How does that stack up to email, then? Well, this study by DM News seems to suggest that that the average marketing email list outnumbers Facebook fans by 70 to 1. That’s huge. And it needs to be corrected. According to that same study, only 10% of marketers included an opt-in option on their branded Facebook page.
Email is also much more likely to be viewed by subscribers or fans of your company. Facebook (and Google to a smaller extent) have recently been catching a lot of flak for “personalized results”. That is, if you search for something on Google, or if you monitor your news feed on Facebook, you will only see the things the respective sites think you want to see, effectively filtering out a large percentage of results. So while you may be posting great content to your social media page, there’s a good chance a large number of your fans aren’t even seeing it. With email marketing, this barrier is gone. Unless you’ve been relegated to the spam folder, your subscribers will at least see your message, even if they don’t open it.
So which one should be the winner? I think that’s entirely the wrong question. It’s short-sighted and ineffective to immediately jump on the latest bandwagon and ignore proven methods. A better idea is to combine your efforts and let one feed off the other. Email marketing has a strong track record of building sales and generating revenue directly. Facebook and Twitter? It happens sometimes, but it’s rare and is generally seen as a “branding” mechanism, often with little work done to see if the results of that “branding” actually have a positive ROI. So why not combine the two? Include an opt-in email list signup on your branded facebook page, and link to your Facebook page from your emails. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and to ditch email marketing in liu of the shiny new thing du jour is akin to ditching your best-selling product just because something newer hit the market.
Ultimately, the best part of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing is the fact that everything is interlinked and interconnected. Take advantage of that potential synnergy and you will see returns in spades, both in increased sales and in increased branding.