Email is like the veteran of the marketing domain. Many marketers still swear by it and the reasons are quite evident.
As per joint research by WBR digital and Emarsys, 81% of surveyed 254 retail professionals believe that email marketing is the best tactic for customer acquisition and 80% believe that email marketing is also best for customer retention. In contrast, only 51% and 44% considered social media marketing as a good tactic for customer acquisition and retention respectively.
Clearly, email marketing is superior to social media when it comes to building long-term relationships. In fact, a simple search brings innumerable articles that pitch email marketing against social media, and based on where the affiliation lies, either one emerges as the winner. But what if we combine both forms of marketing in such a manner that the fallacies of one are counteracted by the advantages of the other? Before we do so, it is important to understand the capability of each.
Email Marketing v/s Social Media
Pros of Email Marketing
Reach: As per an observation by AdAge, a social media post only reaches around 7% of your followers, whereas emails enjoy almost 21% open rates. An email sent to 1000 subscribers will be opened by at least 210 people whereas a tweet will be read by a measly 70 people. This is generally low owing to the frequent changes to the algorithm that hampers the organic reach of your social media post.
Higher click rate: Segmentation means that relevant emails reach the interested subscribers, and a personalized email message means your subscriber connects with your brands more efficiently. Except for sending DMs (and personalizing each message), social media takes a hit in this case.
Higher conversion rates: Since subscribing to a mailing list means subscribers are providing explicit consent to be mailed promotional content about a specific product they are interested in, there is a greater chance of them converting. In the case of social media, the follower maybe just interested in the updates and not necessarily be in the purchasing stage.
Better ROI: As per DMA, email has an ROI of 122%, which is 4x higher than other marketing formats.
Pros of Social Media Marketing
Higher engagement rate: As stated earlier, a follower may be interested in the updates from a brand and this means visits to the blog, podcast or website of a brand will be super high from a social media post than from an email newsletter.
Virality: Even though email has the provision of being forwarded, people are more likely to share a social media post that is viral or becomes viral owing to the number of people sharing it. When you want to go viral, social media is your best bet.
Better for brand visibility: Social media is all about being visual. Your branding is your digital face. People recognize your brand from your branding, logos, fonts, etc. A tweet created with your branding in mind will be more registered in your followers’ minds than from an email to your subscribers.
Easier scope for advertising: While emails carry personalized messages, social media can be leveraged to share your display ads to the correct demographics of your target audience.
In a nutshell, social media helps more in engaging with your audience and email converts your subscribers better.
How can social media help your email marketing game?
Retargeting ads to catch up on inactive email subscribers: More than two thirds (67%) of potential customers are unsure of what company to buy from. Re-engagement emails and retargeting ads are the best bets for touching base with your indecisive subscribers.
By including a tracking pixel in your email, you can retarget those subscribers who are on the fence about making a purchase from your brand. With the help of the tracking pixel, you can pinpoint the last email they opened. Following this, your subscriber will see display ads with a relevant message on popular social media platforms, which motivates the visitor to make a decision.
Social media posts to increase email list: As discussed earlier, a social media post has greater chances of becoming viral and bringing in more engagement as compared to an email. You can make the most of this to increase your email list.
The most obvious ways of doing this are:
- Talk about your opt-in offers on all social media platforms
- Promote your opt-in offers with paid ads
- Convert visitors to subscribers by driving traffic to your website
In fact, MVMT watches followed this tactic to increase their revenue by 98% (no that’s not a typo).
They used social media to grow their mailing list by encouraging visitors to subscribe.
They integrated user-generated content and social media conversions to tell their brand story over email.
Once the emails were sent to their mailing list, the urgency was created for the email recipient to take action.
How can email marketing help your social media game?
Social Buttons in email footer: This is a common practice amongst different brands to include buttons to redirect the subscribers to their brand’s dedicated social media accounts.
Asana’s lead nurturing email has buttons for social media for the subscribers to be turned into followers.
Live Social media feeds in an email: People love recognition especially from brands they like. Litmus used this ideology to promote “The Email Design Conference 2015” by including a live Twitter scroller right in their email.
With the help of CSS nested inside empty <div> containers and other technical hacks, the email would dynamically fetch Twitter users’ names, handles, timestamps, and tweet copy. For those curious among you, you can learn more about how this stunt was pulled off in their blog.
The takeaway from this is that Litmus managed to increase their social media traffic by this email, and this greatly helped in trending their hashtags, which in turn increased their social media reach.
Drive your subscribers to your Pulse and SlideShare platforms: Most of the B2B brands prefer to express their thoughts and ideas on their professional network using LinkedIn Pulse and SlideShare. If you are one such brand that dishes out valuable and insightful content on Pulse and SlideShare, you can increase your reader base by creating email newsletters containing snippets of your article that can be forwarded easily by your subscriber throughout their network.
In the above example, the subscriber was suggested to check a link to an article and there is a request for them to share this article by clicking the tweetable link.
As stated earlier, social media is useful for engaging with your audience, and emails convert your subscribers better. Instead of pitching both against each other, marketers need to follow suggestions provided here, to combine both these marketing channels to enhance your brand engagement with subscribers and followers.