Battle of the Giants – Facebook vs. Email

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Where do you spend your marketing budget?

Social media automation comes at a cost, even if you stick with basic software. Is it worth it?

Email automation comes with a monthly cost; does it earn enough to justify the cost?

Where should your marketing dollars go? Is email dead as a dodo? The crowd says social media, and especially Facebook, but have you checked for yourself?

Marketing decisions are always about choosing the most efficient channels for conversion into customers. When you look at your typical customer profile, the decision may appear obvious; Facebook if your customer profile is less than 30, and email if he is over 30. But is that an over-simplification?

Comparing Reach

Facebook follower numbers are high, but that means nothing because communicating with them is nigh on impossible. Facebook’s filtering mechanisms. Brian Boland from Facebook in the UK wrote about why organic reach is headed for zero.

Sharing helps to increase your reach and to put your brand in front of new faces, but the increase is from such a small base that it is always going to be a low number.

It takes more effort to acquire email subscribers, but every subscriber will see your email, though it might be in the promotions tab.

The Facebook Process

Someone is interested in you and clicks a link to follow your Facebook Page. You hope they will see some of your content in their feeds.

In reality, your organic reach to Facebook followers is very low for two reasons:

  • Facebook limits organic reach because they want you to pay for ads
  • There are so many possible items that can be shown in users’ feeds

If someone follows you, even then they don’t see your page in their feed.

Facebook Feed

Your page is hidden away behind the Pages link as highlighted above. Only if the individual shrinks the page or scrolls down will he or she see more than the top few pages they have followed.

The chance of one of your followers going through this process to see what is happening in your business is effectively zero.

The Email Process

Someone has to go to a bit more trouble to sign up to your email list.

Email Signup Page

You can make your signup page attractive and outline all the benefits people will get by clicking that button.

A subscriber needs to go to a bit of trouble to sign up, but there is nothing unexpected, and it just means a few clicks if he is using an autofill app.

You can then direct the subscriber to any page you choose. You have his attention, so use it to good effect.

From here on the subscriber sees every message you send. Yes, you need to work hard to make them interesting enough that they are worth opening, but the same can be said for a Facebook Page post. At least with email, you know people will see your marketing messages.

Advantage Gmail

Email has one other advantage. If you are using a gmail account you can personalize your signature. You can do this using the Settings link in your account, but the email signature you get is boring and does nothing for your marketing.

Gmail Signatures

What would you give to have an email signature like one of the above? WiseStamp is a gmail signature app that will let you design the email signoff of your dreams.

Facebook Automation vs. Email Automation

Facebook automation possibilities are limited. Yes, you can use Hootsuite to upload a series of posts, but remember only 7% of your followers will see your post unless you pay to promote it.

Personalization is not possible with Facebook posts, further limiting their conversion rate.

Email automation possibilities are endless. The smart autoresponder from GetResponse allows you to build multiple lists and to divide each list into segments so you can target particular groups more easily.

You can also send unlimited personalized emails and develop automated workflows you can use time and again.

Check out this SmallBiz Technology post for further advice on choosing a marketing automation provider.

Your Takeaway

Customer acquisition is a combination of reach and engagement. One without the other is worthless. If your message reaches one million people, but no-one clicks on the link, then all that reach was wasted. Facebook has too many distractions to be an effective final stage marketing vehicle. Its best use is to persuade Facebook users to subscribe to your email list.

Build your email list, and use an autoresponder to send multiple messages to your subscribers. Be open and be yourself because people buy from people they trust. Emails and the blog posts they link to are excellent tools in the trust-building process that must precede any sale.

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Itai Elizur is the COO at Inbound Junction, a content marketing agency specializing in helping startups and business increase their online visibility. Prior to joining the Inbound Junction team, Itai worked as a Creative Manager at Wix.com, and as the Director of Marketing at Infolinks, the 3rd largest website network in the world.