Although social media like Facebook and Twitter get all the buzz, it's email that generates leads and sales. For champions of social media, the numbers are somewhat embarrassing.
A recent report by Custora found that over the last four years, online retailers quadrupled their customer acquisition rates via email to nearly 7 percent. Facebook and Twitter barely registered as acquisition channels during the same period.
The study also looked at the long term value of customers acquired by email and social media. It tracked 72 million customers shopping on 86 retail sites over a period of two years to determine from where they clicked (email, Facebook, Twitter) as well as what and how much they purchased.
Email customers proved to be nearly 11 percent more valuable than average. Facebook customers were average and Twitter customers were 23 percent less valuable than average.
The take-away is this: Social media can be useful in building brand and encouraging referrals as part of a multi-channel marketing plan. But if you want to close the deal, use email.