Why All Things Social Should Lead To Gathering Email Addresses

You likely are well aware of my company’s Social Media Marketing Program that we named “Sparking”.  You can learn about it by clicking here.  While this program successfully and cost effectively increases our clients’ followers, friends and fans through a wide mixture of social media and Web 2.0 tools, our biggest goal through Sparking is to grow our clients’ e-lists.

At a recent conference, I sat on a panel with three social media “experts” who said that our focus was a waste because people didn’t use email anymore.  I was stunned — not because these “experts” had a different opinion, but because they were so anti-email.

When I pointed out to that everyone on the panel communicated with each other before the conference via email, and that eblasts were the number one way people at the conference linked to the registration page, they were silent.

It seems to me that social media experts like their tools so much that it has had a negative effect on their abilities to generate sales and exposure for their clients.  Each one of the panelists was an expert on one social media tool (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter), which is likely why each one professed that their tool of choice was all that was needed.

Well, what’s needed is results.  And short of online sales, the best way to measure results is to track the response from those who follow you by analyzing eblast clickthroughs and reads.  Email works in tandem with other tactics to increase engagement, deliver relevant content and build contact databases.

And don’t believe these people when they say email is dead.  While Twitter and Facebook certainly offer other ways for people to communicate, the simple truth is that most adults (young and old) have an email account and check it often.  Heck, some have more than one.

Here’s a chart just released from MarketingSherpa that dispels the myth that email is dead.  Note that this chart is about how consumers share information about a product or service they find interesting:

Ways Consumers Share Information

Ways Consumers Share Information

According to MarketingSherpa, the chart views “how email is used to share information, because this activity is so central to social media sites. Email is dominant, even in this regard.  When we look at media use over the last 15 years, we see a pattern of aggregation and adoption rather than replacement. Some media suffer in the exchange, but none are eliminated entirely. More commonly, their uses become more refined.  For example, we may find that Twitter and Facebook gradually reduce our use of email to convey quick messages and content to social groups, but it’s far less likely that social media will replace email for commercial transactions, receipts and the like.”

In conclusion, email is not dying.  It’s not even sick.  It’s still the number one way that people share important information.  And, to boot, it’s the only clear way you can monitor what your friends, fans and followers do with the information you give them.


  1. October 22, 2009

    This is good to know, I was wondering about the effectiveness of my email campaigns 🙂

  2. October 22, 2009

    Joe McElroy commented on your note “Why All Things Social Should Lead To Gathering Email Addresses”:

    “Recently a prof at DePaul asked how many students in his class use Twitter. One hand went up.”

  3. October 22, 2009

    Twitter use is growing in younger demos, but it’s really not “social” enough for their tastes. For them, texting is first, Facebook second.

  4. October 27, 2009

    Great find on Sherpa, Charles.

    Hidden in the macro view are the various segments, such as the 60-year-old CEO who is just “finally” getting comfortable with email and hoping to not be forced into any new “systems” — and the 21-year-old German I sat next to on the plane the other day, who said he has no use for email but might open it up to communicate with me (again, FB is all he needs).

  5. Deanne
    November 5, 2009

    I don’t think email is dying either. If I have a specific link to share with someone or I would like to ask them a question and I don’t want to call, I am more likely to send them an email then to try to contact them through their Facebook page. I love Facebook, but it’s definitely second to communicating and sharing with specific people through email.

    I do think that email has taken a different path in recent years though. Instead of using it to write long descriptive emails to friends and family, most people use it to send quick snippets of information instead and use Facebook statuses and other social media to let people know what is going on with them daily. So I can see why people think it’s dying. It’s not dying, it’s just changing and people are becoming more in-tune with what kind of information they are receiving. If you can send out email messages to clients and you know they are being received well and that they are welcomed then it is definitely a great way to keep in contact with them.