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Social media : Don’t Believe The Hype! Introducing the EFT ratio.

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 12 Nov, 2009
Essential Essential topic

Do you think the hype about social media vastly exaggerates the commercial reality of it's importance?

If you do, this post is for you - it presents one example as proof against the hype if your colleagues are asking "Why don't we have a social presence", it's also a great excuse for me to embed the best rap song ever...

The full video isn't available for Embed (thanks Universal).

Introducing the EFT ratio

One thing that social media proponents are fond of is dissing email; foretelling the death of email. But the reality is that for most brands email works fantastically well.

Sure, we need to work at increasing relevance in email by better targeting - that's right touching - but Email delivers in terms of reach into audience and sales.

A simple way of looking at the relative reach is the EFT ratio or proportion of Email subscribers to Facebook Fans to Twitter subscribers? Here's one example which shows the reach of email.

The ASOS.com EFT ratio

ASOS.com are a UK Internet fashion pureplay who have been performing incredibly well with their 2008 annual report reporting a 90% increase in sales to 81 million and a 117% increase in profit to 7.3 million.

So what is their EFT ratio? Well, reviewing the number of email subscribers from recent interviews with ASOS.com marketing and operations director Hash Lada suggests 2 million email registered users and 1.2 million active customers (those who have bought within the past six months).

Looking up the current number of Facebook fans (an impressive 161,000) and Twitter followers (a distinctly less impressive 19,000) gives...

EFT: Email : Facebook : Twitter of 100 to 8 to 1

More significantly their annual report shows that email is delivering commercially - it's twice weekly email to customers generated 9% of sales - that's around £10 million - much more impressive than the oft reported $3million makes from US Twitter clearance outlet.

ASOS are awesome (at Social Media and DM)

The other thing to remember about the 100 to 1 Email to Twitter ration is that ASOS are rightly feted as one of the most social-savvy UK retailers, so they have really invested in a social media strategy and are better at it than most. It will be interesting to see whether they report social-media referred sales in their 2009 report...

I know that social media advocates (and that includes me) will argue that the Twitter followers and Facebook fans are more engaged and interacting and I"€™m sure this is the case and it is this interaction with advocates who need the up-to-minute updates from a Facebook/Twitter feeds that still makes social investment vital for all brands. But email isn't dead - that's all I'm saying.

And neither is traditional direct marketing dead - ASOS invests substantially in its customer magazine which is read by over 350,000 loyal customers and I suspect will drive more sales than email and social combined.

Integration is the main requirement though - email and social can work together though, lines and offers that are seen to be popular within social media can be used to inform the content and offers used in the enewsletter.

So now you know. As well as a rap fan, I'm a cynic - it's an essential characteristic of successful digital marketers.

I used to play this video in what we used to call Internet marketing strategy training sessions back in 1999/2000.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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