Email: Need a Lift?
Contrary to popular belief, social media will not kill email. The death of email at the hands of social media is greatly debated, and fueled by research from comScore, which reports that time spent on Web-based email declined by 8 percent in 2010, while time spent using social networks grew by 36 percent. Even as social media redefines how people share information, email use by marketers continues to thrive. Forrester Research projects that email marketing will grow by more than $4 billion by 2012.
Although traditional email is a cornerstone of marketing, the adoption of social media continues to change the landscape. Ideally, any digital marketing strategy will encompass both social media and email marketing. That said, they each have unique strengths:
● Email communicates best with individuals: Customers can be targeted for digital marketing campaigns, and organizations can optimize messaging to respond to individual behaviors. Success can be tied to revenue, customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, traditional email marketing is not ideally suited for ongoing dialog, and remains largely isolated from social media conversations.
● Social media communicates best to demographics: Conversely, social media is informal and organic. It's inexpensive to start, and developing the channel can contribute to the bottom line. According to a 2010 Syncapse study, "The Value of a Facebook Fan," (opens as a PDF) the average value of said fan to a brand is an additional $136.38 a year.
Organizations that participate on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn can easily share posts that contain news, links to promotions or special offers to large numbers of followers. When a customer likes, comments, +1's, or re-tweets a post, it is shared with their followers, greatly increasing the reach of the marketing message.
Good social media communications create compelling social content that is highly targeted and shareable, and often features customer contributions. Social media analytics are not as standardized as analytics for email, but significant progress is being made to measure ROI.