The buzz surrounding social media is hard to escape.  With Google+ jumping into the fray the buzz has gotten even louder.  The hype surrounding social media may help to explain the popular—though mistaken—notion that social media represents the best way forward for marketing.  Don’t get me wrong.  Facebook and Google+ are great platforms for tactically targeted messaging and brand exposure in social media marketing.  Even though social media is altogether more sexy; good old fashioned email messaging will still form the backbone of effective marketing methods for the foreseeable future.

 

Why Email Marketing Works

 

The majority of consumers use social media to socialize, not to shop.  And while Facebook ads have some success, frequenters of Facebook often view advertising as an intrusion into their social space.  Some view it as a necessary evil; realizing that Facebook has to generate revenue somehow and advertising does this.  But the fact remains that social media consumers are not predisposed to engage with advertising while they’re virtually socializing.  They are however, predisposed to effective email marketing.

 

Emails Aren’t Intimidating

 

We’ve become accustomed to email marketing in a way that’s really surprising.  Part of this has to do with the fact that unlike telemarketing, email marketing doesn’t feel intrusive.  Telemarketing can backfire because a phone call from someone wanting to sell you something can put you on the defensive immediately.  Even if the product or service being marketed represents an excellent value, the mere fact that you were called by someone trying to sell you something may outweigh that.  Email marketing is different.

 

Emails Don’t Demand Immediate Answers

 

One of the reasons that email marketing is so effective is precisely because there’s no feeling of intimidation associated with it.  When you receive marketing emails there’s no feeling of urgency.  You can open and read them at your leisure, and unlike telemarketing there’s no one demanding an immediate answer.  The downside for marketers is that emails can simply be deleted and have no effect ultimately on the receiver’s future purchasing decisions.  Making sure that you’re crafting your marketing emails in such a way as to maximize impact is the key to enhancing effectiveness.

 

Know Your Customers

 

Knowing your customer is important.  If you really want to leverage the power of email marketing you have to know what your customers want.  A good way to gain insight into what customers want is to know what they’ve purchased in the past.  Being able to track customers’ purchase history and integrating that into targeted email marketing campaign can be very effective.  I’m a frequent purchaser of items at the Gap.  But I seldom make purchases that aren’t discounted or on sale.  When Gap sends me an email informing me about sale items that I often purchase—khakis and polo shirts for example—I very often make substantial purchases just because of the email.  Emails like this that represent real value for me are never going to get deleted until I’ve read them and absorbed the information.  In fact, I often don’t delete them at all until the sale period has passed.

 

Integrate Your Email Marketing With Your Social Media Presence

 

Once you’ve maximized the effectiveness of your email marketing you can integrate social media into the mix.  Targeting individuals that already are consumers of your products with Facebook advertising makes it more likely that they’ll check out the ad.  If you can get individuals to “like” you on Facebook, your status updates are more likely to show up in the newsfeeds of their friends.  And if you can get people actively responding and engaging on your Facebook page, you’ll have cleared a big hurdle.  Email marketing is one way communication.  When people respond positively to your brand on Facebook and other social media, your marketing effectiveness can increase exponentially.

Author Bio: Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He has a keen interest in blogging and social media and advocates for online training.