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Email Marketing Still King of ROI

 In Email Marketing, Optimization

Email isn’t as sexy a communications platform as it once was, you say. That may be true. It has, in fact, become a very mature platform that may not have the pizzazz of social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on.

You may be convinced it’s time to shift your marketing budget entirely from email to social media. But that, my friend, would be a mistake.

The reality is that social media is getting all the hype, it’s what everyone is talking about and, yes, there’s some revenue to be made there. But the medium that has proven itself over and over, and the place where the biggest return on investment exists, is still email marketing.

And there are some metrics to prove it.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, for every dollar you spend on email marketing, there’s a $40.56 return – the highest of all comparable media and the biggest bang for the buck. Search returns $22.24, Internet display advertising returns $19.72, mobile returns $10.51 and social networking returns $12 for each dollar spent.

In terms of sales, the DMA says that email generated $67 billion in 2011 compared to $32 billion for social media. This year, email marketing is expected to generate about $82 billion, up 22.3 percent from last year, compared to $39 billion for social media, up 21.9 percent from last year.

That means that email marketing produces more than twice the revenue while being almost four times more efficient than social media.

And there are more interesting facts. According to Nielsen:

  • Today there are 900 million Facebook accounts globally. That’s a huge number, but it’s only a third of the 2.9 billion email accounts that exist.
  • About 50 percent of people check their email multiple times per day while about 13 percent check it hourly.
  • Email is the top activity on smartphones; 60 percent of users check their emails while watching a TV program.
  • Every day, 294 billion emails are sent, while only 172 million people check their Facebook accounts.
  • Lastly, email is by far the most pervasive activity on the mobile Internet. As this Nielsen chart shows, the majority of every mobile Internet hour is spent in email – 25 minutes on email versus 6 minutes on social networks or blogs.

Email is King of ROIMeanwhile, a recent Forrester report called email marketing a mature channel that is alive and in constant development with new innovations and trends, and continuous growth both in terms of spending as well as actual volume.

Our prediction is that both email and social media marketing will continue to grow and, over time, most likely they will become more and more integrated. Currently, when you send out an email marketing message, it’s very easy for readers to share it to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Soon, new tools will enable marketers to write one message to email and to social media without the need to switch platforms.

In the meantime, our best advice is this: If you’re not doing any online marketing today, start with a good updated website. Then invest in email marketing, followed by a blog. And lastly, focus your budget on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ – in that order.

You can’t go wrong with email marketing. It’s the glue that should hold together your online communications with your prospects and customers. It’s the most inexpensive, most commonly used platform by all ages and all demographics.

Social media may be creating a lot of hype, but it’s email that is generating revenue.

After all, do you know anyone who doesn’t have email? We bet not.

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