How Social Media Can Screw Up Your Email Marketing

Social media can be a great asset to your business. It can greatly help you market your product and services. It can also screw up other areas of your marketing campaigns if you’re not careful.

One point I drive home in my book Brand Against The Machine (is it considered a shameless plug when it’s my blog?) is that the way you market yourself matters. Sadly, most businesses never stop to think of how their marketing efforts align with their brand.

An all too common, and deadly mistake I’m seeing made daily is using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or whatever….to blast every newsletter, promotion, and content that you also send to your email list.

Why is this a problem?

There’s no point to someone being on your email list if they get all of the same stuff through your social media channels. Publishing some of the same stuff is okay. But for Pete’s sake people should be rewarded for giving you their email address! It’s a higher level of trust. Don’t waste that opportunity by giving them the same stuff as everyone else.

Why is this such a costly mistake?

A subscriber to your email list is worth more than a follower on a social media channel. You can reach people in a more intimate way (I’ve got 4.2 dirty jokes after writing that but I’ll keep them to myself). The relationship you build with them through email is stronger.

Even with inboxes being crowded, it’s easier to get read there than through social media where your message has a shelf life of seconds. I love and appreciate every person who follows me on the various social media channels. It’s not something you should take for granted. However, you want them to take the next step with you, and that next step is being on your email list.

Stop sharing everything you’ve got through every available channel out there. Give your email subscribers something your Facebook friends and Twitter followers don’t get. Increase the level of value you provide people as they increase their level of trust with you. (Tweet this.)

  • timdavis

    You are dead on right! I was on several list, but realized they would post the exact content out to their social media, so I unsubscribed. Why clutter up my email box when I can go get the “good stuff” on my own terms and time – preach it brutha!

  • John Morgan

    And that’s where the missed opportunity is. You were on their list but unsubscribed. People will unsubscribe from an email before they’ll unfriend someone on FB. Now they have to compete with a noisier crowd to get your attention. And you’re less-likely to get back on their email list. 

  • Andrea

    What a fantastic post. You are so right. I struggle a bit with social media. Not enough time to do everything as it is. And I know you’ve said before that social media is a great place to engage with people and get cozy, but the list is ultimately the breadwinner at the end of the day. Now I just need to split myself in two in order to get everything done! 

  • John Morgan

    Andrea, I find social media is an excellent place for people to get an entry into your business & funnel. But as you said the list is the breadwinner and that has to be the next goal. Moving people to the list is critical in my opinion. 

  • Jonathan Rivera

    I like what you’re saying here and I agree you definitely want to save some extra goodies for those that have moved beyond the velvet rope.

    Although I do like the idea of repurposing older emails as blog content to also thank my RSS subscribers for being there too.

    But you’re 1000% right – the money is in the list.


  • John Morgan

    You’re spot on Jonathan. Finding ways to reward people for being connected is the key. Thanks for the comment!

  • Chris @ Rizzo Tees

    “But can’t I send a tweet that automatically blasts to Facebook, LInkedIn, Google+ and Flopper?” I made Flopper up.

    I am not good at email marketing, and therefore I’m a big baby about it and don’t really appreciate it. That notwithstanding, you are spot on here. Consumers will begin to tune out when they see repetitive messages, and ironically enough, when they FEEL like they’re being marketed to. Of course, they gave you express permission to market to you when they surrendered their email address. Nevertheless, if they feel spammed, it will forever change how they feel about you and your organization.

    It’s about winning hearts and minds, not losing them!

  • John Morgan

    Excellent points Chris! And I think Flopper is the next great social media channel! 

  • Chris @ Rizzo Tees

    The only question I have: if you drive away an email subscriber because they have now been trained to consume your content via social, is that really a net loss? 

  • John Morgan

    I think it is. It’s so easy to miss a message on social media. For example, if someone tweets their newsletter or whatever on Thursday morning, and I have appointments that morning I may not see it by the time I get around to checking twitter. I don’t go back on Twitter or FB to see what I missed, but I always check my email. 

  • Chris Reimer

    Quite true. Good point. Curse you for being so smart!

  • timdavis

     For me I would say yes, simply because social media is not as top of mind for me as an email and I have been having several conversations lately where a number of people have told me that they are distancing themselves from social media and not being as active as they once were. For example, I don’t follow John on social media everyday, but I do read his emails when they come over. In fact this blog post is the perfect example. I didn’t come to his website to see what he was up to, I got the email and found it intriguing enough to open and click through.  As the information age continues the fight for attention is wearing thin on some people from what I am experiencing and have been told. I am sure time will tell.

  • John Morgan


  • Jared Fabac

    Great write up, John. This was the exact point I was talking about today when discussing Marketo’s acquisition of Crowd Factory. Many people are excited that their social media can now be automated with marketing automation software. To me, it scares the hell out of me that some may begin to lose sight of the individual value each marketing channel has. I see a lot of duplication coming. Duplication that will devalue lists and the members who comprise them. 

    It’s not just e-mails, either. It’s the entire marketing landscape that social media is taking value from because it’s “trending”. The PR industry is facing challenges of losing control of messages. SEO is in jeopardy of becoming a popularity contest as social media gains significance in that arena (wrote an in-depth blog about it). Social media is a powerful and effective platform, but value needs to continue to be realized on various platforms and monetized individually. It’s like charging people to hear you speak, and then streaming it live on Ustream. The paying attendees are your e-mail list, and the free streamers are your social media. One of them are going to be justifiably pissed. :)

  • John Morgan

    Jared, you said it better than I did! 

    I once saw someone charge people to attend an event, then streamed it live for free, and then took questions from the people on Ustream and not from the people sitting in the audience who paid to be there. 

  • Jared Fabac

    Ugh, social media should enhance human relations, not eliminate them. 

    Dude, send the person that pulled that stunt a free copy of your book. For the love of God, send it.

  • John Morgan

    haha! The sad part is that they have read my book. But the event they did was years ago, so hopefully they’ve learned the right way to do it. :)

  • Kay Wilson

    John, thank you for the reminder, it is true that most of us have gotten excited about social media and have let our email list idle or repeat a lot of the same info.  You stimulated some good thoughts.

  • Janicemobsby

    Thanks John, you are so right..I use social media to connect with others, yes I do send out tweets now & then but it’s really for backlinks.. As for email I’m not too good at that, going to get it back up.. Sending emails that is…You really have to learn to give good free information to your readers.. It’s a challage for me, but I’ll get threw it..


  • John Morgan

    You’re welcome Kay!

  • John Morgan

    Thanks Janice

  • Stephanie Fischbach

    Thanks for posting, John. The points you make here are absolutely true. Incentive and exclusivity is what drives customer engagement.