When it comes to web-based marketing these days, everyone talks about the importance of social media. It seems that if you aren’t blogging, tweeting, updating your status, plus-one-ing your Google+ feed, or building your network on LinkedIn, your marketing plan is doomed. On the other hand, it seems like email marketing has become as passé as billboards and radio ads in the world of legal marketing. While email marketing might not be the hip kid on the street these days, it is a tried and true marketing method that has many advantages over social media campaigns. Just to name a few, here are my top five reasons why email marketing might be better than social media marketing in some ways:
1. Guaranteed views: If someone signs up to be on your email list, your message will end up in his or her inbox. Even if they ultimately delete that message, you can use the subject line as a branding opportunity. You can use status updates and tweets similarly, but your message will only be available to viewers for as long as it takes for their news feed or stream to fill up with messages from other sources. Plus, studies have shown that 71% of tweets are ignored, while at 83% of consumers will cast at least a glance at messages in their email inbox.
2. More significant relationships: Consumers who sign up to receive updates via email put forth more effort to show that they are interested in your message. In social media, it takes just a click to follow any given brand, and people who follow a brand via social media might be doing so for reasons beyond your message. For example, they may want to see what other followers are saying on your page. With email marketing, consumers are limited to your message and they usually have to make a greater effort to receive that message, i.e. through a sign up form rather than a simple click.
3. Personalization and segmentation: It would be nearly impossible to create and maintain separate profiles, pages and blogs for every single type of person you would like to reach for the purposes of marketing your law firm. With email lists, you can easily divide lists according to area of law, demographics, referral sources versus potential clients and other categories, and then you can pick and choose which messages are sent to which list all from the same platform. This allows you to create more targeted, relevant and personalized marketing content that is more likely to elicit the kind of results you want to achieve with your message.
4. Attention and retention: While consumers spend more time viewing messages on social media websites, recent studies suggest that they pay more attention to each message in their email inbox. Average open rates for email campaigns range between 10-20%, while read rates for individual status updates range between just 2-4%. Plus, messages in social media can be quickly replaced by new messages, while consumers have control over which messages to keep at the top of their inboxes. That means that email messages are not only more likely to be read but they are also more likely to be revisited and read more than once.
5. Higher chance of conversion per message: The key to conversion through marketing usually involves a compelling message that is personalized, targeted and likely to be seen more than once. You can achieve this through social media by creating a series of messages that reach consumers from a variety of angles. However, while a steady stream of blog posts, updates and tweets can achieve this goal, a single email has a higher chance of calling consumers to action than any individual social media message because of the reasons mentioned above.
This, of course, does not mean that you should forego social media marketing and use just email campaigns to build your practice. It just means that you shouldn’t ditch old marketing methods every time something new comes along. Instead, it is important to combine old marketing strategies with the new. For more information on how to increase your online impact by combining email and social media marketing efforts, check out this recent article.