There was a time when an email list was a marketer’s best friend.
Building leads was a fundamental requirement for business success, and was the only proven way to nurture new business. Then a strange phenomenon occurred – social media, or, more particularly, Facebook. Once Facebook caught hold, email listings quickly lost their value. Suddenly the Facebook ‘like’ became the Holy Grail that all businesses strived for. Now some companies still set great store by their email lists: they still see their value and refuse to move with these digital times. Industry experts, however, are having none of it. Many view email lists as prehistoric, and truly believe they should be confined to the annals of history.
The question is, are these experts right?
Are email lists a thing of the past? Well, the answer in short is yes: a Facebook like is more effective than an email lead. Obviously if your business is still fond of its list, then keep them by all means: but if modern businesses really want to exploit the full potential of the digital market, then they will have to try to capture the social media market and cultivate Facebook likes. If you still aren’t convinced, then here are 3 good reasons why you should move with the times.
Automation doesn’t equal interaction.
If your email inbox is flooded with unwanted spam everyday, you won’t necessarily be a happy bunny, particularly if you haven’t opted in to some of these subscriber’s listings. Spam emails are annoying and can lead to an immense sense of frustration. Granted you might read the first few out of a sense of obligation, but by the time you reach the fifth or the sixth, you’ve generally lost the will to carry on living. What you do then is a natural enough reaction, because it’s what we all do. We block delete the rest, even the ones that might have been useful or beneficial to us or our business. So all the effort put in by marketers generating email lists becomes ultimately worthless. Users don’t respond or interact with automated communications.
Facebook “likes” are different. Likes allow the prospect to actually see more of your brand. They make your brand look more credible. The prospects will receive a businesses latest updates, links, pictures and videos on their walls, and they can interact with the business by asking questions and having an ongoing dialogue. Marketing brands through social media channels is more personal and real. Prospects feel like they are dealing with a person, not a robot.
Facebook likes are more likely to be shared by users.
When you subscribe to an email list, you will normally receive e-newsletters, promotions and the like every once in a while. Most people just skim through these and press the ‘delete’ button. They rarely bother to share the contents of the email with their friends and acquaintances, mainly because it’s just too bothersome to paste to every single email address of the people they think they may like the article. Moreover if you can be bothered and keep on sending these newsletters, then the chances are your friends may think that you’re trying to sell them something. Obviously they won’t be your friends for much longer if that’s the case. Email listings don’t have the viral capability of Facebook likes. They’re slow and ineffective and do little to foster any degree of trust between a business and its prospects.
When you press the “like” or “share” button on a particular article or brand on Facebook, naturally all of your friends in your network will notice it when they visit your Wall. If they “like” it too, they will do the same thing as you, and instantly, all the friends on their network will be notified. Shared “likes” have the ability to keep on growing exponentially, with a potential to spread to all of Facebook’s 800 million users throughout the world, though granted, this isn’t likely to happen.
Real-time versus scheduled time.
Speed is of the essence in today’s digital world. If we had our way, we’d want the news yesterday: today just isn’t good enough any more. Getting regular scheduled email updates is just too slow: they can’t compete with real-time communication updates on Facebook. With the advent of internet phones, it’s now much more convenient for mobile users to check their Facebook notifications, at any given time in any given part of the world. Communication is now instant.
Rupert Murdock is quoted as saying the following:
“The world is changing very fast: big will not beat small anymore. It’s now a matter of the fast beating the slow.”
Now, nobody would suggest that you take the media guru’s advice on any issue at the moment, particularly given his track record with News International. Yet he was making an important point. Fast communication is essential for both news and business. Fast communication can only be achieved digitally. So if businesses really want to exact the maximum leverage out of the market, they will have to embrace the digital revolution and wave goodbye to email listings.