My inbox is inundated with emails every day, just like yours, with much of it landing in the spam folder. Yet, email remains the communication cornerstone of the internet. It’s been around longer than all other channels of online communication, and it will likely outlast any new channel to come. Email is not going anywhere.
In this first post, my goal is not to turn you into some sort of email master. Instead, let me lay the foundation and talk about the power of email marketing, and why it remains the most impactful and cost-effective marketing channel today.
Facebook, along with many others, has attempted to usurp email several times over the years with features like Groups and Messenger but continues to fail to replicate the ubiquity of email. That’s not to say they have failed in providing value, especially among those of us trying to grow and engage an audience. Instead, they’ve failed to generate the same effectiveness, longevity, and return on investment that email provides.
Why? Companies like Facebook and Google are walled gardens. Walled gardens are closed ecosystems where everything is controlled by the ecosystem itself (Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.). You cannot port a like or follow from Facebook to Twitter, or vice-versa. The audiences we grow on these platforms are ultimately owned by the walled-garden ecosystem themselves, not us. Even with paid engagements on these platforms, like paid search marketing, you are just borrowing Google's audience rather than growing your own.
On the other hand, we own the email list we build over time. I can engage with that list regardless of platform, and I can migrate that list of contacts between email marketing tools as I see fit. No one can take my list away from me. My ability to communicate with my audience over email is not limited to the success of a singular third-party.
We would all like our message to reach the broadest possible audience. The allure of social media is the ability to reach people unfamiliar with myself or the business I’m working for. The discoverability features built into these platforms designed to connect people and brands are effective; however, email still has a greater reach compared to social media.
The reason why? It’s many of the same reasons that make these platforms appealing in the first place. The algorithms that determine what you or I see when we log in limit us from seeing every single post or tweet from the people or businesses that we follow. Instead were shown a feed curated by the platform.
I can reasonably expect about 5% of my followers to see anything that I post organically. When I blast an email campaign out, I know I can expect at least 4x that percent in my open rate.
In addition to high-quality reach, email is also an extremely effective channel for driving conversions. Email converts better than any other social media channel.
I mentioned how algorithms affect reach on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Another difference between those platforms and email is how we engage with the messages we subscribe to or follow.
When I open an email, it has my undivided attention. Even if for only a few seconds. On social media, the message is short and stacked on top of many other posts and advertisements competing for my attention.
Take a look at the conversion, reach, and ownership that comes with email and you’ll see it's not surprising that the return on investment outweighs the other channels.
Not only is email the only channel we have complete ownership over. It’s also the channel with the best reach and conversion rate.