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Best Choice: Facebook LIKE or Qualified eMail Address?

facebook like or email address? If you had to pick one, what would it be? A Facebook “like” or an email address?  When building a community and connecting with your audience, would you rather have 1000 fans on your Facebook page or 1000 qualified names?

Although the answer on the surface seems quite simple, the truth is it’s not so simple.

A social media speaker and friend of mine, Steve Mordue asked a similar question on his Facebook page last week.  Within minutes he had a string of comments with many strong opinions.  I found the conversation quite interesting and haven’t been able to get it off my mind since.

Although I don’t usually do this, I am going to provide you my opinion right up front.

My answer: If I have the choice of a qualified email address or a “like” of my Facebook business page, I choose the email address.

Coming from someone who believes in social media you might think, “She’s crazy, why doesn’t she want a Facebook like versus an email address?” Yes, I do believe in social media. However, anyone who knows me knows that I also believe in the importance of integrating social media into your business to obtain a positive return on investment. Social media is not a Band-aid for a broken business, nor should it be managed as a stand-alone silo of Facebook likes.

Because I was so curious of what others thought I ran a Poll Daddy poll and started a LinkedIn discussion. The response has been almost unanimous: “I’ll take the email address.”

Some will argue that nobody uses email anymore. Hmmm… I think my inbox would beg to differ.  Only the future will tell if the teens of today use email tomorrow or if it will be some converged form of Facebook, Text and integrated social platform in 122 characters versus 140 (joking).

Maybe the truth is that we’re comparing apples to oranges. The two are obvious not the same. They each bring different benefits. The key is to build authentic social relationships that inspire your audiences to action.  Yes, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the hundreds of other social platforms can all help do this.

However, for the purpose of this post let’s discuss the preference of marketers to leverage email versus a Facebook “like” to foster relationships with a goal of a sale of a product or service.  I acknowledge in the real world we obviously don’t have to choose. However, for the purpose of this post we’re going to pretend we do.

Why I choose a qualified email address over a single Facebook like.

1. Why do I have to choose? Since I practice integrated marketing, not Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) or Random Acts of Social Media (RASMs) if I had my choice I would pick both. However, since I can’t - even for my own exercise - I pick the email address.

2. “Likes” are good but the real value comes in your ability to inspire them to action past the “like”. Just because someone “likes” your page doesn’t mean they have ever looked at anything you’ve posted since the first day they clicked “like”.  The majority of Facebook “likers” will never visit the page they liked again. It’s up to you to inspire your Facebook fans to further engage and join your community.

3. eMail is not dead yet. It reminds me of the Monty Python Holy Grail movie in the scene where they are all bringing out their dead. I remember the one man yelling, “but I’m not dead yet”.  Another responds with “he will be by morning.”  Yes, email could eventually morph into something else. However, for most businesses it’s not dead yet.

4. My target market still uses email. The data proves it. They open, they read, they click thru and they pick up the phone to inquire about our services. They take action which equals a positive return on investment for our business.

5. It is more intimate. It helps us nurture client relationships. We know who’s opening what content. We know what they like, what they don’t like. We are then able to better serve them up entertaining content on the Facebook page, Twitter feeds and LinkedIn conversations.

6. eMail builds trust and thought leadership. Obviously the email subscriber has more skin in the game than a simple “liker”.  From first click of the “subscribe” button they are making a silent statement of trust. It’s up to me what I do with that trust.

7.  I can easily get my email subscribers to my Facebook page. Not always so easy to get a Facebook “liker’s” email address.

8. It works. Bottom line, every time I send out an email to our audience, the phone rings. Can’t say the same thing for every time I post on my Facebook page or get a Facebook like. We are seeing good results with integrating email to our marketing and social media efforts. I can’t imagine our business without our automated email nurturing system integrated into the DNA of our audience communications.

9. It cuts down the sales cycle. By integrating email with social media we have substantially cut down the lead qualification to sales close cycle. Usually our leads are self qualified and by the time they contact us they have followed us on Twitter (if they’re on Twitter), joined our Facebook fan page, connected with us on LinkedIn and usually subscribed to our email updates. By the time they call they are ready for a meeting to discuss specifics. My co-founder meets with them and usually by the second meeting I show up for 30 minutes and close the deal.  The meeting usually ends and starts with a hug as they feel they already know me from the video, Facebook posts and email nurturing. It’s the nirvana of integrated marketing with a turbo dash of social media.

10.  I ask “why not?” There is not yet a replacement.   If you implement an automated email system like Infusionsoft, the return on investment can be out the roof. It’s easy to leverage content you create for social platforms and blogs within the email. It helps readership and increases the return on investment for all marketing and content as it offers an intimate and personal method to share information. Unless you are targeting the teens who aren’t on email, I question why you wouldn’t want to leverage email within an integrated marketing program and plan?

