Zuckerberg has done it again! Or has he? Late this spring, Facebook began quietly rolling out an email marketing platform for select business profiles. The move was later confirmed by Facebook, which went on to say the program is still in the testing phases and is only available to some small and mid-sized businesses.
So, are we witnessing the beginning of a new era of email marketing? To cut to the chase, likely not. If and when the new platform is rolled out to the broader market, you might be tempted to give it a try. After all, integrating your social and email marketing seems like a smart move, right? Not exactly. We’ll outline the reasons why below and offer some better options for maximizing your email marketing strategy. But first…
Is Facebook’s Email Marketing Platform Available to My Business?
We’ll be the first to admit: playing around with new marketing tools is fun. And even though we’ve done some of the digging for you, you might still want to check out the platform for yourself. To find out if your business is one of the first to have access to Facebook Marketing Emails, follow these steps:
On your business page, check the left sidebar. If you have access, you should see a tab for “Marketing Emails,” along with a blue alert letting you know you have the ability to send messages to your email list directly from Facebook.
Click the tab and confirm your email address in the pop-up.
You’ll then be prompted to enter your subscribers’ addresses, either manually or uploaded from a spreadsheet.
You must confirm that you have permission from your subscribers to send promotional information and that they have not opted out of sharing their contact information.
Compose and send your emails.
Upsides of Email Marketing Through Facebook
For the sake of fairness, we don’t want to drag a marketing tool that may be useful for certain businesses. There are some pros to this new platform, and you might find they outweigh the cons. So, what are the upsides?
It’s Free. If your business is granted access to Facebook Email Marketing, there is no cost to use it. If you’re new to email marketing and want to get your feet wet before committing to a more robust platform, this is a risk-free option.
It’s Quick and Easy. You’re likely already familiar with Facebook and know your way around. You can jump into Facebook Email Marketing quickly with no learning curve, and start sending emails to your list right away.
It’s Simple for Businesses with an Established Social Following. If you don’t have a large email list, but you do well with social engagement, this could be a great way to grow leads and convert your Facebook followers into email subscribers.
Downsides of Email Marketing Through Facebook
On the flip side, we can’t say that the benefits listed above are unique to Facebook or that they offer solutions that meet the needs of most email marketers. So, why steer clear of Facebook Email Marketing?
Questionable Deliverability. From our First Page Email Expert: “When it comes to email, there is nothing more important than deliverability. After all, if your emails aren't being delivered, what’s the point? Email deliverability can be surprisingly difficult to master, and we wouldn't count on it being great for Facebook out of the gate.”
Data Protection. More wisdom from our Email Expert: “Do you trust Facebook with all your customer data? Facebook ads are so powerful because of the amount of data Facebook has about its users. How can we be sure that Facebook won't take your uploaded customer email list and repurpose/reuse it in other ways? The short answer is that we can’t.”
If It Ain't Broke. Don’t fix it, right? A final word from our Email Expert: “While we don't have all the details on how the tool will work, we'd be willing to bet it won't have a fraction of the features other email tools like HubSpot or Marketo have. If you're already using an email marketing or marketing automation tool, there will be little reason to switch.”
Why It’s Better to Use an Integrated Email Marketing Tool
If you aren’t a small or midsize brand, Facebook Email Marketing simply doesn’t offer the power and features you need to guide your customers through their buyers’ journey. As a HubSpot partner agency, we recommend their comprehensive suite of marketing tools, including email marketing software designed to fit the unique needs of your brand. What does HubSpot (and other industry leaders like Marketo and ActiveCampaign) bring to the table?
Marketing Automation. Set it and forget it! Not exactly, but if you want an email strategy that delivers results, you’ll need to incorporate automation — a feature that Facebook doesn’t seem to provide. Read up on our best picks for marketing automation, and why this is such an integral element of your tech stack.
Robust Analytics. While Facebook is promising analytics with its new platform, it’s still too fresh to know if these metrics are enough to build an effective email campaign. For email marketing to work, you have to know if you’re sending the right message to the right audience at the right time. That’s where analytics play the most valuable role. Do you know why your audience hits unsubscribe? Analytics can tell you. Do you want to segment your audience for better conversion? Analytics can help. Data-driven email strategies are more likely to be winning strategies.
Single-Source Campaign Management. As we mentioned above, if most of your business happens on social, Facebook Email Marketing may be a viable option. But most brands have campaigns that stretch across multiple platforms, and email marketing is only a piece (albeit an important one) of it. An all-in-one platform, like HubSpot, can allow you to manage every facet of a broader campaign from one place, helping you maintain consistency and get a big picture look at your results.
Ultimately, we say, “Slow your roll, Facebook.” While the platform has transformed the way brands do business, it wasn’t designed with that focus in mind. When it comes to something that is so key to your brand’s success, it’s better to trust the experts. The platforms mentioned above are great places to get started, or you can contact us to have one of our in-house Email Experts create custom solutions for your brand.