Over the past 20 years, science has delivered a ton of interesting and useful inventions.
Smartphones. 3-D printing. And don’t even get me started on the burning-bush-level miracle that is Lady Gaga Oreos.
Overall, the point of innovation is to make life easier, better, more efficient.
Sometimes, however, things move in the wrong direction.
Take liquid “body wash.” Why this is considered an improvement over bar soap (which has been around for 5,000 years) is beyond me.
Whenever I visit someone and this is the only option, I spend my entire shower continually reaching over to replenish the supply, half of which washes away instantly.
My son Evan claims to have solved this dilemma by “keeping a reserve” on his body while showering (don’t ask, I don’t know and I don’t want to know). But it seems to me that this is much less convenient than simply holding a bar in your hand.
In the world of professional services marketing, there is also a new innovation that strikes me as less advantageous than what came before.
I’m talking about social media (new) compared to email (not so new).
Yes, social media allows you to stay visible and interact with people all over the world, quickly and easily, for free.
But if that’s all that existed, and somebody suddenly invented email, you’d be hopping up and down like an excited toddler who had just eaten half a package of Lady Gaga Oreos (you didn’t think I’d just mention those once, did you?).
Here’s why email is better…
#1. Email stays in the inbox.
In the time it’s taken you to read this far, posts made on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., have already been “pushed down the screen” on all of our accounts.
Sure, they are still down below for anyone who wants to go searching. But given the barrage of posts made, they are essentially gone forever.
The fact is, the vast majority of your social posts will never be seen by the vast majority of your followers.
Of course, these services do give people the option to be “notified,” so that they don’t miss the important stuff.
How do the notifications arrive? Oh right, they use a more reliable, more noticeable medium … they send you an email!
The email inbox – which, by the way, is a much less busy place than social – keeps all the messages there until you or I delete them.
#2. Email is more popular.
You may check social regularly, but you check email a lot more often.
In fact, according to OptinMonster, “99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day.”
Even I find that statistic a bit hard to believe (I’d be surprised if 99% of adults brushed their teeth every day).
But the point is, email is used all the time by everybody.
#3. Nobody owns email.
There are no “community guidelines,” the violation of which can get you banned forever.
There are no mysterious algorithms deciding which of your posts are seen by which of your followers.
Email is a completely distributed system with nobody in charge (insert your own Congress joke here). One in which the only people who get to decide if a message is worth seeing are the ones who are on the receiving end of it.
Plus, if tomorrow you decide that you no longer like your email vendor (Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.), just download your list and move to one of the dozens of other vendors out there.
Social media? Well, you can certainly leave. But the asset you’ve built over months and years isn’t coming with you.
Here’s the bottom line.
Unlike soap, the good news with email and social is that you don’t need to pick one over the other. They work very well together.
But, if you only have the time or attention span to do one well, should you pick the newer/cooler one … or the one that is actually going to grow your business?
P.S. Let me know and I’ll be happy to connect you with Evan directly.
- What’s your favorite invention/innovation of the 21st century?
- Are you now or have you ever been a member of Congress?
- Do you use email, social, neither, or both in your marketing?
Share your answers below…