For all the talk about the importance of social media marketing – and social is important – there’s one social medium that connects you directly with your customers, produces above average results, is easily measured and gets all-around love from its practitioners: email.
Email is still one of the most productive forms of media around. According to the Datran Media Annual Marketing and Media Survey, 39% of marketing executives named email their strongest performing advertising channel last year, ahead of search, offline, affiliates, social and so on. Why is it so popular?
According the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 89% of internet users go online to send or read email. It’s also the most common online activity regardless of age (search is typically either tied for first or is #2). So you’re likely to be able to connect with your customers regardless of their demographic. Microsoft’s Hotmail and Yahoo! claim to have over 360 million and 275 million active accounts, respectively.
In my own experience, email marketing frequently outperforms other media in terms of conversion and revenue per sale. It’s even inspiring innovative thinking in terms of meaningful metrics, such as Loren McDonald’s recent “EmailGeekonomics” column.
(On a side note, I loved McDonald’s mention of “Moneyball” in talking about developing your metrics. That’s exactly the kind of creative thinking you can use in improving your business, too. You can read my review of “Moneyball” here.)
The only downside of email marketing is getting your customers to sign up for it. In fact, many businesses I know fail to measure email signup as a conversion action on their site. Lucky for you that you’re not one of them, right?
I know I don’t talk about email all that often. Yes, we’ve talked about how to increase your opt-in list. But I think I’ve taken it for granted all these years, this little channel that keeps on giving. So, as you move forward with your social media marketing and with search, make sure you’re not treating your email list as your “forgotten social network.”
Thanks and acknowledgements: Hat tip to Mark Brownlow for links to the Hotmail and Yahoo! email account numbers.
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