This is the third in a series of columns on “digital marketing made simple” by Constant Contact’s Ron Cates.
I love social media, and I find it especially powerful as a marketing tool. But social media marketing doesn’t replace email marketing.
In most cases, the two work together so well that to engage in social media marketing without an email strategy can nullify your impact completely.
Who will you ignore?
Today, your customers, prospects and stakeholders communicate in a variety of ways. Some love Twitter, some Facebook, some even prefer (gasp!) direct mail.
Which segment are you going to ignore? Which segment can you afford to ignore?
Marketing today cannot revolve solely around your preferred communication style. You have to communicate in a style your customers and prospects like.
Email: the original social media
Email is still today’s common denominator of communication.
Email is the original social media. It is the core of social media.
More importantly, email allows you to monetize social media.
Preferred marketing vehicle
Consumers in the U.S. use email as their primary communication vehicle. It’s also their preferred choice when it comes to receiving marketing messaging. This is because they can control email marketing – opting in, opting out, deleting it or ignoring it altogether.
The overwhelming majority – 95% – of Internet users between ages 18 and 64 use email. Most use it several times a day, every day. More than half check email more than six times a day!
Older consumers, especially
What about those ages 65 and over, you ask? An even higher percentage of Internet users in this age group use email. And their use of email is growing faster, by more than double, than that of any other demographic group.
In most cases, email access is the sole reason they purchased a computer.
At age 75, these folks didn’t hop out of bed and buy a computer because they wanted to master PowerPoint. (Okay, at 75 they probably didn’t hop out of bed, period.) They bought a computer because they wanted to communicate with their friends and family, and email is how that’s done today.
Reports of death greatly exaggerated
Last year, a nonsensical headline in my local newspaper (I read it online, of course) caught my attention. I wanted to ignore it, and I was hoping no one else would see it. Unfortunately, it was picked up by every news service in the country.
The headline proclaimed, “Email is dead.”
This was a quote from the COO of Facebook, so perhaps there was a small conflict of interest. (Extreme irony: Facebook came out with its own email service soon after.) A few months later, I read that Facebook was dead. This made me feel much better.
In 2010, the cover of Wired Magazine proclaimed, “The Web is dead.” Last month, I read that blogging is dead.
I don’t know about you, but I missed these funerals. I still use all of these tools every day, and I have a large audience that uses all these tools every day.
More social media = more email
Recently, Gallup did a survey that looked at whether people become less involved with email as they become more involved in social media.
What they found was the opposite – more social media means more email.
In the U.S. alone, more than 235 million people send and read email, every day, many times a day.
Can you ignore email? Is email really dead? Maybe you don’t need it after all, as long as you already have more than 235 million paying customers.
Digital marketing expert Ron Cates, director of new market development for Constant Contact, is a popular presenter on the topics of social media and email marketing, as well as host of Email Marketing Radio and Social Media Nation.