The social media craze among consumers has many B2B marketers thinking about their social media strategy. Often times, email marketing is compared to social media as part of the analysis. Should B2B marketers do one or the other? This raises the question of email marketing vs social media, which one is better and which one should you use? The answer may surprise you.
In the past few years, the focus on email marketing has been dwarfed relative to the focus on social media. It’s taken B2B marketer’s mind share aware from the email marketing. Nielsen recently published e-mail’s share of time declined 28%, putting it in third place, while social networking, the leader, climbed 43%. With so much attention on social media, email marketing strategies have suffered. Its important B2B marketers do not forget to make investments in email marketing though.
42% said they prefer to receive ads for sales via e-mail compared to just 3% who said the same for social-networking sites and 1% who preferred Twitter.
You can bet those numbers are even higher in B2B sales. When’s the last time you were attracted to a B2B solution by browsing Twitter? My guess is you probably haven’t. Moreover, unless you’re in marketing you probably don’t spend much time at all on Twitter or Facebook while at work. But you probably spend time managing your email. Awareness of solutions commonly start from email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing has significant benefit over social media for B2B companies; especially when email marketing is used on conjunction with marketing automation software. Marketing automation software includes email marketing capabilities and enables B2B marketers to execute intelligent campaigns that are highly relevant to buyer’s interests. Email marketing does have some clear advantages vs social media.
Advantages of email marketing over social media:
For example, email marketing allows:
1) more personally relevant emails to be delivered by:
- demographics like age, gender, geography, company size
- visitors interaction with marketing assets
- time since previous interaction
- position in lifecycle – new customers/prospects are sent different messages from old customers/prospects
- follow up on a website interaction like a search or specific page visit
2) greater overall response as responses occur over 12-48 hours rather than 1-2 hours more typical of Twitter and Facebook
3) offers and content can be inserted dynamically into emails
4) responses measured at the individual level of a campaign or offer
5) better follow-up on customer interest via lead nurturing
Advantages of social media over email marketing:
Social media marketing has its own set of benefits relative to email marketing. In particular, raising awareness and collecting customer feedback, something email marketing cannot do (unless you’re using surveys). Here are the top five benefits B2B companies will get from social media marketing.
• Increasing brand awareness
• Educating potential consumers
• Creating visibility
• Building thought leadership
• Gathering positive online reviews
Each marketing strategy has its own benefits, so which one is better? The answer, neither. We do not recommend B2B companies use one strategy over another. We suggest using both together. Email marketing should be integrated with a social media strategy to increase engagement with customers.
Use both email marketing and social media:
In this case, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts. Social media and email marketing should be viewed as complementary strategies to deepen prospect and customer relationships (vs. maximizing outreach). Take the first step in integrating both marketing channels together by adding social media icons to the bottom of your email marketing messages. Next, procure a marketing automation software package, which integrates closed-loop email marketing, to deliver capabilities mentioned in #1 above and elevate your email marketing capabilities to the next phase.
Marketing automation offers automatic lead qualification (lead scoring), lead distribution, lead generation, lead tracking, landing page optimization, and more to automate manual marketing processes, generate more qualified leads, shorten sales cycles, and further deepen your B2B relationships. It also augments traditional email marketing by closing the loop. Most email marketing systems create a “black hole of activity” after an email is opened and initial click-through. Closed-loop email marketing ties past, current, and future web visits together with email opens to build a more accurate profile of a sales lead and presents hot leads to sales in real-time.
To learn how Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software can help you with your marketing automation, email marketing, and social media marketing needs contact us.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How do you judge email marketing vs social media for B2B marketing?
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