Email vs Social… The Battle That Never Was

Angela Cheong
Jul. 18, 2013 by Angela Cheong

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

It seems almost cliche to be discussing the value of email versus search, as it seems long established that email and social media both occupy a unique position in the marketing ecosystem. Each individual channel has its role to play in customer engagement. I’ve definitely been driven to buy more from emails than social media, but that doesn’t mean businesses should scrap social completely when it comes to a cross-channel strategy. When social media and email marketing are integrated into a seamless campaign, they drive results, engagement and ROI that far outweighs the benefits of using each channel in silos.

It Should Never Have Been Social Vs. Email

Chad White makes a valid point that the intention of customers when they follow businesses on social channels is different from when they subscribe to email lists. Social media is a mid-funnel channel and works best for awareness-building and customer interactions. On the other hand, email is a low funnel channel. Customers who subscribe have buying intent and the overwhelming reason for signing up is receiving discounts and promotions. Basically? Social media and email are sequential elements of the sales funnel, that do not compete, but instead complement.

How To Integrate Email And Social Media To Increase Engagement

I confess that I’m not immune to an email with the subject line “50% off – 48 hour sale” as it not only offers an incentive, but creates a sense of urgency. Here are other ways to drive engagement through social media integration, aside from the subject line.

  1. Generate interaction with emails – ask questions and solicit feedback.
  2. Use email to inspire social interaction through like and share buttons.
  3. Use social media to boost email subscriptions such as a link to subscribe to an email list.

Gain Subscriptions Through Facebook

Brand Advocates Choose Email Over Social For Referrals

A SocialTwist study shows that 55.4% of brand advocates chose email as their sharing channel, 41.8% chose Facebook and 2.6% chose Twitter. Social followers who referred brands used email as their primary sharing channel. 85% of brand advocates’ reach came from Facebook, versus 12% from email. New customers were primarily through obtained through email. Here’s a breakdown of  new customers by referring channels:

  • Email – 50.8%
  • Twitter – 26.8%
  • Facebook – 22%
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn – 0.4%

Distribution of Email vs Social Influence

Perhaps the key takeaway from the researchers?

“Marketers should avoid falling into perception traps – like email marketing is somehow vastly different from social marketing. Anything that connects consumers is social.”

Email and Search Deliver More Customers Than Social Media

A report by Custora states that 15.8% of online e-commerce customers is acquired through organic search, followed by 9.8% for cost per click. Since 2009, customer acquisition through email has quadrupled to 6.8%. Facebook accounted for 0.17% and Twitter less than 0.01%.

Customer Acquisition Through Email

Email Isn’t Dead

The Value of Email

Want to learn how to extend your reach through email? Download our free Email Best Practices 101 eBook to increase the chances of getting into your customer’s inbox!

Email Best Practices eBook

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