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Email Marketing Vs. Social Media Marketing. Which Approach is Better?

email marketing vs social media
Social Media / digital marketing

Email Marketing Vs. Social Media Marketing. Which Approach is Better?

Years ago before the inception of social media, Email marketing was mostly the only way one could advertise their product or services aside from traditional media. It was the main thing back then, and now we have social media, and as a result, there is this unspoken competition between Email and Social media marketing on which is better and more effective.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the details of email marketing and social media marketing and answer the question, “Which one is better, more effective, and most importantly which one has a high ROI? ”

You’ll discover the pros and cons of social media marketing and email marketing so that you can know which route to take and how to implement them. 

So let’s begin.

As of April 2020, nearly 4.6 billion people of the global community are active internet users, which equates to 59% of the global population, with 3.76 billion being active on various social media platforms. That is an alarming figure to consider. A huge potential market for you. That being said there were 9 billion global email users in 2019 and there is a prediction for this statistic to grow to around 4.5 billion in 2024. This marketing channel is here to stay. There is a reason while Email marketing has withstood the test of times and is still useful today. But the truth is if you had stuck with only email marketing, you would have missed out on social media which provided multiple positive ways for you to grow your business. 

They are both important to every business which is why we are going to list what makes them great and what makes them not that great so you can gauge both and see which strategy you prefer.

Pros of Social Media Marketing.

Platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Tik Tok, and Instagram offer your business the chance to connect with a very large audience. How large? Well Facebook currently has an audience of 2.19 billion people, and Instagram recently celebrated a milestone of 1 billion active users AND it’s still growing at a rapid pace.

Even though social media doesn’t have as many user accounts like email, it does offer substantial advantages. For example:

1. You can increase your reach and grow your audience.

All social media platforms offer the opportunity to connect with new people every day, without having to ask for their permission. This happens when your followers like, share or comment on your content and all of their friends see it. What this does is that it exposes you to a new set of audiences. This essence is perfectly captured on Twitter. A like, comment or retweet on your post from a follower will automatically show on that person’s page which their own followers base will see and react too and the cycle continues and before you know it, it turns into a hit post all just from one interaction. 

2. You can connect with your audience multiple times a day — without annoying them.

Imagine a company starts emailing you 5 times a day. How long would it take before you hit the “unsubscribe” button? I don’t know about but I will hit the unsubscribe button. This is the major leverage social media has over Email marketing, in such if you don’t post something every day you lose followers. The more you post the more you get followers. 

Social media has that advantage when it comes to forming a relationship with the people in your audience. You can post multiple times a day as long as your content is compelling and your followers like to engage with it. 

Unlike with email, readers don’t have to click a button to see your content because they get to preview it in their feed and if they like what they see, you are sure to get a like or a comment thereby increasing engagement on your page.

3. You get an immense amount of detail about your audience’s behavior and interests — without having to worry about security or privacy permissions.

Most social media platforms gather data about the people in your audience every time they sign on. Nearly all of those platforms share that information with you, usually for free, through their analytics programs. Since the social media platforms are the ones doing the data-collecting, it’s their responsibility to inform users and obey the privacy and security laws. You on the other hand get to use the information to your advantage without breaking the law.

With email marketing, you must ask readers for the information directly. Email marketers are required to comply with current privacy and data collection laws that carry steep fines if you don’t get it right whereas social media gets their information from the interactions people have with their friends.

4. You can publish content to a highly specific portion of your audience.

There’s a lot of segmenting you can do to tailor messages to specific groups of people within your email database, especially with the right tools but none of it compares to the massive selection of demographics offered on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Targeting customers through social media means you’re often working with the best tools available for targeting specific types of customers.

For example, in Facebook Ads Manager, you can define the audience that will see your ads.

Facebook has hundreds of targeting options, in categories like Location, Demographics, Interests, Behaviours, and the option of Remarketing to lists of people who’ve interacted with your business. This increases the chance of your product or services being purchased because it targets people who already have an interest in the kind of services you provide.

Cons Of Social Media Marketing

Social media has many advantages over email marketing, but it also has downsides.

1. If you say the wrong thing at the wrong time, it can have a devastating effect on your business. 

Telling a joke online during a protest can be seen as mean and insensitive even if the protest is not even happening in your continent.

2. It can get expensive when you add in the costs of social management tools and paid advertising. 

The price of some of the analytics tools can break the bank and might even require expert help to use it efficiently which definitely doesn’t come cheap.

3. It often takes an entire creative team to produce quality content consistently.  

Quality content is key and churning it out daily can be difficult for one person or even a team. You might need teams working for you to provide that level of quality for your audience.

4. The number of users on a platform can be deceiving. 

For instance, one Statistica report claims there are as many as 3.1 million U.S. Facebook users under the age of 12. Facebook technically does not allow users below the age of 12 but it’s not like they are physically there to enforce the rule. So a 12 year old can lie he or she is 18.

In a separate publication, Zephoria reported 83 million fake profiles on Facebook. You’ve probably seen it, 5000 followers but only an average of 70 likes for pictures.  You don’t really know who is real and who is a bot.

