Over the last year or two email marketing has taken a back seat to social media in terms of buzz. However, during the recession, firms that had a solid relationship with an audience via email held a much stronger position. Email marketing still produces the highest ROI of any online marketing tactic.
Commercial e-mail returned a whopping $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009, according to the DMA’s just-released Power of Direct economic-impact study—an effort the trade organization publishes every year at its annual fall conference.
A funny thing happened on the way to increased social media usage too. Instead of spelling the end to email, it actually caused an increase in the inbox. A great deal of social media activity still revolves around the email inbox.
I frequently field questions from audiences about whether social media has replaced email and I think the answer is that social media and email play very well together and, in fact, email has only become more important. Social media makes email even stronger and, when used correctly, email can make your social media efforts even stronger.
To that end, email service providers are looking for ways to help customers more fully integrate their social media usage with email marketing. Constant contact has added event marketing with plenty of social features and recently purchased Nutshell Mail a tool that brings a summary of your social network updates to your inbox in a single email on your schedule.
I spent some time recently with ExactTarget, an enterprise email service provider. ExactTarget’s purchase of CoTweet, a social media monitoring and management tool is further sign of the growing integration of email and social.
This trend will continue so while I’m a big fan of growing your friends and followers, get that email subscriber list built for the long term.