Why is it that when something new comes along we want to toss everything aside in favor of the shiny new object? Yes, I'm talking about social media. I've heard from several potential B2B clients in the last week that they're being told by consultants to dump email marketing and embrace Twitter. They're being told email marketing is dead, that they need to get social or their marketing efforts will fail to perform.
I've also heard it said that websites without social media integration are irrelevant.
I don't believe that one either. There's a lot more responsible for making corporate websites irrelevant than the lack of interactive capabilities.
What I do believe is that B2B marketers need to expand their content vision and strategic planning. All of it – social media, websites, blogs, email marketing, etc. is driven by content. Every Tweet posted is content. Every email sent is about the message. All of this content is either relevant to your audience, or it's not.
If email marketing is not working for your company, have you considered that it's because your messaging isn't on target? Whether a company chooses to distribute content via Twitter, email, syndication, website or blog doesn't matter much if the content they're publishing doesn't catch and hold the attention of their audience.
Based on research by Marketing Sherpa's Email Marketing Benchmark Survey, 67% say their opt in email lists are growing and 30% say the losses and gains even out. These results indicate that email is still a preferred method of communication for your prospects. They're voting by opting in to hear from you. Prospect preferences should provide the evidence that it's worthwhile to work on improving your email programs, not discard them.
Now, let's return to the shiny new object for a moment. I'm not saying that social media shouldn't play a part in your marketing mix. Not for a moment. What I am saying is that it's not a replacement for other methods. Social media should be embraced as an integrated enhancement to your overall eMarketing strategy.
Social media is a great way to gain exposure, humanize your company and build additional traffic to more comprehensive content. So is email marketing. The challenge is more about doing them both well, not so much in choosing one above the other.