Prepare to be confronted! In fact the digital marketing world may claim that we are borderline insane, however the powerful variable which continues to influence the serge of the digital marketing industry into the 21st century is simple – Statistics don’t lie.

We are about to expose the most common sense yet alarming statistics that will prove to business owners worldwide why they must ditch their email marketing and list building efforts, in exchange for a social media strategy that will reduce your online marketing costs and will take your business right to the cutting edge.

This strategy has the potential to even explode your lead generation!

The buzz around social media and the willingness of Facebook to welcome the business world into their community is not news, but let’s take a closer look at why your social media strategy SHOULD replace or at the very least work in conjunction with your email marketing efforts.

The Microscope on Email Marketing

You cannot deny the fact that online businesses have been the beneficiary of billions of dollars in revenue that has been generated and directly attributed to email marketing campaigns across the globe. But it’s time to look at the cold hard statistics which would suggest that these numbers are rapidly declining and identify the obvious reasons why.

According to a recent July 2010 Edition of the Email Marketing Benchmark Report released by marketingSherpa, the average open rate of emails in the USA dropped from 14% in half 2 of 2007 to a humble 11.2% in half 2 of 2009.

The decline in email open rates has been attributed to factors like image blocking, increased use of email handheld devices and list fatigue, but the biggest reason is being grossly neglected. It is what we are calling the era of social advocacy – Social Media.

Like that is not bad enough, let’s delve even deeper into this alarming report and analyse specific email sectors and how they have performed. It would be fair to say that most email marketing efforts are generally motivated primarily by a “Marketing” or sales driven message, and if we where to compare the experience and interaction on face book to a specific email sector then that would be “Entertainment” – correct?

Well get a load of this, 2 of the 4 most under performing sectors in the report was the Entertainment sector at 9.2% and even worse, the Marketing sector at a dismal 7.4% open rate.

Why you ask?

In a nutshell, Social Media. Nobody wants to hear about your independent opinions about your discounted products or latest business moves via email, nor do they want to read an email about the next big concert to hit your town. What they want, is to see your news and interactions on social media platforms which is then backed up by the social advocacy and interaction of their family, friends and face book buddies. This is why email marketing is dead and it’s proof – Let’s move on!

Social Media Statistics

So we discussed earlier in this article about the fact that the social media buzz was not news, and you’re all well aware of it. It may well be the case that you just don’t realise how massive it really is until we stack up the statistics to prove it.

Did you know that Facebook proudly claims to have over 500 million members on board (at the time they last updated their statistics page), they are growing at a rate of over 700,000 members per/day at times. We know the younger generation are on there and that is great news for marketing to future consumers. But even more exciting is the recently released figures which are current as of January 4th 2010 which suggest that the fastest growing demographic of people joining face book right now are those people aged between 35 -55 with an increase of over 625% making the membership tallies go from 7.94 million to over 39.6 million in a single year.

These people are business owners, money earning consumers that are looking for your business offerings now. Combine that with the ability of marketing on one platform which is speaking to current consumers and also the youngsters who will be buying tomorrow.

Now let’s look at the growth rate statistics for businesses using Facebook as a means of communicating with their customers. If you are a business owner and not quite convinced yet, then this should remove any shadow of a doubt. A report summary released by emarketer highlights the percentage of businesses in the USA using face book as a means to engage their customers.