What? You’ve opened up that thing called “Outlook Express,” and you’re writing an email? Surely you know that this form of marketing and communications is as passé as floppy disks and cell phones the size of Shaquille O’Neal’s shoe. Or is it? Now comes a McKinsey & Co. survey stating that email is a far more effective way to acquire customers than all that tweeting and posting and “liking” you’re doing on social media—nearly 40 times more than Facebook and Twitter combined. “If you’re wondering why marketers seem intent on e-mailing you more and more,” McKinsey states, “there’s a simple explanation: it works.” That explains our inbox.
We learned of the McKinsey survey through a post by Technorati writer Kaleel Sakakeeny, who adds that email’s advantage holds “if your goal is to acquire customers, and not just share the latest family news or travel experience.” Depending on your perspective, McKinsey’s report may be earthshaking or simply what you’ve been telling everybody for years. Dawn of the social media age Since the dawn of the social media age, back when wooly mammoths roamed the plains and fur-clad hunter/gatherers crouched around the campfire tweeting selfies, contrarians have touted the necessity of email. Ancient seer Jeremiah Owyang argued in 2009 that email was “the first—and largest—social network.” And cave scratchings in the form of a HostPapa infographic indicate that the bloody clash between email and social media was a matter of discussion way back in 2012. More recently, Hospitality Net in December awarded three of a five-round match to email in an article titled “Email vs. Social Media—Which One Deserves Your Marketing Dollar? “While there is a lot of hype around social media when it comes to usage, email wins hands down,” author Madigan Pratt asserts in a piece for the hotel industry. Still, McKinsey’s research chops make its contribution to the debate significant. In its post, authors Nora Aufreiter, Julien Boudet, and Vivian Weng offer three tips for those marketing or communicating through emails. Among them: “Focus on the journey, not the click.” “Customized landing pages—which send the user directly to the item or offer featured in the e-mail—can increase conversion rates by more than 25 percent,” the authors write. “And don’t forget mobile. Nearly 45 percent of all marketing e-mails today are opened on a mobile device.” Tough luck for those smartphone users can’t be bothered to sit at a computer, right? They irritate everybody playing Annoying Orange’s Splatter Up during memorial services and symphony performances, anyway. Who needs them? Well, shrug them off at your own risk, McKinsey says. “Google says 61 percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing,” the article states. “And, even worse, 40 percent visit a competitor’s site instead.” Sounds like its time not only to rethink your social media vs. email practices, but to your mobile strategy and landing pages as well. Read the rest here. Russell Working is a staff writer at Ragan Communications.