I was reading an article the other day on RocketResponder written by their CEO and Co-Founder, Justin Ledvina. In this article, he made the argument that email marketing was better than social media for small businesses. Some of his facts were highly intelligent and well thought out, but the general premise of the article was flawed – it applied that email marketing alone could grow a business.
To me this is ridiculous. For starters, you can’t email anyone without their permission, if you do, your business could end up paying a huge fine. Those that do cold email have variable results. One experiment ran by FastCompany, found that while open rates were good during their experiment, responses were far below industry averages at just 1.7% and only 0.14% were intended responses (i.e. they answered the question in the mail shot).
What should be noted is that some of those who opened the email might have also wanted to click on the unsubscribe button and others probably replied asking not to be contacted again. This is not a great result for any business.
So Which Platform Is Best?
None of the platforms listed above are good for your business on their own. They need the support of each other to be most effective and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
For instance; blogs are great at developing trust between you and your audience, but while consumers are influenced, they aren’t the best selling tool. Neither is social media. For the past several years, social media has contributed to just 1% of all online sales.
Email marketing on the other hand contributes to between 13 and 17% of all online sales. But there is little use in deploying email on its own. At some point you will exhaust your list as subscribers either buy your product or alternatively leave your list because they aren’t interested anymore. Then you face a problem – how are you going to sell your product?
Creating A Funnel
This is why you need to generate a strong sales funnel that encompasses all three platforms into a single process to help your business grow. You start off with blogging. This is where you create content that is highly valuable to your audience that they want to read and share. Blogs are also trust builders. 81% of consumers trust the content published on blogs even if they have never interacted with the brand previously.
The problem is that you have to generate interest and drive traffic to your business blog.
That is where social media (and SEO) can be of help. Social media is about starting conversations with your target audience and directing them to your website to view your content. Then on your site they can sign up to your email marketing list and you can begin to sell to your target audience. Most email marketing contacts should be offering some sort of deal as this is the main reason why people will sign up to mailing lists.
Email marketing is where a lot of work can still be done. Regularly review who is opening your messages and who is clicking through on your offers. This can be helpful as you can then use this information to send more personalised content or to phone the contact to offer them help with their purchasing.
There is no best option for your business when it comes to digital marketing avenues. Each one should be used together to create a strong sales funnel to find customers, generate trust and then sell.
What is your opinion? Do you need just one platform?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.