It used to be that one of the main goals for every online marketer was to capture email addresses, or the opt-in email address. This was the gold at the end of the website rainbow. Email addresses gave marketers the opportunity to reach out to prospects and sell them their goods and services, and to up-sell/cross-sell to current customers.
Depending on whom you believe, open rates and click-thru rates for email are declining (see chart). It makes sense to see both of these rates dropping as it becomes easier for consumers to block email or buy products under a “spam” email address. And then, there is that thing called Facebook.
I know several younger people who have never even used email. They use Facebook and can trade private messages using Facebook, text, or chat apps. Businesses still use email for the bulk of their communication, but if you have a consumer product, email is probably not the best way to reach your consumers anymore.
This means the best way to reach your prospects on a regular, and frequent basis is through Facebook. Or, more precisely, by getting them to “like” your brand, product, or company. If a person “likes” your fan page, you start to show up on their Wall, and all of their friends see your post. Facebook users have an average of 130 friends, and this is growing.
Here are the reasons a Facebook Like is more valuable than an email opt-in:
- On average, internet users spend far more time on Facebook than on their personal email.
- Email from companies is seen as spam.
- Customers need to forward emails for their friends, but on Facebook, an average of 130 friends automatically see your message.
- It’s easier to push a Facebook post vs. scheduling an email blast.
- It’s easier and more acceptable for a fan to share or like your post with their friends.
The challenge companies will have over time is not getting the Likes, but keeping them. Unlike a friend who you risk offending by un-friending them, there is virtually no fear of hurting a company’s feelings.