If you want to build relationships, don’t forget the power of email marketing. Consumers may be addicted to social media but that doesn’t make it the best relationship marketing channel. While social is great for brand discovery and content sharing, it is an unreliable way to continually speak to your customers.
Even if someone goes so far as to like your Facebook page, essentially saying that they want to hear from you, there is no guarantee that they will see your message because of Facebook’s algorithms. A Facebook user could see something like 15,000 things in their newsfeed at any given time, so the social media user may never see all of the content shared by their friends and the fan pages they like. Facebook uses an algorithm to figure out the best content for each user. If somebody likes your brand’s Facebook page they only have a 6.5 percent chance of actually seeing one of your posts each time it comes out. So even though that consumer has liked you and told you that they want to hear from you, they won’t necessarily get every message that you put out there. The same is not true with email.
As long as you have a good deliverability score, if a consumer opts into your list, the chances are they are going to get your content in their inbox. This relationship is a lot more valuable because instead of catching you when they happen to be in their social news feed, your message exists in the inbox where consumers check all of their messages.
Another reason that email trumps social is that email can deliver more content, presenting more opportunity for interactions. Facebook allows for only one post at a time whereas in an email you can send a number of stories in one correspondence. For example, The Huffington Post sends out an email with multiple stories each day. This is beneficial because when the reader is done with one story, they often gravitate back into the email to read the others. Conversely, on Facebook, the consumer goes back into their social feed where they are more likely to interact elsewhere and disengage with your brand.
Email also gives senders more control. The direct relationship between a brand and its email subscriber means that anytime you want to reach out to your audience you can do it. You can reach out to them directly — without a third party or an algorithm that neither of you understand sitting between you. This ability to have a direct communication makes the relationship a lot more valuable, because there is a much better chance that the message will get to your subscriber every time that you send it.
Email is also better than social because it drives ROI. If someone likes your Facebook page it doesn’t necessarily translate into profits, however email subscribers are more likely to click-to-purchase or click-to-read your ad-supported content. There is a revenue opportunity, especially if you are sending ads in emails. Every time a subscriber opens an email, your company is earning revenue money from ad impressions. Every time they click to your website, you are drawing income from those ad impressions.
With Facebook and social media, a consumer might see something once or twice and then they are gone and onto other things. With email they are coming back again and again, helping to build an ongoing relationship. The more good content that you send them, the more likely that they are to click, and the more they click the higher the revenue potential and the better the relationship. These are the loyal customers that will subscribe to additional newsletters and respond to your surveys.
Email marketing is also preferable to social for building relationships because you can learn more about your customers and tailor your messaging to their preferences. While you can segment by age group, gender and location on Facebook, the targeting opportunities are limited. Email offers a much greater opportunity to truly personalize the content according to each individual. For instance, if someone sees a cute pair of shoes on Facebook and likes it, it is harder for a retailer to track that individual’s personal preferences. Maybe they like shoes, but they really spend their money on handbags. You wouldn’t know it from Facebook. In email, retailers can learn a consumer’s personal preferences based on their click, browse and purchase behavior. This allows you to segment more granularly and learn with your own personalization algorithm without relying on Facebook.
While social media has its benefits, if you want to engage with subscribers on a continual basis and build loyalty through content consumption, then email marketing is definitely your best bet.