There’s a lot of chatter buzzing about our socially-charged “Liking,” “tweeting,” “linking” marketing industry about whether or not email is dead. Some have claimed it is outdated while others have officially announced the death of email.

The thought is that, just as we’ve moved away from paper memos, we’ll eventually move away from email because social media simulates a much more natural conversation. And while that might be true, the interesting part of this debate is that many if not ALL social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn presently and frequently communicate with their audience using…wait for it…EMAIL!

Facebook sends you an email every time someone in your network tags you in a photo. Twitter emails you “people who have Tweets for you” to bring you back to their site. LinkedIn created their new endorsement system in hopes of creating that same recurring engagement, as they send you an email every time someone endorses you.

As influential as social media is, we all, including social media companies, go back to what we know works…email marketing.

But why do we keep going back to email?

Email marketing has withstood the test of time. It’s tried and true. And while it may not be the cool new rookie on the court, it’s the seasoned veteran a team will turn to when they’re down in the 4th.

Email marketing is personal, targeted, and inspires action. For these reasons, social media companies continue to use email to drive traffic to their sites and strengthen engagement.

One-to-many versus one-to-one

Social media is about one-to-many communications. And while this type of communication has proven its power and reach, its impact in relation to conversions can be diluted when compared to the potency of a one-to-one communication. In fact, 57 percent of small businesses are actively trying to grow their email lists at all times. There’s a reason for that. Email marketing remains the most effective way to have relevant, personal conversations with your customers.

Reach your customers where they are everyday — their inbox

A study conducted by the Radicati Group revealed that in 2013, 82.6 billion consumer emails were sent/received per day.

The total number of worldwide email accounts is also expected to increase from nearly 3.9 billion accounts in 2013 to over 4.9 billion accounts by the end of 2017.

We know customers are accessing their email every day. That’s why targeting customers where we know they’ll be with personal content continues to be as effective as it is.

Email inspires action

According to new data from Monetate, email continues to be one of the biggest drivers of conversions for businesses with an ecommerce presence.

The study, which analyzed more than 500 million shopping experiences in Q1 2013, found that the conversion rate for email was 3.19 percent, compared to 1.95 percent for search, and just .71 percent for social media.

Monetate’s vice president of marketing, Blair Lyon, explains why email can be so successful in ecommerce marketing:

“Email is all about segmentation and personalized messaging. We need to continue to focus on delivering relevant messaging that is appropriate to the individual person, their behavior, and time. Matching the email to the context and stage of that customer in their buying process is crucial. It really is all about the right content to the right customer at the right time.”

The pulse

At the heart of every successful content marketing program is a solid, email marketing strategy. Think of email marketing as the pulse of your marketing strategy and social media as your vessel. They complement one another. And when they work together, their impact is potent.

So to answer the question that’s floating around, email is not dead. It’s alive and well. Why? Because personal one-to-one communication with your customers that’s targeted and inspires conversions is hard to beat.

Join us as we celebrate Small Business Week 2013 with a special live webcast on June 14, 2013 designed to help you find your next great customer. Want to attend a live event? Find one in your area.