When working with business both in Hawaii and around the world, clients are often interested in jumping into social media. The conversation usually starts with a social media channel and how they can jump into it (e.g. “My friends told me about Facebook and they think it is the best way for me to reach potential customers. How can I get started?). Clients arrive with a correct answer to the wrong question. They are starting with the solution instead of focusing on the problem at hand.
During the first meeting with a client, the first step that we take is to forget about their preselected social media channel and analyze what is the challenge or objective that they want to tackle. After taking this step back and concentrating on strategy, I surprise my clients in making a recommendation for email. Here are a couple reasons why.
1. Existing list of contacts.
Online retailers and software developers usually have a list of emails readily available for them.
Ranging from early adopters to regular clients to business card exchangers, companies often have a list of emails that they can get started with…as long they have authorization to do so. Collectors of business cards are pretty smart at using the “fish bowl method” to start an email list and are pretty clear that people dropping their cards can expect emails.
When starting a Facebook Page or a Twitter account, you start from scratch. Why would you want to do that if you already have an existing list of valid contacts that have at one point showed interest in your organization?
2. People (still) love email.
In December 2010, ForeSee Results indicated that 64% of respondents indicated promotional emails as their preferred method for hearing about sales and promotions.
An eMarketer survey in January 2011 revealed that out of US broadband users who opt in with brands, 53% join an email list and 31% become a fan on social network site.
The beauty of email is that it is convenient and it can be received across multiple platforms and OS.
People are still using email and will still be using email for a while. So why are not you?
Unlike social media, email is focused.
A well developed email has a single call-to-action. If the right email comes to the right person, then the call-to-action becomes part of that person’s to-do list.
Social media is great for branding efforts. While there are some great examples of direct response campaigns using social media (e.g. American Express), email continues to be king in creating conversions.
Email allows you to discern between customers versus prospects more easily.
While social media tools do allow you to segment your audience, emails have a stronger edge. With the correct setup, you can track individual click-troughs. Depending on a client’s budget, I can pair them with the correct email marketing services provider. Email provides more robust data to analyze and gauge interest or customer intentions.
Take a step back and move away from the Facebook Page. Before jumping into a social media channel, take a moment to think about your strategy. A medium is not a solution. Think about what is the problem that you want to solve, then select a medium.