There’s no question social media has revolutionized the way people communicate. It’s also had a significant impact on businesses interact with their customers, particularly in the B2C marketplace. And now it’s getting huge attention in the B2B sphere as companies try to figure out to use it to their advantage and the potential for return on investment. In fact, many are investing heavily in social media marketing campaigns chasing elusive ‘likes’ and followers, without fully understanding why. At the same time, they’re neglecting tools that are extremely cost effective and provide a high return on investment.
Email is a perfect example. In the rush to find ways to engage on Twitter or build a better Facebook page, people often overlook the ongoing ability to engage effectively on email with people actually wanting to hear from you. Email marketing continues to deliver results and in fact, can be an important social media tool itself.
Business Email Drives Growth
In its annual study of worldwide email statistics, The Radicati Group says there are 3.1 billion active email accounts globally, with that number expected to increase at an annual growth rate of more than 6% over the next four years. Much of that growth is expected to come from new business accounts. Currently personal accounts outnumber business email accounts three-to-one. As people shift more of their personal interaction to social media, business-related email is continuing to grow. Another key trend in the growth of business email is the extension of email to employees who traditionally don’t have regular access to computers for their jobs, resulting from the explosion in smart phones and other mobile devices that can easily access email.
Growth alone isn’t enough to ensure the continued relevance of email marketing. Consider some other factors.
First, it’s extremely cost effective. Email marketing platforms make it extremely easy to integrate email into websites and social media platforms and create engaging campaigns with high reach potential for minimum cost. Consider this. An email address is required to sign up to Twitter and Facebook.
Second, it’s reliable. Today’s technology and anti-spam technology ensures high delivery rates and easy tracking.
Third, it takes advantage of one of your most valuable assets: your database. Companies often ignore the database they’ve built over the years in the pursuit of new customers. You need to do both. Effective email campaigns can engage your current users while reaching out to new ones.
Finally, it’s social. In fact, email marketing was one of the earliest forms of social media marketing. People signed up for information, a newsletter, to purchase something or to just stay in touch, and you started to talk with them; plus these messages were forwarded to others. Email made it easy to engage with the people important to your organization and build a relationship.
Important Social Media Tool
Today, email continues to be one of the most important social media tools in your marketing toolkit. It engages, it nurtures and it drives sales. It can also help channel customers to your broader social media platforms where you can start bigger conversations. The best way to have potential followers and fans find you on social media is to tell them you’re there – and email is the easiest and most-cost effective way to do it. Plus, you can encourage recipients to share the content you send them through their own social media channels, further extending your reach.