Many organizations understand the importance of Social. They have adopted social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and others. They are maturing as social businesses as they discover new ways to communicate and interact with their customers and prospects, and to use social data to inform more effective marketing programs, and to develop better products and services.
So does the growth of Social mean the demise of “old fashioned” email as a business communications platform? The answer is not yet. While Social is a great way to connect with your audience—and definitely the preferred way for several generations to communicate—email still holds strong as the preferred communication medium in business.
Every person in business owns an email account (and you need an email address to open accounts on social sites), and email is still the most widely used application on mobile devices. But not everyone you want to reach uses Social. And of those professionals that do use Social, many still participate in a passive way, preferring to read and watch rather than create, comment, and interact. That can make it a challenge to engage in relevant business correspondence using Social.
Email is perfect for one-to-one, confidential communications and negotiations during the B2B buying and selling process. Sales reps can introduce themselves, offer links to valuable content, and personalize their email communications. Customers and prospects can respond through email, outlining their needs, scoping out projects, and requesting quotes.
Another advantage email offers is its effectiveness in marketing campaigns. Gone are the days when everyone in your database gets the same message, on the same day. Now, advances in marketing automation systems allow marketers to segment their audiences and deliver highly-targeted and timely messages that keep their organization’s brand top of mind with prospects and help accelerate the sales cycle. In addition, important marketing strategies such as lead scoring, lead nurturing, and branching campaigns all rely on email as a key medium. In short, email has never been more sophisticated, nimble, measurable, and ultimately, more effective.
The key takeaway is not to think in terms of using either Social or email, but rather think in terms of using both Social and email. Social strategies, while increasingly important to business success, should be implemented in addition and in complement to other marketing efforts such as email—not as a replacement for them. Now more than ever, your customers are in control of communications with your organization. Some will rely on Social, others on email. And don’t forget, some people still pick up the phone, or even write letters.