Email Knocks Social Out Of The Park, Again

Email marketers can rejoice -- the new darling of the marketing team, social media, has been compared to the tried-and-tested medium of email. And guess who won? Come on, it's hardly a surprise, is it?

Email marketing reminds me of the days when in our 20s friends would use their first decent pay packages to buy sports cars while yours truly was in a low-cost Ford. One pal had a Maserati. I became very familiar with the shape of its boot while pushing it off the road to await tow trucks. Nowadays I have a pal with an Aston Martin. I haven't pushed it off the road yet, it's always in the garage for months on end being fixed. I now have a VW Polo that's a little battered and torn, but guess what -- it's not shiny and cool, but it's also not given me reason to call out a mechanic yet (I'm touch wood as I write this, so as not to tempt fate).

So it's very refreshing to see a blog beyond this one forget the hype and deal with the deliverables. The tone of Marketing Landfits neatly with how I have summed up social over the years. Sure, it's a great channel -- but you need followers and the site reveals that organic reach has been halved in 2016 as Facebook becomes more restrictive on which of your posts land on fans' timelines. 

The elephant in the room is that Facebook is an advertising channel. It's very much like Google. There's some organic exposure, but if you want to drive the numbers, you have to pay to get priority. And don't get me wrong -- its ad spaces are great for flicking through a mini catalogue, but let's not kid ourselves -- this is advertising to make up for the fans that Facebook is holding back from brands.

Now, nobody would ever suggest they have a deliverability rate of 100% of the email they send. But the huge difference is that your list is your list. It's not up to someone else to dictate what proportion of your list gets a message and which doesn't.

Email also gives you access to a two-way conversation that can be honed through personalisation. You can even find the best time to speak to certain group of customers. That's something you simply can't do on social. It's a case of putting up a message for everyone, and hoping it gets through. 

So that's it in a nutshell. There's plenty more you can say about each channel, but fundamentally, the difference between the two is that an email marketer has access to their entire list and can segment that list into niches who can be targeted individually. With social, you're reliant on organic reach that is beyond your control.

I'd concur with Marketing Land's advice. If you can do both, do so. If you have to pick, email is a very clear winner. It's yours, while social will always be partly someone else's.

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