Despite the cons of social media marketing, If your goal is to grow your audience and expand your brand’s reach, then social media marketing is a good choice.

Now onto Email Marketing.

Pros of Email marketing.

Believe it or not, Some people are actually working towards dropping their Facebook addiction, they have stopped checking Twitter obsessively and went cold on Instagram. I know people who don’t use some of these apps again. To them, it’s “time-wasting” and “a lot of noise,” not that we are bringing down any social media app and we are not judging anyone. Everyone has their own opinion on how to live their life.  But Do you know what wasn’t part of the detox? Their email. Why? Because they feel they might actually miss something important. Email is important to them. In such you need an Email to sign up for any social media platform. It’s that powerful.

Email marketing allows brands the chance to convert leads to sales by nurturing relationships more directly. Even though you must get permission to market to people, email does have some notable advantages over social media marketing:

1. You can create segmented lists and remarket to customers.

With email marketing, your content doesn’t go out to a general audience. You’re able to segment your subscribers according to how they interacted with your brand. For example, you can create emails for people who’ve purchased specific products from you in the past and let them know about an upgrade or related product.

Or, you can ask people what kind of information they’d like to receive, and email personalized content to them.

2. You can run A/B testing to find out what type of messaging works best.

Email marketing allows you to test different headlines or content when you mass email your subscribers. For example, you can send the same email message with two different headline variations called “A” and “B.”

By observing carefully, you can discover what type of content best connects with your leads. Social media doesn’t really have this effect. The caption is best known before you post, once you post there is no going back.

3. You can’t beat the ROI of email marketing.

Like we said earlier, there is a reason Email marketing has withstood the test of time and it is because of its amazing ROI. Year after year, email marketing continues to deliver a shockingly high return on investment for businesses.

According to studies by DMA and Demand Metric, the average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is 122%, which is more than 4 times higher than other marketing formats including social media, direct mail, and paid search. You get your money’s worth back and more.

4. Your email list is yours and yours alone. 

With social media, your followers on social media are not owned by you. They are owned by social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These social media giants can decide to delete your account – without even a warning – costing you those hard-earned hundreds or thousands of followers. And let’s not also forget social media platforms’ annoying habit of changing their algorithms without notice, or making things pay-to-play without a warning, or constraining your ability to connect with an audience you’ve spent years painstakingly building.

That can’t happen when you have a legitimate email list. There are no middlemen or gatekeepers preventing you from getting in touch with leads, or with people who have expressly stated that they want to hear from you and if anything was to happen, like your email service provider gets shut down, you can easily export your email list and move onto a different provider.

Cons of Email Marketing

Email is not without its disadvantages. While it doesn’t need a team of people the way social media often does, it requires more training. 

Email marketers must learn:

1. How to write headlines and messages in a way that doesn’t make email providers think you’re a spammer

Certain words and phrases tip providers off to the possibility that your messages may be spam, even though people subscribed to your list.

2. How to write compelling headlines

On social media, people preview your entire message and image/video before they decide to read it. In email marketing, you only have one headline to convince readers to open your message. Mess that up and your message goes straight to the trash.

3. How to create lists and segment marketing for different groups of subscribers

It’s not easy, imagine manually segmenting 1000 subscribers to what they want. Not an easy task.

4. How to abide by email security and privacy regulations. A mishap can put you in spam.

You don’t want to write a compelling headline and content and send it to your subscribers only for it to be in spam. That’s an Email marketer nightmare. It requires work and skills to avoid being in spam.

While email is less expensive than social media marketing, it does require training to ensure that emails get seen and published while following all related laws.

So Which One Is Better?

According to Smart Insights, email marketing is the #1 choice for marketers, but only by a margin of 1%. Social media marketing, content marketing, and SEO are also listed as top marketer preferences.

Clearly, there are different reasons why businesses use email marketing or social media marketing. But they both work absolutely well if used to their full potential. 

Ideally, marketers should use social media to grow their audience and encourage fans to become email subscribers. Then, email marketing nurtures those leads into paying customers.

Final Thoughts

Social Media and Email Marketing have separate good reasons for being used and it all depends on your brand or business goal.  A fashion house might get more conversion on social media than Email marketing because of the varieties of how the products which are bags, shoes, and clothes can be advertised compared to a tech company whose weekly email is what most tech enthusiasts are looking forward to, to stay on top the trend in the tech world.

Setting out your brand goals and what you hope to achieve will help you know which route to put more energy and resources. Try both of them to get a feel of which one works for you. 

There is a time and place for every marketing channel. Thus, instead of relying heavily on just one, utilize as many as you can (just think your strategy through) and allow them to support each other. 

Originally posted 2021-07-07 10:02:48.

Comments (4)

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  2. […] build an email list, you’d want to encourage the readers on your site to sign up. Which often involves offering […]

    1. Michael

      Building an email list is definitely the end goal of every Affiliate marketer because this way you get to own your own buying community and then monetize them. Thanks for your comment.

  3. […] website traffic. But no doubt, there are also some disadvantages. While many people see only the disadvantages of social media and they avoid using the platforms, some people have turned only to look at the “right […]

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