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Simon Washbrook

Is Social Media Killing Email Marketing?

Gone are the good old days when we would log-in to our email accounts and enthusiastically wait to hear a ping, and a display of the message: ‘You’ve got mail!’! Instead, our inbox is now at our disposal morning, noon and night, with regular pings around the clock via our smart phones, and we are inundated with a barrage of customer enquiries, sales promotions and offers of ‘little blue pills’ that promise to change our lives! What with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter accounts, and more, these developments have led many to say that social media is killing email marketing.

I would argue that nothing could be further from the truth. Email is at the heart of everything we do – personally and professionally. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) recently surveyed a number of UK business owners, who overwhelmingly voted email as their preferred communication method. As an email marketer, the challenge has moved from sending out thousands of emails in the hope that a few people will read and follow up, to doing it much smarter and more scientifically, and treating our data (no matter what the size) as ‘big data’.

Far From Social Media Killing Email Marketing, Email Marketing Is Focused

Understand who you are emailing, what they do, where they are based, what they are interested in; then segment it down into smaller groups that can be targeted with specific messages. Indirectly the use of targeting is one of the main reasons that social media has become so successful. Instead of sending our messages out to the whole of the Facebook database, we select our friends and then segment them further with the use of ‘tagging’, so that the relevant information is sent to the relevant people, meaning that what we post adds greater value to our readers. If we all applied this logic to our email databases, it would reduce the amount of SPAM in our inboxes, typically increase our response rates by 40 per cent, and reduce the number of unsubscribes you get. When we then combine this targeting with the reporting that an email marketing platform can provide, it becomes a really powerful lead generation tool.

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