Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing
One of the biggest concerns facing business owners in 2018 and beyond is figuring out how best to market their brand online. The toughest part is sifting through an endless sea of advice on what platform to use.
Every marketer who writes an article is a guru — one half claim email marketing is dead, or will be soon — the other tells us that email will never die and that it’s stronger than ever.
On the other side of the mix is social media. Those who don’t understand online marketing think it’s a veritable selling gold mine for marketers, with millions of ads a day being served across the most popular platforms.
But is social media really better? Is email dead and gone?
Not a chance!
Number of active daily users:
- Email: Approximately 2.6 billion
- Social: Facebook (2.07 billion), Instagram (800 million), Twitter (330 million)
Social appears to have the edge in numbers. Don’t get it confused though, you have to target each social platform differently in order to get sales, and the majority of marketers are still using social marketing exclusively to get list sign ups.
Twitter is an apt contender at the bottom of the big three platforms, but 280 characters, coupled with an image or video still doesn’t offer the effectiveness of email marketing combined with the data you can collect from them.
The verdict: The use of email marketing platform offers slightly more reach and is proven more effective overall, but you still need social engagement to help grow your lists.
Users who start their day with email versus social:
- Email: 58 percent of global users
- Social: Facebook (11 percent), Instagram (unknown), Twitter (2 percent)
The jury is out on Instagram, as I know a lot of people who jump right on to check their feeds first thing, even before getting out of bed. However, the best buying decisions are made in the morning and, as mentioned above, you need social to build your list.
Not to mention, despite its visual appeal, there are a number of roadblocks in the way for marketers on Instagram.
The verdict: People check their email first thing in the morning because that’s what’s obviously most important to them.
Users who check email every day versus those who use social daily:
- Email: 91 percent
- Social: Facebook (57 percent), Instagram (60 percent), Twitter (14 percent)
These stats give a huge nod to email being superior as far as the ability to get eyes on your branding and sales material.
Despite the numbers, Facebook has literal aging issues, despite its reach, with almost half its users being 35 or older, and a growing number of 55 and over users — not the best standalone plan for growing a sustainable brand!
The verdict: Email single-handedly draws more users in on a daily basis. When it comes to those who check their social every day, there’s no data to indicate whether they’re signing in to check DMs, updates from family and friends, or how many brands they actually follow (I read somewhere that most social users follow at least one company, but that’s no indicator of marketing viability).
Sales resulting from email marketing versus sales resulting from social media marketing:
- Email: 66 percent
- Social: Facebook (22 percent), Instagram (unknown), (Twitter (6 percent)
While I’ve yet to find a reliable source for this information about Instagram, I will point to this article from a little over a year ago which polled users and found that 75 percent of users claimed to take an action, such as visit a website, after seeing an Instagram post.
While that’s all well and good, some experts argue that up to 80 percent of posts go unseen due to lack of interest in images and Instgram’s incessant feed refreshing.
The verdict: Email still stands out, attracting more sales when an effective marketing message is delivered to subscribers.
Account ownership with email versus account ownership with social accounts:
- Email: You own it.
- Social: All platforms reserve the right to terminate your account/restrict your use.
With a professional company email, all that’s required is Internet access, and paying for your company domain and hosting. Keep your emails compliant and you’re good to go forever. You can get black-balled on social if just one celebrity social justice warrior takes issue with you and tells their following to turn against you.
Then there are terms and conditions, confusing rules that can change at the flip of a hat, COMMENTS, and the mob mentality to contend with.
Verdict: You own your email. Social platforms own your accounts and can terminate them for any reason.
Which is best?
The truth is that while adopting the right email marketing strategy seems to be the best way to close a sale, you can’t just pull subscribers out of thin air. Marketers still need social media, along with other methods, to build a list and land in their ideal customer’s inbox. Without email, you’ll surely get fewer sales. Without social media and other branding methods, it’s nearly impossible to grow a sustainable brand online.
Marketing is “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.” Since one is better for sales, and the other is most effective for branding, there’s really no winner in this fight. Your list is yours forever, but you need both methods in order to effectively market and grow a business.
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