As with any marketing medium, platform or tool, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The key to success in business, online marketing and social media is to develop an integrated plan, platform and execution strategy that supports your business goals and objectives. Choosing only a Facebook like may wind you up with a lot of people who like you a lot but never buy from you.

As Brian Solis states “the social currency of social media is action.” Inspiring your audience to take an action such as subscribing to your email newsletter could be the holy social grail you’re missing.

Don’t base you decisions only on the opinions or results of your colleagues or believe every blog post you read. They may be ready to set the email campaigns on the next “dead pick-up bus” prematurely.  Do the due diligence for yourself, your business, your audience and build a plan that helps you meet your business goals.

Remember, it’s not just the Facebook Like that matters. It’s what happens after the Facebook Like that matters most!

Your Turn

So what do you pick? The Facebook “like” or the email address? Why did you choose your answer? What are you seeing your business partners, clients and colleagues doing? Are they putting all of their eggs in one basket?

What is your goal in social media? Are your goals focused on Facebook likes, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Facebook fans or all of the above?

Join The Conversation

  • May 31 Posted 4 years ago Mo Mastafa

    Hey, great article Pam.

    I had the same feeling when I set about building a list the other day using facebook paid traffic. My plan was to get 100 new optins onto my list. However, the traffic turned out to be much cheaper going from the facebook at to my fan page, compared to my squeeze page.

    The result so far is that I generate around 75 optins, but after directing traffic to my fan page I generated over 1000 likes (total campaign time around 2 weeks).

    It cost me twice as much in total ad spend to get 1000 likes, compared to 75 optins. But in truth, I would have much preffered if the optins were at a 1000 and the likes at 75. :)

    Still testing different ad variations, so will crack the code soon.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    Mo Mastafa



  • Apr 30 Posted 6 years ago Angel Estrada (not verified)

    I guess Faceboook and email marketing has diferent targets, as someones says social media like facebook is a time investment, while email marketing has a fast response; email marketing is a direct coneccion it keeps between  company and final customers, facebook updates or comments are multidirectional connection it takes more impresion on web, mobile, and many others devices and apps,

    What we've to remember is that email communication are qualified customers that were register by them, 'cause they were looking us for some service or product and still want to keep in touch with us for promotions or new updates.

    Facebook fans, are people that were attracted to our company to keep in touch with us, and some few of them are qualified customers, but those few customers give us the opportunity to engage new customer to our company, thats why is a long investment.


    So... in other terms, it depends on your target, if you're looking to keep your customer and increase your marketing referals i choose facebook, but if you just want to close target that already was pointed i absolutly will prefer the email marketing.

  • Feb 22 Posted 6 years ago shivun pilwal (not verified)

    Deak Folks


    A lovely post on the pro's and cons to face Email Vs Social Media (facebook) Likes.

    Okay here are my thoughts and I think that the decision one makes is all based on the target audience and the industry.  We use Mail chimp in order to send out our emails for our clients.  We get different results in terms of open rates, click through rates and bounce backs depending on the client & target audiences.

    Here are our findings.

    1. Emails are classed stale within 3-6 months, you have to update them on a regular basis. 

    2. Face book likes are generally due to the users liking the content of your page.  Profiles for facebook are mainly setup using personal email addresses and therefore you have a better chance of following that profile wherever they go.

    3. There is a high percentage of people & businesses using facebook.  Users can access this on there mobiles, home pc's etc. They have more time to digest the contents of what you are sending them.  On the train or at home.

    4. Browser support and emal client support.  Complete by pass really.  From a technical stand point it can at times be hard to to display the emails correctly in all emails and browsers.

    5. CRM systems out there allow you to use your own smtp server, that's great but what if you are not managing your bounce backs and invalid email addresses? and you keep sending out to them? All Mail servers out on the net have a authority score that determins our safe or how spammy they are, a spammy score mail server can result in emails not ever making the inbox and instead sit in the junk email folder.


    Just a few things that crossed my mind, I still love emails and continue to send them however social media have some great advantages.  Again remember that not everyone uses facebook , twitter, social media etc so target audience is important.


  • Feb 6 Posted 6 years ago TAHER

    I started using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc., only few months ago. Your article on Facebook like or email really helped to me uderstand the relative value of both the approaches. Is there any way one can use to interest Facebook Page visitors to contact you by email? This might provide a much greater audience for your product/services based on your effective Facebok Page? Please comment. Thanks.

  • Feb 4 Posted 6 years ago DanGreen

    Best post I've read in quite some time. Having just returned from a client meeting during which this very topic was discussed, I was particularly pleased to read this, and your readers comments.

