Social media activity continues to grow at an astonishing rate, with billions of tweets and mentions a day. This is no indicator that email activity is declining, in fact in the over 55 age group, email usage is actually increasing.
Yet there are examples of companies stopping email marketing altogether in favour of only using social media to communicate with their customers. In our recent round table we discussed whether email marketing was going to be replaced by social media.
People’s interaction with email is ever-changing, whereas once there was a ‘right’ time or day to send an email marketing campaign, it isn’t that simple anymore. People read emails multiple times, they triage them and decide to read them in more depth later, they read long emails on their smartphones during their commute, they read business emails on the weekend. All of these behaviours have occurred in the last few years, and break all the pre-existing ‘rules’ of email marketing.
Switching off email marketing altogether in favour of social media risks alienating these email users. Any marketer who has spent years building their email database would weep at the thought of just stopping communicating with a base of opted-in subscribers.
Social media marketing is also ever changing, and brands are continually learning what works best for them. Getting the frequency and tone of messages right is just the start, and we are now seeing more data on what makes people un-follow a brand.
The ability for fans and followers to digest the ever-increasing volume of messages on their wall or feeds will soon replicate the problem of spam in the inbox, so effectiveness will be likely to decline over time. Remaining relevant will always be the key to driving engagement.
Inclusion of social components within email marketing drives increased overall effectiveness, and using email and social media together will show more results than choosing one option over another. Consumers, readers, followers expect to have a choice in how they engage with your brand – switching one option off entirely removes that choice.