Earlier this week, I spoke with an executive director at a large non-profit who wanted to know how she could replace email marketing with Twitter.
They have been using email marketing as the prime way to engage current supporters, but had been less than desirable results in recent months.
After spending considerable time discussing their strategy and past results, I had to break the news to her:
Twitter is not a replacement for email marketing
Just like you would never replace socks for shoes, or boxer shorts for swimming trunks, Twitter should not replace email marketing. There are several reasons for this, which I’ve outlined in this graph below:
Cheryl Phillips and I will be going into greater detail during next Tuesday’s teleconference, but I’ll mention a few points here:
- Very cheap and easy to use.
- Highly viral – An open network that is unlike any other social media site.
- Organize base – around events, around campaigns, Tweetups, Hashtags.
Email marketing strengths:
- Highly targeted messages that aren’t limited to 140 characters.
- Activity can be measured, even down to the user level.
- Messages can be personalized in response to each individual choices – people can opt-in to different lists.
How can they work together?
Twitter folks will opt-in to receive emails IF your content kicks ass. Having a blog with an email list is a essential. Email recipients will opt-in to your Twitter feed. Make sure you include your Twitter link in all of your emails. You could also give folks a way to retweet a message directly from an email, like in this example here.
Both email marketing and Twitter share one very important principle: Social web marketing is all about the opt-in. You can blast out a Twitter stream or to spam to an email list. But it won’t work. What works is creating a force, like a magnet, that draws people to you.