Email marketing ROI continues to trounce that of social networking

Regular readers of this blog will by now understand the importance of keeping abreast of new business and technology developments.


In such a fast moving space, one can’t afford to be left behind and risk losing business to nimbler, faster and better-informed competitors.

But so much attention to new developments can also have a downside – overexposure to hype.

Boring but effective

For example, it may surprise you to know that the return on investment of crusty old email marketing is many times greater than that of the sexy new kid on the block – social networking.

When I say email marketing, I mean the notion of using email to send a promotional message to a list of recipients, either as a direct promotional piece, or a less overt eNewsletter.

While some sectors are enjoying impressive results from social networking, overall results are at best sketchy. As reported last week, despite considerable investment, my own ROI from the practice is underwhelming to say the least.

In the meantime, email marketing effectiveness continues to shine.  Depending on whose report you read, this technique continues to yield ROI rates of anywhere between 2,500% and 5,000% or between $25 and $50 for every dollar spent.

These kinds of results make it a clear leader of all direct marketing techniques.

Dealmakers tap into email

What is driving up these figures even more is the success of group buying or deal sites.

While deal operators are making a killing on their respective services, the underlying technology – email – receives little fanfare at all.

Yet it is very much a cornerstone of the deal boom as the vast bulk of deals are delivered by the relatively efficient and less specific time-dependent method of email.

So why does email marketing get so little attention compared to its newer and apparently sexier web marketing cousins?

The shallow pockets of email marketers

This blog has proffered a number of explanations for this anomaly. But it most likely comes down to the amount invested in promoting certain techniques above others.

If you combined the collective publicity budgets of organisations like Facebook, eBay, YouTube, Google and Amazon you would come up with a very considerable slab of promotion.

But unlike the sectors these giants dominate, the email marketing industry is made up of considerably smaller and shallow pocketed players.

Therefore it remains relatively hidden away compared to the publicity commanded by social networking, search marketing, online video and online retail respectively.

But that reality shouldn’t stop discerning smaller business operators from giving email marketing a try.

Have you tried email marketing? If so, tell us about your results below.

In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.


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