Email Marketing is Dead! So Why do Social Networks Email Me?

Email Marketing is Dead!  At least this is what the “social media gurus” are telling everyone and want you to believe.  If this is true though… then why do I still get a relentless amount of email from social networks?  Simple answer, email works and is effective.

Sure, email, email marketing, and newsletters might be one of those “ancient” web technologies.  Email was around before Tim Berners-Lee setup the first web server and the internet was born.  So it is not really a cool or hip technology even if you use Gmail with all the great features it comes with like Gmail Tabs.  There is also Mailman which has been around forever and other free newsletters options like DadaMail and phpList.  By all accounts e-mail should be technology you read about in computer science textbooks and something your parents, or even grandparents, reminisce about… but it's not.

Many big social networks still use email marketing to constantly engage and remind users to come back.  This includes all the current social media big players like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.  ALL of them send you notification emails, newsletters, updates, etc.

Let's take Pinterest as an example since this image sharing website's meteoric rise is because of email marketing.  Yeah, I'll get emails saying I'm wrong about this but it's true.  Take for instance this old email I dug up from my the dungeon of my inbox from Pinterest regarding “favorite recipes” and cooking.   The first screenshot is the start of the email and the bottom a fraction of the Pins they included in this newsletter.

email marketing is dead

pinterest email marketing


While I didn't find this email of interest to myself I'm sure it worked as 70% of Pinterest users are women.  Why else would Pinterest send this types of emails to users?  Sending millions of emails is expensive so they are not going to do it just for fun.  These emails get people on Pinterest, pinning, re-pinning, and sharing.  This is just what they want.  I'm sure this is in Ben Silberman's, the founder of Pinterest, marketing plan.

Twitter is another good example of social network that uses email marketing.  If you do not opt out they relentlessly send you daily updates of what's happened and important tweets tailored to who you follow.  They also send you Tweets when people reply, mention, or retweet you.  You can unsubscribe from this torrent of Twitter emails but they don't make it easy.

Facebook is another great example as they do they same as their archrival Twitter.  Of course they take it a step further which is one of the reasons I deleted my Facebook account.  When people reply to a post you commented on, they send you an email.  If you haven't logged into your account in awhile, you get an email.  They'll try to email you so you can “reconnect” with those people you are not connecting with on Facebook.   If you log in and post, they might send you an email about that.  Honestly, Facebook is pretty relentless in their email marketing.

Then there is also Tumblr, the wildly popular blogging platform.  Tumblr sends you an email whenever your blog reaches a post milestone.  For instance if you've reached 100 posts, you'll get an email about that.   You also get aggregated emails from blogs you follow containing their posts and images.  Tumblr even sends you an emails about posts that you put on your blog.  Unsure why they do this, I guess they figure you won't remember what you've posted?  I guess they think not very smart people post on Tumblr.

Cleary I've outlined all these emails are annoying, so why has this old technology endured?  The truth of the matter is there isn't anything that's better and more effective than email marketing.  Emails provide better ROI (return on investment) than social networks.  Even all the social media sites know this which is why they email you.

The reason so many new sites, magazines, blogs, forums, etc. use email newsletters is that many users visit a website, like the content, and never return.  However if they can grab your email address that allows them a chance to re-engage you and have you come back.  If they have your email they can build personal connections that are hard to match.  So long as you don't mark any of these emails as spam or junk and don't unsubscribe from the newsletter.

Social networking sites understand this too.  They want/need people to come back onto their site, so they use the email base to reconnect and engage with users.  I often attempt to unsubscribe from these unwanted emails but they don't make it easy.  All those emails must work as they keep sending them out.

Email marketing is dead? Hardly.

By the way, feel free to sign-up for my email list with exclusive content. 🙂

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