Here’s the deal: email continues to outperform social media when it comes to customer engagement, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to stop anytime soon. According to the Radicati Group, there are more than 100 billion wanted emails sent everyday… and that number is expected to rise:

Graph showing the projected increase in business email vs. the projected decline in personal email.

According to Forrester Research, user interactions with companies on social websites peaks with Instagram at 4.21%, followed by Facebook at .07%, and Twitter at .03%.

Graph demonstrating the user interaction rates of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Those numbers only represent interactions, and they don’t necessarily mean that viewers took the next step to visit their website.

Email, on the other hand, gets much more interaction. According to Epsilon and the Email Institute’s report, for North America alone, triggered email is opened almost 30% of the time, and recipients actually click on links to visit the site 4.5% of the time:

Chart showing email engagement rates from Q3 2011 through Q3 2013.

So why is it that companies continue to dedicate time and money toward social media marketing? A better approach would be to optimize your existing email program.

Improving What You Have

Rather than focusing on a marketing channel where less than 1% of user interaction is considered good, we think your resources are better spent on improving your existing email program. Some of the best ways to do this include:

Testing – Whether you’re sending marketing or transactional email, it’s important to test your efforts. One of the elements of email that we encourage all senders to test is their template. Perform A/B testing to determine if certain layouts, designs, and images produce better engagement than others.

Tracking – Prepping your messages and getting them into a template is just the first part of the life of an email. What happens after you hit send? By tracking your messages, you can see what’s getting opened and clicked on in different parts of the world at what times. SendGrid’s Event Webhook provides all the analytics for you to see what customers are doing with your messages.

Optimizing – With the data obtained through tracking your email, you can now make incremental changes and optimize the messaging within your email. Make small changes to content and experiment with different calls to action. You can check out our guide to learn what makes a great email CTA.

Monitoring – With your email program in place, set benchmark metrics to determine of there are any outside influences impacting your delivery. Internet service providers (ISPs) like Gmail and Yahoo make changes to their filters all the time and they can make a huge difference in getting your messages to the inbox. Read about The ABCs of the ISPs so you’re ahead of the game.

To make sure your email program is performing, read our other guides to learn more about implementing all the tools you can. You can also learn more about how SendGrid can improve your email program for you on our Email Solutions page.

Warren Duff
Warren is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at SendGrid, specializing in email and content best practices, he develops many of the new guides you see SendGrid release as well as other pieces of content, including blogs, videos, case studies, and emails.