Part 1 of 3: Email and Social – Better Together

Everyone wants to be a part of the newest, latest, sexiest thing. Thought you were hip with that iPad you got for Christmas? Nope. Now that iPad 2 was just launched, you have dated technology. You might as well be watching movies on a VCR. On a tube TV.

And so it is with marketing. Social media, which seems to come in a new flavor every other month, is hot, new and fun. Email is, most agree, not. But despite the media’s love of talking about social media and rumblings about the decline of email, email marketing is still very relevant and powerful because it gets results.

In a recent report from Merkle titled “View from the Digital Inbox 2011” the numbers show that for the most part, there has not been a huge decline in email usage. The report shows that 87% of Internet users checked their personal email daily in 2010, and this has hardly changed since 2007. For those with an email account just for commercial email, 60% checked it every day, which was down just one percentage point since 2008. And it turns out that social media users actually check their email more often than non-users.

The proliferation of smartphones has also helped keep email relevant. The same study shows that two-thirds of those with Internet-enabled phones check their email accounts every day. Email marketers will also be happy to hear that survey respondents indicated that email was still their preferred method for receiving marketing messages. In addition, reports from the “Social Sharing Research Report” from Chadwich Martin Bailey and “Social Media Sharing Trends 2010” from SocialTwist show that the most common way to share content was by email, not social media.

Bottom line – email is still a marketing workhorse. B2C survey respondents report an email marketing ROI of 256% in MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. Most of the conversation around social ROI is still about how to measure and interpret it.

The even better news is that these two channels don’t have to be in competition. Like chocolate and peanut butter, they are two great tastes that taste great together. A report from Lyris shows that 54% of marketers surveyed saw improved results in both channels when combining email and social. Why? Because integrating strategies allows marketers to connect across multiple channels and provides customers easy access to the channel that works best for them.

How are you integrating email and social media? Have you seen success from this strategy? What are you doing to make your email program more social? How are you measuring success? Share your experiences with us – we’d love to read your comments.

Next week: stay tuned to learn more about how to optimize ROI for both email and social by developing a complimentary strategy.

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