    Assuming I am forced to choose, based on data from scores of Facebook campaigns managed and hundreds of  email campaigns sent, I would definitely prefer the email address.

    However under-performance, or unmet expectations from Facebook page engagement is also related to poorly executed, plain dull campaign.

    The context within which the Like was generated is important. Was the Like obtained by making someone click the button to get a coupon, or was it because they were expressing real emotion? We are also looking at the value of other forms of Facebook engagement. We'd say a share clearly has more value than a like. comments, sharing photos, videos, contest entries all have different types and levels of consumer motivations behind them.

    It is becoming more critical than ever to become personal, relevant and interesting. I'm new to this site and blog and have been quite impressed by the content and those commenting. Clearly relevancy and interest are not an issue here.

  • Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago Jose Gomez (not verified) I 100% agree with Pam. I'd rather the e-mail address. I have always been able to animate any project with a good list. Just last month, it saved our sales budget.
  • Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago Anonymous (not verified)

    Also, people are more apt to switch social networks as opposed to switching their email.  If everyone jumps Facebook's ship, then what are you going to do?  If you have their email then you have them locked in.  An email is like having a home address as opposed to a 'like' as having someone's work address.  The house address most likely will change less frequently than the work address.  That's why 'I' would take an email over a like...but luckily I don't need to make that choice and use both:)

  • Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago Lorne Neff (not verified)

    If you have to narrow the parameters to meet your own definition, than you failed at adequately answering the basic question. They didn't ask "what's better for business that needs to sell."   I know I don't have anything to sell and using Facebook is just a means to pass on information to a large constituency.  Comparing the two is apples and oranges and at this stage we use both very differently.

  • Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago Kevin Bookbinder (not verified)


    Whether you and I'd prefer a like or a valid email is inmaterial. The real question is the benefit of the giver of the data point. Clicking like has no hangover, providing my actual personal email is like sitting on a gas station toilet with out the protective barrier. So how would you seduce the behavior what benefit does the compromise promise?

  • Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago Linda C Smith (not verified)

    What a great article and means for opening a discussion. For me the matter came down to Time - where best to use my time and what return on my Time investment did I receive. As a solopreneur Time is just about my most precious resource. I'll take an email address over an FB "like" any day of the week because with email you have instant contact in a real way. I recently did a thorough housecleaning of my social media/market strategy and found that FB was last on the list for ROI and first on the list for Time investment so I dropped my FB account and pages.  I found that those who "liked" my pages were not otherwise engaging in my business.  My blog, my accounts on LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter do bring value to my business...proven value.  Also FB's latest attempt at garnering itself revenue by letting advertisers use the "likes" and comments of people without those same people's permission or compensation gives me great pause. 

    As with any part of a marketing and promotion strategy, you really have to examine why you use what you use and what is its ultimate value.

  • akirlew's picture
    Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago akirlew

    Pam - I agree, I would rather have a list of targeted email recipients than fans.  My experiences have shown that when you contact fans en masse, the messages get lost a bit more than emails. My suspicion is that so much "noise" comes from Facebook updates in the form of email alerts which make it difficult to have the message really stand out. On a similar not, I am amazed when people use Facebook in their contacts, and do not respond to messages via sent via Facebook.  I had an Internet Marketing professional (who regularly gives out his Facebook link as a way to contact him) respond several weeks after I sent him a message saying "I really don't check Facebook that often."

    I would also agree (with Brian) that a great practice to combine the two is having your Facebook page set up to get visitors to subscribe to your email list.


  •'s picture
    Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago jredding@woodbi...

    I would have to say that I agree with you.  Our marketing team would rather have the email addresses and some preference qualifiers associated with the user.  Companies that use an integration strategy with traditional media, email marketing and social media will have the greatest impact.  However, we are seeing with one of our venues that Facebook efforts are driving footsteps to the door.  I can't say we will stop our traditional efforts/methods, but nothing should be used in a vacuum.

  • Feb 1 Posted 6 years ago timo

    Looking at historic choices, Pam asks the right question, and makes a convincing case that 1000 qualified leads are better than 1000 'I like" names.

    But new mobile social media solutions give marketers more choices, and targeted messaging is no longer limited to FB or e-mail databases.  That's a good thing, in light of new data yesterday that FB may cost more with less effectiveness than wired-web banner ads.

    Mobile messaging is a great way to get the word out and then dialog with targeted groups of consumers, without a phone number, an email address, or a FB merbship or FS check-in.

    The new mobile social media must: blend with the consumers' real-life activities; respect their privacy; enhance shared experiences; and offer new and improved features to capitalize on existing behaviors, such as texting and IM.

    The best and most effective mobile marketing will tell a story, keep the conversations real, bring people together, create shared experiences around the brand's story, and deliver these results.


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