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Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are the new darlings of the marketing world – but how does a social audience really translate in terms of sales? Marketing gurus have been quick to alert us all to the seemingly limitless possibilities of creating Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other accounts for our businesses, stressing that by 2018, 2.55 billion people will be using social media. These insanely high numbers of users are understandably enticing, but here’s a number that might surprise you – according to KISSmetrics.com, 2.9 people are registered with an email service right now. Despite a rapidly-developing social media industry, marketing tactics based on personal email are actually an easier way to make retail sales.
The Asian-Pacific region is set to increase its social media-based advertising budget by an incredible 48% this year; clearly it would be an unwise business decision to skimp out on this kind of advertising completely. Really, though, social media presence is more about building your brand than anything else. It’s about making your platform known, more than it’s about selling your product. Facebook can be important, but experts agree that it’s definitely not more important than neo-traditional email marketing.
Email marketing is successful because of the care that you put into creating your mailing lists, and because it’s more personal than communication via another online medium. The names that you have in your email lists should be warm leads – already interested in what you’re selling. If you’ve used ethical methods of cultivating your email contacts, most of the work is already done. Tweeting and posting to an anonymous audience online? It’s a bit more like standing on a street corner trying to engage every random passerby. Ineffective.
That said, the 777 million Asia-Pacific social media users (as reported by NewMedia TrendWatch) are still great potential customers – the point is that you can’t win them over just by simply being there. Analytics firm Custora tells us that capitalizing on organic search engine requests and organizing email marketing strategies are the most effective ways to forge lasting relationships from new and repeat buyers.
It comes down to the “Likes” and the List – the email list, that is. Experian reports that there are 19 billion Australian Internet users, and only a fraction of those are regularly using social media. Furthermore, which sends a stronger message – a random tweet among hundreds, or a personal message to your inbox? As fascinating and innovative as social media marketing can be, it just doesn’t convert to sales like email marketing.