Email Marketing vs Social Media – the Pros and Cons
There’s no doubt that social media has made a big splash in the world of marketing the past few years – and it’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
That said, however, is social media making email campaigns obsolete? It’s an interesting question that, at least among experts, produces a variety of answers. But I’d like to take a closer look while weighing in with the pros and cons of each marketing approach.
In the end, the one you choose – or decide to use them together – comes down to the one that helps you grow your business most efficiently.
1. Its reach
It’s hard to beat a marketing campaign that reaches its intended recipient 90% of the time. The “open” rate of email (the number of people who open the email) can be increased by writing compelling subject lines.
The reach of social media is fairly dismal by comparison. According to one study, if you have 2,000 Facebook fans only 2 to 5 of your followers will see every post you publish.
2. Higher click rate
Email marketing is still the leader – by a wide margin – when it comes to click rate. As an example, one researcher sent his blog post to both Twitter, and his email list and the final tally was telling: 50 people clicked on his Twitter link, 1,200 clicked on his email link.
Do your own tests to make a comparison.
3. Higher conversion rate
Email also has the advantage of driving more conversion than any other marketing channel. As one report showed, over 60% of consumers made a purchase because of an email marketing message.
4. It’s cheaper
Email is cheap. Seriously cheap. MailChimp is Free for your first 2,000 subscribers, and you can send 12,000 emails a month!
5. Better ROI
Isn’t business all about return on investment and the cost of opportunity? Email marketing has been shown to acquire 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined!
It takes a lot of time to build a solid email list. The days of purchasing contact lists – that produced tepid results regarding conversions and ROI – are gone. Today’s email lists are built through pre-approved permission, direct sign-ups, and incentives.
2. It’s not flashy
There are limitations as to how creative you can be with an email campaign – especially when compared to social media. It’s getting better, but there’s still only so much you can do to make an email strategy produce visually-effective results and stay out of spam.
The tidal wave of spam that bombards consumers on a regular basis has damaged the email marketing landscape. Email marketers are fighting the battle of landing in the inbox and engaging time-strapped recipients.
1. Higher engagement rate
Most marketers agree that social media has a higher engagement rate than email. Sharing content on social media channels results in higher traffic on your blog and website. This will build your brand and establish your company as a thought leader.
2. The ability to go viral
Content that’s shared on social media is often reposted and passed along to others. It gets in front of a larger audience and in front of other targeted eyes. It also provides the opportunity to have your content seen by people you haven’t engaged with in the past. By contrast, your email reach seldom extends beyond your basic list.
3. Better for branding
I’ve already mentioned how social media can help build a company’s brand. Creating an image for a business is harder to do with email. With social media, your branding and logo are more visible. People can interact with you and remember you.
1. The need for consistency
Not that consistency is a negative. To achieve consistency with social media, you need to provide followers a steady stream of content and be willing to engage with them.
2. Spreading yourself thin
There’s definitely a danger of spreading yourself too thin when it comes to social media marketing. There are so many channels – from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and more – and it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle.
How Email and Social Media Marketing Work Together
Now that I’ve discussed the pros and cons of email and social media marketing, it’s time to get back to the original question, i.e., which one should you use for your company?
What if the answer is “both”?
Combining both approaches can produce even better results because:
- Social media assists email marketing conversion – Social media engages your audience while email drives more conversions.
- Social media can help grow your email list
In other words, while email and social media are decidedly different approaches, there’s no reason you can’t use both.