InfographicRecently, Outmarket, a marketing automation software firm, took a look at “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” of social media. Much to the chagrin of social media pundits, their findings lean more bad and ugly:

  • 85% of businesses do not connect social activity to business outcomes.
  • 50% of C-suite executives aren’t convinced of the value of social media.
  • Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) rank social media 6th among their priorities.

Sobering statistics, to say the least. Yet, 71% of marketers in the same poll plan to increase their budgets for social media advertising, and another 69% plan to add dollars to increase social engagement.

Remarkably, the same infographic reported that e-mail marketing outperforms all social media sales conversions at a rate of 40-1! No wonder all those C-suite types are cool to the value of social media.

One Powerful, Reliable Choice

After 20 years as a web designer and digital marketing consultant, I’ve seen an array of “silver bullet” digital marketing executions, each promising even greater potential for turning browsers into buyers. Yet, not one of them delivered, especially for budget conscious small businesses with smaller customer bases in local markets, and today’s crop of social media channels is faring no better.

Only one tactic continues to deliver year after year: e-mail.

E-mail marketing is simply the best investment a small business can make in terms of digital marketing. It creates an invaluable one-to-one relationship with your customers and prospects, and with each send you have the opportunity to achieve real results:

  • For every $1 spent on e-mail marketing, a company gets an average return of $44.25 in sales. (Experian)
  • People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people who do not receive email offers. (Convinceandconvert.com)
  • 83.5% of consumers sign-up for company e-mail services to receive discounts. (Digital River)
  • 70% of consumers report always opening emails from their favorite companies. (ExactTarget)

With that kind of performance, it should come as no surprise that 60.7% of marketers responding to a 2014 StrongView survey said they plan to increase their e-mail marketing budgets in 2015. Why wouldn’t they? E-mail offers nearly 100% deliverability, provides consistent, measurable results that even the most technophobic executive understand, and, most importantly, your subscribers actually want to see your communications. Now that’s social media!

It’s All About ROI …

Of course, e-mail marketing still has its challenges and social media is still a viable tool in your digital marketing toolbox. However, you should seriously re-evaluate your social media channels with a hard eye toward ROI. After all, that’s why you’re doing it, right?

If you’re not seeing new customers or sales through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn, all of your social chatter probably isn’t worth one red cent compared to the potential payoff of hitting the send button on your next e-mail campaign.

Pat McKenna

Pat McKenna is a digital strategist, social media manager, web designer and founder of MojoWeb Productions, LLC. in Milwaukee, WI.

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