Think big. Be different.

Facebook Vs. Email Marketing: Which One Is Better For Business?

By Garrett Moon on February 10, 2011 in News.

Yesterday we did some training for a bunch of non-profits in the Bismarck area. We had a great time and we certainly hope that all of them did too. Naturally, we were there talking about social media and a very interesting question came up. Here was the scenario:

Let’s say you have an email contact list with 500 contacts and a Facebook fan page with 100 fans. The question is, why bother with the Facebook page when there is 1/5 the audience? Wouldn’t in be more important to invest my time in my email marketing?

First of all, great question. Second of all, probably not. Let the Facebook verses email debate begin!

You've got mail Facebook!

Looking at the numbers

There are a few things to consider here. First of all, lets take a look at average email rates. An average email newsletter gets opened about 22% of the time. This average can vary by industry and content type but it is a good number to use for this example. What this means is that only 110 people from your email actually saw your message. Even more importantly, average click-through rates are generally somewhere around 5%-15%. So, this means that as few as 25 people even followed through by clicking a link in your email.

Now, lets look at Facebook.

First of all, statistics on overall Facebook usage are pretty hard to find. That said, lets just say that out of those 100 users you made 74 impressions. These are the number of people who saw your message. Out of those 74 people, lets say two of them interacted with your message. This means that they either ‘liked’ the post, or commented on the message. When this happens, your message is sent to all of their friends. According to Facebook the average person has 130 friends, so now you have expanded your initial exposure from 100 people to 360. Not bad right? That’s more than triple the number of views from your email list!

So, who wins, Facebook or email?

Well, it depends. If you are looking at the level of customer engagement, then sure email probably wins. But, if you are looking at overall exposure, Facebook definitely wins. Really when you think about it, this makes sense.

Email marketing thrives on marketing to people who already know who you are. This is fine, most new business comes from current customers. Facebook, however, is much better at exposing you to an entirely new customer base. Facebook is built around and encourages sharing your message with friends. Email just doesn’t have the same purpose so it is difficult to expand your reach beyond your current email list.

The real take-away

The takeaway here is that you still need both. Email and Facebook are completely different and have different strengths. I think the key here is to make sure that you have a well-defined goal with your Facebook marketing. For example, what if you set out to convert Facbeook viewers into email newsletter subscribers? This way you are leveraging the advantages of Facebook and email all at the same time.

Using Facebook to convert casual readers into email newsletter subscribers is actually one of the primary topics we will be covering in our free, email-based, Master Facebook Marketing for Business course. If you aren’t already registered, be sure to click here and register. After all, it’s free!