May 242013

Last week I was asked at a conference to reflect upon the future of digital and among other things I made a reflection that seemed to resonate with those gathered. It was:

Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

As online publishers we see a steady stream of articles being written about new and future technologies, companies and trends in the online publishing space.

It is certainly an exciting time to be doing what we’re doing with such amazing development happening all around us and some amazing projections being made about what is ahead of us – however in the midst of all this development it is easy to overlook some of the most effective ‘old’ technologies and trends that we also have at our finger tips.

The reality is that while many new and future technologies are exciting and promising the world – that many of them are still either untested or not yet reaching their potential.

The example I used last week was to compare the effectiveness of social media against email in my own blogging.

On Digital Photography School we have

  • around 300,000 social media connections (mainly Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest)
  • around 300,000 RSS subscribers
  • around 700,000 email subscriber

Last week we

  • updated our social media accounts around 150 times over the week
  • published 14 new posts to our blog (and RSS feed)
  • sent a single email to our email list

Which was the most effective for us in terms of driving traffic?

Hands down it was the email we sent. I’d estimate that last week the single email generated well over 10 times the traffic that the 150 social media updates and the 14 RSS updates combined.

Our previous testing also shows that when we launch a new eBook that a short series of emails will generate over 90% of our sales of our eBooks over launch even though we promote it to social media numerous times during the launch too.

By no means is social media a waste of our time – it helps with multiple objectives that we have (it does drive some traffic, builds community/engagement, helps with branding, drives some sales) but my point is that an old technology like email still has an exceptional return on investment in our situation.

I will continue to invest time, energy and resources into developing a social media strategy – however not at the expense of ‘old’ media that is a tried and true strategy.

What about you –

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 Posted by at 2:56 pm

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