing Services reports that email ranks as the top category for the amount of time users spend on mobile devices.

Email marketing is also a significantly better investment than social media marketing. In 2011, the “Power of Direct” from the Direct Marketing Association reported social media marketing has a return on investment of $12.71 in earnings for each ad dollar a business spends, but email marketing has a staggering 4,000 percent return on investment, earning almost $41 in profits for each $1 outlay.  A 2013 DMA report in Britain also indicated respondents earned an average return of £21.48 for each £1 they spent in 2012 on email marketing.

Marketing professionals know this, and in 2013, 64 percent of businesses responding to an iContact survey reported that they were integrating their email marketing with their social media campaigns.

How to Use Email With Social Media

To join the ranks of expert email marketers in the social media age, try these strategies:

  • Combine email with social networking as part of a comprehensive marketing plan. Include social media buttons and links in email correspondence to connect readers to your social media profiles and to allow blog posts to be shared. Companies like MailChimp also allow you to incorporate “like” buttons into email newsletters, so if a reader likes what he reads in the email, he can post an update to his Facebook page with either a custom message about your email campaign or a stock message with the subject of the email.
  • Run contests and sweepstakes or offer giveaways via social media and your website. Ask users who enter or take advantage of the giveaway to provide their email addresses to build your email list.
  • Make your email newsletters mobile-friendly. Email is routinely accessed on smartphones and thus should be easy to read and share with friends on mobile platforms.
  • Post copies of your email newsletters on your social media accounts and in newsletter directories. This way, your content can be discovered by and shared with more users.
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