May 20 | 4 minutes read

Email Marketing Does This Better Than Social Media

Marketers, beware: do not build on rented land.



At a recent content marketing conference in Norway, several marketing influencers - Joe Pulizzi, Jeff Bullas and Jesper Laursen among them - were adamant about two things.

One: “Don’t build on rented land.” And two: “Drive your followers towards email instead.”

As far as email goes, of course we're on board - but rented land? Is that a fancy new digital marketing buzzword?

Not quite. The “rented land” notion (spearheaded by Joe Pulizzi at the Content Marketing Institute) is actually an analogy to what companies do when they publish content exclusively on social media channels.

And we're here to tell you that it's not worth it.

To share or not to share?

Let’s say you’re in the office furniture business, and you’ve just written a great article about the pros and cons of standing desks. Where do you publish this piece? Facebook Instant Articles? A Linkedin blog post? Medium? Tumblr?

Or will you publish it on your company blog, and use social media and/or email marketing to promote it to your audience?

It’s a tricky question. On the one hand, research shows us that people spend more and more time in social apps. So theoretically, it makes sense to have your content as easily accessible to them as possible, right?

On the other hand: what if Facebook collapses tomorrow? What if LinkedIn or Medium is hacked and destroyed overnight? Any and all content you’ve ever published exclusively on these channels will be lost without a trace.


It’s all about the money, money, money

Of course, chances of our favourite social media platforms folding in on themselves are rather slim at this point. 

But here's the problem: even if Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest stay with us until the end of our days, it still doesn’t mean your audience will get to see your amazing piece on standing desks.

By now, the organic reach of Facebook posts is lower than 1%. (To put that into context: if you have 2700 followers, only 27 of them will surely see your latest posts and updates.)

Instagram is going the same way. Twitter recently introduced a new algorithmic timeline, and LinkedIn is relying more and more heavily on sponsored content and ads.

(And we haven't even mentioned the "content shock" phenomenon, which makes it even harder to stand out in an average news feed!)

These changes are no accident. Social media platforms have to make a living, just like any other business.

Which is fine! But it also means that the chance of reaching people with your one-of-a-kind content is getting smaller every day.

Good old email marketing

Of course, you can always boost/sponsor your social media posts to increase your reach. But here’s the thing:

Even if you get a flurry of likes, comments or followers from a particular post, what does it actually mean for your company?

Brand awareness? Yes. A sense of achievement? Absolutely. Conversions? Not so much.

So this is where it gets interesting for anyone with a soft spot for email: all those vanity metrics from social media (followers, likes, retweets etc.) will mean less real value for your company than a single email subscriber.

Subscribers read your content. They download your reports. They buy things from your online store. They’re people who have already made a commitment to your business - a much more tangible one than half-heartedly “liking” a post. (And they're potential leads as well, of course!)

Find out more about the value of subscribers from our FREE Email Marketing handbook!

Keeping this in mind, the whole “building on rented land” metaphor becomes easier to understand. It’s a simpler way of saying that your business assets shouldn’t be managed by another company. Ever.


Email & social media: together forever

So here’s the key takeaway: publishing content only on your social media channels does much less for your business than having it on your own platform (so it doesn’t disappear overnight) and promoting it through email marketing and social media.

Just to be clear: we’re not saying you should forget or downgrade your company's social media presence. (We post on social media channels as well! And we love them. They're awesome.)

But when it comes to promoting your own content, spending at least as much time on email marketing as social media marketing is definitely the business-savvy thing to do. 

Then you’ll be covered even if hackers burn the entire social environment around us to the ground next morning. We promise you.

Want to make your email marketing stand out? Our APSIS Consultants can tell you how - get in touch with them today!