Facebook Groups to Replace Email Marketing

I sent my last email today, July 25th, 2018.

I started a Facebook Group to create an active SEO Community.  Email Marketing Open Rates and Click Through Rates are down across most industries.  Facebook Groups allow for better collaboration, sharing and community like involvement.


email marketing sucksI used to send an email newsletter every two weeks.  I slowed down because my open rate was not that great and click through was even worse.

I thought it was just me but after doing some research I saw that email reach for most people was down.

I took some time to think about it.  I tried different things including:

  • Different Types of Titles
  • Different email templates
  • Use of different kinds of buttons
  • Different types of content

There was no real improvement.

Keep in mind my list is people who voluntarily signed up.  I did not purchase it or build it any other way.

What Gives?

If you take some time and think about your own email behavior you will understand why email marketing is down dramatically over the years.

You might remember the days of your post office mailbox being stuffed with direct mail.  How much of that mail was ignored?

You’re sending email to someone who is likely inundated with email daily.  They just do not have the time to read everything.

If they do open your email it’s probably getting skimmed at best.

I do this.  I get at least 100 emails on any given day, probably closer to 200.  I just cannot take the time to read them all.

I choose what I read based on the subject and the sender.  Otherwise the email likely just sits in my inbox or gets deleted.  I signed up for these email newsletters and notifications.

I spend a lot of time reviewing clients content and analyzing SEO.  I am constantly marketing and researching.  Taking the time to read EVERY email just does not work.  It does not work for most people.

In the US email marketers have an open rate of 19.9% on average.  The lowest open rates are 7.8%.  

I Get It

What Do You Do to Continue to Reach People That Want to be Reached?

Let’s face it.  If you wanted to read my content you will.  Whether it’s in an email, on my social media or on my blog.

The problem is you may not be aware of when I create new content.

I have a solution.

I created a Facebook Group.  Using a Facebook or LinkedIn Group is really the best way to continue to reach your community.  Everyone is notified of new posts.  The reach is far greater than any other online method right now.

You might think other options are better.  Let’s review.

  • Facebook Page Reach is down significantly and will continue to fall as Facebook tries to recover from the fake news problems. Followers of your Facebook page ARE NOT notified of new posts.
  • Twitter reach is down as the platform continues to try to find itself and also attempts to eliminate bot accounts.
  • Google Plus is almost a ghost town
  • Snapchat reach is also down
  • Instagram is the only platform right now that seems to be doing well for reach for most active social media users and businesses. It has crossed the One Billion user mark (only Facebook has more).  Just recently they launched InstagramTV.

Organically the best way to reach your community is through a Group on Facebook or LinkedIn.  I chose Facebook as it has a larger population.

Instagram is great and I use it often but it does not offer the same community feel as a Group on Facebook.  It’s still very easy to miss content as the algorithm evolves in a similar manner to Facebook’s algorithm.

Facebook Groups to Replace Email Marketing

Welcome to SEOHackerz – A Facebook Community

I launched the group on July 12th, 2018.  As of this blog post, there are 9 members.

I am sending my final email on July 25th, 2018.  In the email is an invite to the group.

I pointed a domain I own (seohackerz.com) at the Facebook Group to make it easier to find.

How Do I Get People to Join My Facebook Group?

Now I have a group.  Let’s call it a community.  How will I get people to join?

Facebook’s algorithm clearly favors larger, more active groups.  It takes time to build it.  If you do nothing it will take a long time.

A few years back I started an Online Networking Group on LinkedIn.  It took a while to get it to 100 or 500 members.  Today the group sits at 5069 members.  It’s pretty much on autopilot now.  I have two admins who help moderate the group.  It’s a great resource for Connecticut businesses and entrepreneurs.

The point is if you build it they will come…. if you put the work in too.

Here’s what I have done so far to bring people to the group.  Keep in mind all of these were done within a few days of writing this blog post.

  • Tweeted about it on Twitter (and I will continue to do so)
  • Shared it on Instagram
  • Posted it to my Facebook Page
  • Of course, there is the email I told you about
  • Asked current members to share it
  • Shared it in a few groups I belong to, with permission of course
  • Share it in groups I own including the LinkedIn Group
  • I have replied to comments on my blog posts with invites

I will continue to do most of these.  I will find other ways to share.  I may even run an ad or two.

Building a community for SEO

Why Do I Share This?

Email marketing does work for some.  It did work for me for some time.

For most email marketing is declining, rapidly.  It is being replaced by other means of reaching your community/audience.

A personally know a few business owners who use text messaging instead.  With text messaging, you’re not competing with hundreds of emails.  You might be competing with dozens of texts.

I know a few businesses who switched their social media marketing from Facebook Pages to Facebook Groups. If you pay attention to the news at all you know that Facebook is reducing Facebook Page reach even more.

I have chosen to eliminate my email marketing program and focus on Facebook Groups.  Yes, that is plural.  I belong to other groups that are very effective for their purpose.  I plan to create a couple more for various purposes.

Marketing has evolved dramatically in the last 20 years.  The explosion of the internet has made it incredibly easy to seek and engage your ideal community.

I say easy because it’s easier than placing an ad that will be seen by a mass population of people of which only a small percentage are interested in what you’re selling.

Today in the world of marketing (digital marketing) evolves constantly and often.  If you’re not staying up to date with changes you can fall behind very quickly.

I am evolving my marketing plan.  I will do the same for the businesses I work with.  I just advised a business today to move more of their strategy to Instagram.

My last email campaign saw an open rate of 12.44% and almost no clicks.  The industry average for my industry is around 20%.

Sharing the same content in ONE Facebook Group generated 31 visits to the blog post.  Of which maybe 1/3 left comments.  Even better is my bounce rate is down to around 45% now, well below industry average.

