Social Media or Email Marketing – what works better for online
marketing? Should they be used together or are they purely mutually
exclusive? The question to these answers is not as simple as it may
seem. More and more email marketers are joining the social media
bandwagon to cope with Web 2.0 revolution. I believe that to be a
successful online marketer, you need to use the best of both worlds
– email marketing as well as social media.
Why Email Marketing Rules?
I believe that Email Marketing provides massive untapped potential
to reach out to prospect customers in a more private and intimate
way than most social networks. However, there’s a thin line between
effective email marketing and spam marketing.
Email is the ‘tried-and-tested’ technique of online marketing and
it will be difficult for any social network (be it Facebook or
twitter) to completely eliminate Email Marketing.
Social Media as an Online Marketing Tool
Many detractors of Email Marketing claim that email is not built
for socializing and I whole-heartedly agree with them. Email has
always been a simple, easy to use and non-glamorous marketing tool.
In fact, the rise of social media has been largely built on the
email experience by adding more features and throwing in more
Contrary to Email, Social Media offers many innovative marketing
techniques – online video promotions (YouTube), audio podcasts, Fan
Pages (Facebook) and tweets (Twitter). It allows reaching out to a
large number of people on different networks amidst different walks
of life. However, it comes with a greater responsibility as well.
A Statistical Comparison
A study conducted by eMarketer indicates that Email is still
the king of online sharing and that too by a fair distance as
compared to its closest competitors. Further, Email Marketing
promises more page views per click when compared with any social
Similarly, the 2010 – 2011 Marketing Trends report from StrongMail
suggests that Email Marketing still ranks as the primary choice of
most online marketers.
As many as 51% Marketing Programs indicated a strong preference for
Email Marketing as compared to 49% who opted for Social Media.
How About Social Media + Email Marketing Together?
In my opinion, the debate about Social Media vs. Email Marketing is
a non-starter. These are two distinct ways of online marketing
which can be combined together to achieve maximum benefits.
I certainly do not believe that social networks signal the death of
email as a marketing channel. Neither am I a strong opponent of
continuing to live in the email age despite a plethora of social
media networks cropping up on the internet every alternate day.
Many referral campaigns and incentive-based promotions have
benefited from the combo of Email + Social Media Marketing. The
socialization of Email Marketing is a reality and the sooner this
reality is accepted by online marketers, the better it is for their
business. Marketers must realize what works best in a specific
scenario and then take an educated decision on the appropriate
online marketing channel.
Coming back to the original question – will Social Media destroy
Email Marketing? No, I don’t think so. After all, email was the
first ever passive social media network itself!
CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF THAT SAYS, “IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP”;
IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP ONLY WHEN YOU FAIL TO TAKE OTHERS ALONG.
To your success!