Content That Sticks: The Lasting Value of Email
Does email marketing have a hidden value, one not obvious to the metrics seekers and data collectors but important none the less?
I would argue yes. And that this hidden value is yet another reason to invest properly in your email marketing program. The hidden value? Longevity.
While reading a MarketingSherpa blog about a study, I was particularly struck by the headline: “Twitter has highest amplification rate, email has highest conversion rate.”
Other studies I’ve seen recognize the value in an email share over a social media share. The social media channels tend to have higher rates of sharing, but the email shares tend to have higher rates of conversion. And in the end, conversion is the name of the game, because neither a Facebook like nor a tweet are money in the bank. Sales are.
That got me thinking about the other aspects of email that are unique when compared to social media as a marketing tool. Let’s consider the lifespan of different forms of information, for example. I’ve heard experts say a Facebook wall post has a lifespan of about 15 minutes. Of course that varies from company to company and brand to brand, but still, we all know that Facebook post is more of a here today gone tomorrow kind of marketing. Tweets have even shorter lifespans. And both Facebook and Twitter have a lot of clutter and competition, maybe even more so than the inbox email marketing competes in.
An email, on the other hand, can hang around for a long, long time. I personally will keep an email in my inbox until I either get around to reading it (an email newsletter), responding to it (a personal email) or acting on it (a marketing email). I even keep emails to re-read, particularly inspirational ones. My inbox is like a little archive or library of content as well as a to-do list and a place of ongoing correspondence. Emails can stay in my inbox for weeks or even months. Many times I have held onto a promotional email because I wasn’t ready to buy yet but knew I would be someday. And I’m not unusual, as an email consultant or a consumer.
That kind of longevity can never happen with social media. Shares and tweets might raise immediate awareness, but the lasting power belongs to email alone.
Social media has its place, for sure. The power of retweets and Facebook shares is real, and easily measured. But email still trumps social media when it comes to conversions. And I argue that it will always trump social media when it comes to longevity too. It’s a lasting value social media simply can’t offer. And one more reason to invest appropriately in your email marketing program.
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