That’s in one day, one share in one Facebook Group.

It’s clear to me the path I need to take.

Final Thought

Email marketing might be great for you.  Everyone is different.  I have (and still) work with several businesses on email marketing.  I have watched open and click-through rates decline over time for every single one of them.

No matter what strategy is deployed it does nothing to shake up the analytics.  Occasionally we get lucky with a great response.

I prefer to get lucky more often.

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38 replies
  1. Nessa
    Nessa says:

    This is interesting. I think facebook is better too ! I never registered in any newsletters but I’m in several facebook groups !
    I wish I can increase my audience too, but i don’t count on this either !
    Maybe you got the right way !
    Thank you for sharing !

    • Scott Gombar
      Scott Gombar says:

      It is a lot of work to increase your audience. Once the snowball gets rolling though it picks up its own snow. Then you have a whole new set of problems. The LinkedIn Group I referenced got to be a little out of control to the point I needed to add admins to the group.

  2. Jessica Joachim
    Jessica Joachim says:

    While I still maintain my email list and marketing, I do have a facebook group as well and the reach really is the best! I love IG as well, but there is something really great about having a FB group.

  3. Jessica May
    Jessica May says:

    My husband keeps telling me I need to work on my E-Mail list and reach and I feel like I delete emails based on time constraints so most people do also. Glad to hear this point of view and what you did in substitution. These are some great tips, thanks!

    • Scott Gombar
      Scott Gombar says:

      I am definitely a deleter…or a skimmer depending who it’s from or what it’s about. I think people are just inundated with email so a lot get’s ignored. Text messaging is another alternative but I Have not gone to deep into the research on that. I know the open rate is MUCH higher.

    • Scott Gombar
      Scott Gombar says:

      I know your pain! One trick I use to help with blog dev is to track ideas as they come up. This way when I feel like I have writer’s block I go back to that list.

  4. Omar | FreethinkingGuru.com
    Omar | FreethinkingGuru.com says:

    Great insights on the pulse of different social media platforms and where they’re at in terms of user engagement. I agree that email marketing is no longer appealing…and that’s only based on how I feel when sites ask me to join their lists. Other environments are better for keeping conversation going! Very helpful post!

  5. Cris
    Cris says:

    I’ve noticed almost everyone has a facebook group. I’ve joined a few and enjoy the information and camraderie. I’ve also seen some people drastically increase their business through use of a group.

  6. sammi
    sammi says:

    Unless you have a very strong blog topic, email doesn’t work as much. My blog mostly get a reference from social media more.

  7. Serena Hale
    Serena Hale says:

    I have not used my email list due to not wanting to take the time to learn how to properly do it, but I need to do something. I am part of a lot of Facebook groups and maybe I had better utilize them better.

  8. Ruth I.
    Ruth I. says:

    I do receive emails from the sites I subscribed to but I sometimes do not have the time to open. Facebook and Instagram work better for me too.

  9. Anne Yedlin
    Anne Yedlin says:

    This is great information. I will definitely be using it to improve. Facebook seems to be the best platform for getting clicks and views but I want more from my social media! Thank you for this information.

  10. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    This is really thought provoking. I blog. I have an email newsletter. I barely use it. I’ve never felt that the click through rate was worth the time, but it’s just something that we bloggers are “supposed” to do. I also really find it a turn off that we can’t share certain affiliate links in email, although I don’t think we’re supposed to share the same affiliate links in Facebook groups either. . . ugh. It’s all so difficult!

  11. Princess Quinn
    Princess Quinn says:

    I guess every change could be either risky or just worthwhile. This is a brilliant move you made here, makes the work pretty easy.

  12. Cecilia
    Cecilia says:

    Interesting insights you shared here, Scott. I’ve never done email marketing myself – always thought about it, but never got around to it. What you said about the other social media is true though. Facebook Pages, I’ve personally unliked. Twitter, I rarely use. Google+ and Snapchat, never ever. IG, I love as a food blogger. I bookmarked this post, btw. Thank you for sharing!

    • Scott Gombar
      Scott Gombar says:

      Thanks Cecilia. I believe FB Pages is a necessary evil at this point. I believe other business owners look to see if you have a page before contacting you. Twitter has always been my favorite so I am still very active on it. IG has the best engagement of any platform by far right now and looks to stay that way for some time. Thanks for stopping by!!

  13. Fatima Torres
    Fatima Torres says:

    I thought I was the only one who wasn’t getting the right results from email. My email marketing has been put on hold this year. It wasn’t doing much for me anymore. I love that you’ve switched your focus once you noticed.

  14. David Elliott
    David Elliott says:

    I know I have been told a lot about email marketing and conversions. I never would have looked at it like this though. Just moving away from it and to something else. it does make a lot of sense though.

  15. Jonah
    Jonah says:

    Very informative article! I like learning about ways to harvest the power of the internet. I am still a newbie and every stuff I read about setting up a niche involves email marketing so this is a very different for me but still I learned a lot. Thanks so much for this!

  16. Aishwarya Sandeep
    Aishwarya Sandeep says:

    Since sometime I had realised that the reach of facebook pages is less. I know a few friends who also shifted from facebook page to facebook group but they are still facing the problem of interaction amongst group members. How do you address that problem.

    • Scott Gombar
      Scott Gombar says:

      Facebook page is definitely a lot less. The difference is that Facebook Group notifications are sent to everyone. Whether or not they choose to read them is up to them. Consistent, engaging content is the key. Transparency from group owners/admins is also important. Being authentic really helps.

  17. Nina
    Nina says:

    I’ve definitely wondered this about email marketing. I’m horrible at email marketing. It’s good to know that a group on FB could be the best way to reach people.


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