Will Twitter supersede email marketing in the near future?
Ever since social media blew up big, experts have sworn that Twitter will single-handedly slay email marketing as we know it. Twitter has been framed as the hip kid in town, and email marketing, long an invaluable tool for online sellers, has been painted the stodgy, cranky old man who doesn't like change.
Now that the dust has settled a bit, some inexperienced online sellers do believe that Twitter has superseded email marketing, when in reality the two marketing tools complement each other perfectly. Here's how Twitter and email marketing stack up against each other.
Aesthetics – An email newsletter can be designed to match any brand identity and style, while in Twitter you’re limited to being able to change the background. Customers react more positively to a visual appeal which is consistent across platforms, and email allows customization that is impossible in Twitter. Advantage: Email.
Brevity – Twitter has the unmistakable advantage here, as if a marketer can master the art of condensing a promotional pitch into a scant 140 characters then the online world is their oyster. There is nothing like Twitter to appeal to a customer quickly by hitting them swiftly and powerfully with a strong driving message. Advantage: Twitter.
Checkout - Studies have shown that most consumers are 50% more likely to purchase from a company which has been emailing them over one that they’re following on Twitter. Advantage: Email.
Frequency – You can Tweet with a frequency that would get the CAN-SPAM police knocking down your door, while email needs to be meticulously issued to not violate tolerance thresholds. Advantage: Twitter.
Personalization – Email can be segmented to appeal to specific categories within your customer base while Twitter is essentially a one to all uncustomizable broadcast. This factor makes Twitter a far blunter tool for surgically catering to the specific needs and preferences of particular customer groups. Advantage: Email
Privacy – An email is a communication which is directly intended for a single individual while Twitter is a completely public announcement which can seem more like a broadly based advertisement. Emails are seen by your customers as a confidential missive in contrast to Twitter’s “shouting from the rooftops.” Advantage: Email.
Regulations – While every day brings more restrictive governmental legislation around the world covering what email marketers can and cannot do, Twitter is a wide open and effectively unregulated marketplace. You can legitimately approach customers on Twitter fully within the realm of netiquette and legality in ways that would get you labeled as a spammer if you did that in email. Advantage: Twitter.
Transparency – No email subscriber knows whether they are one of a hundred or a million on your list, but Twitter follower lists are visible to all. It is much easier for a small company to portray the illusion of a major international brand through email newsletters than on Twitter where it is easy to determine that the following numbers in the dozens. Advantage: Email.
Uniformity – Twitter wins this one as no matter how you access the service and what desktop, laptop, or mobile device you use, the interface is always the same. When you’re composing email newsletters you have to deal with aspects of word processing, design, email clients, and other factors that lack the built-in elegance of a simple, straightforward tweet. Advantage: Twitter.
Both Twitter and email marketing have their relative and fully complementary strengths. Not every customer suffers from ADHD and prefers to receive all their brand information in soundbites, as there are countless instances where 140 characters simply do not suffice to get the message across properly.
This era of online marketing is noted for substantially rewarding a coherent, studied, and comprehensive approach to the consumer via all of the channels available. In other words, use Twitter to spark customer interest, but use your in-depth newsletter content to make that sale.