Email, Email Marketing Advice

Is Email a More Reliable Marketing Mechanism Than Social Media


In this edition of The Baer Facts, I’m joined by Kyle Lacy of ExactTarget to wish Happy Birthday to Facebook and talk about the changing face of email.

10 Years? Feels Like 30

On one hand, it’s hard to believe Facebook is 10 years old. On the other hand, Facebook has become so entwined in our personal and professional lives, that it’s difficult to imagine what life was like before it came on the scene.

Just take a moment and ponder how Facebook has changed (among other things):

  • Keeping in touch with friends and family
  • Class reunions
  • Photo sharing
  • Event RSVPs
  • Blog commenting
  • Group conversations/debates about breaking news
  • Customer service
  • Marketing research and crowdsourcing

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished in the last decade, but I’m an aimless slacker eating soup out of a can watching Downton Abbey by myself surrounded by unkempt house cats, compared to what Facebook has done in 10 years.

Is Email Bucking the “everything shrinks” Trend?

One thing Facebook has NOT done, however, is kill off email. Despite much gnashing of teeth through the years, Facebook and email continue to exist side-by-side in both personal and commercial contexts.

We’re experiencing the “twitterization” of all forms of communication. (tweet this)

Very short messages, single photos, etc. are replacing longer form exchanges on many platforms. But is the opposite occurring in email? ExactTarget recently re-launched their email news/advice product, now called Spark. It’s a useful read, made more useful because it usually gives you most of the key points within the email itself, without forcing you to click over to the website to “read more.” At Convince & Convert, we’re preparing a new version of our popular One Thing email, and will be adding more meat to that daily sandwich as well.

Can Email Fix What’s Broken with Social Media?

Ironically, with organic Facebook engagement rate plunging for many brands, will we see companies move toward more in-depth email publications in an effort to drive engagement there? It’s an interesting premise, because the one huge advantage of email vs. social media is its linear delivery model.

If I send an email today, I know that 99%+ of my subscribers will receive it. They may not open it and they may not click any of the links, but they’ll almost assuredly receive the email. That’s of course not the case on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (other than IG Direct), Linkedin, etc. What you publish in social is seen by a subset of your audience, even though that audience has chosen to connect with you by clicking like, follow, et al. What percentage of your Facebook fans will see any individual thing you post to your company’s Timeline? 5%? 15%? It’s impossible to say, and it varies with each post.

This “reach roulette” is a weakness of social as a marketing and communication platform (and even as a customer service platform, in the event you need to inform many customers at once).

What do you think? Are we entering a new era of surging company interest in email?


The Baer Facts - Is Email Better Than Social Media for Engagement

With the decline in organic engagement rates on Facebook and beyond, will companies turn their focus toward email marketing as a way to connect with customers?

Facebook Comments


  1. Todd Lebo says

    I agree that marketers need to take seriously the trend of
    producing a more comprehensive and robust newsletter. Especially when you are
    targeting the marketing professional that has limited time but when you have
    their attention, desire more details on a topic, not just the surface facts. If
    you have my attention, give me the payoff. Make it worth my time. Thanks guys.

  2. says

    Jay, was this episode a hangout? The reason that I’m asking is that I’d like to start doing video podcasts again and am looking for a way to ensure that the audio doesn’t suffer (buffering) as a result of the bandwidth taken up by the video.

  3. Stephen Smith says

    Great episode! I missed about 20 seconds of what you guys were talking about right around 4:30 simply because I was laughing about memories of using AIM and putting up away messages with song lyrics on it! :)

      • Stephen Smith says

        Indeed. But you still made me laugh with your little hand gestures throughout. Brought back memories of a time when you spoke at a conference in Columbus & I filmed you trying to catch a live lobster in a claw machine in the back of a tequila bar. Good times. :)
        [where’s that video…. ?! 😉 ]

          • Stephen Smith says

            It’s a BRILLIANT idea if you own the bar, and you were smart enough to put the game DIRECTLY next to an ATM that just happens to dispense it’s money in $10 bills and the game is 1 play for $5.

            I may or may not have found that video…. depending on if you want to relive how terrible of an idea it was & how much money we all wasted on it?

  4. jaumeprimero says

    Excellent post Jay. From my perspective, marketing automation and social are interdependent in many ways. Much of the work I engage in with my clients centers around integrating social and marketing automation, and finding creative ways to leverage both in order to achieve baseline success metrics like increasing net new lead generation and conversion rates. In addition, there are a wide variety of use cases for an integrated approach when it comes to reporting on revenue and segmenting leads by source in order to determine which channels are the most profitable. Often times, leads are identified on Twitter, routed into a marketing automation campaign, and driven to the point of sale. Together, both social and marketing automation are a powerful digital marketing weapon.

  5. says

    I agree, however one consideration is that since only a subset of your audience will see a post or tweet, most brands can get away with doing more posting every day to get the extra eyeballs. How many times can you send an email to someone before they opt out, typically not even daily, maybe weekly?

  6. Akash Agarwal says

    marketing is an efficient way to stay connected with your clients while also
    promoting your business. Thanks for sharing this nice post.

  7. Nathan Brook says

    This year, marketing automation is definitely going to have a wider platform to perform. So safeguard your investments in email providers that will make messages more
    personalized and objectified.

  8. TLC says

    What I recommend depends on the client and where their business comes from. I only have one client where we seriously work on their Facebook presence, because most of their business comes from real estate brokers, and that’s where they are in our city. But for many others, I recommend email newsletters. After all, a 17% opening rate is MUCH better than an 3% rate. And at least you know your emails reach everyone (or almost everyone) who subscribed to them.

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