Email Marketing vs Social Media: Which One is Better?

As more and more options open up for reaching customers online, marketing budgets and strategies are growing.

More, however, is not always better, especially if you’re not sure which types of marketing efforts are benefiting you the most and how.

Take, for example, two channels in particular – email marketing and social media.

These two may compete for your time and budget, and it may be time to determine which way to go.

The good news here is that you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other. You just need to know how they differ, what they can offer you, and which one is better for you.

So, does one outperform the other, or will it be beneficial to incorporate both into your digital marketing strategy?

Let’s find out.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the tried-and-true approach where you continually build a list of subscribers and send out regular emails that contain exciting news, discounts, promotions, or informative newsletters.

You can utilize this successful form of marketing to send targeted emails to selected segments of your subscribers and also count on email blasts to reach them all.

Millions and millions of people start their day with a check of emails, so this type of marketing can be essential to maintaining brand awareness and growing sales.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing involves tailoring and promoting various types of content on available social media channels to reach audiences.

It is often used to generate leads and for brand awareness expansion.

You can also use posts to steer traffic to your website, advertise promotions, and provide entertainment.

Each of the social media platforms requires you to follow specifications when posting content and offer metrics essential to your assessment of how well your social media strategy is working.

In addition, the platforms allow you to purchase ads to reach an even wider audience.

Email Marketing vs Social Media: What’s the Difference?

Both email marketing and social media have strengths and weaknesses, and knowing these can benefit how you go about planning your content marketing strategy and more.

1. Number of Overall Users

While the number of email and social media users continues to escalate, one clearly rises above the other.

Email users are substantially higher in number than social media users, and this factors into marketing plans.

Why is this?

One of the first things a majority of people do in the morning is to check their email. They also continue to check it throughout the day, offering you multiple opportunities to catch their eye.

Since these users voluntarily subscribe to your emails, they are considered to be higher quality leads that can easily turn into buying customers.

To help with email marketing efficiency, use segmentation to make sure your emails get to the right leads.

2. Reach

When it comes to reach, email marketing may be able to outperform social media marketing efforts.

Here’s why.

Email subscribers and social media followers are completely different, and how you reach them is different.

The email subscribers are already committed to learning more about you and what you offer. There is a higher likelihood that reaching them with promotions, discounts, and more will be successful.

As for social media, you may have a wider audience available, offering a limitless pool of potential customers, but you also have increased competition for capturing their attention.

With so many companies on various social media platforms today, you may find it difficult to wade through all the noise.

Thus, in order to truly increase your reach on social media, the actual viewers of your posts must interact or engage in some way, such as by sharing, liking, or commenting. The use of hashtags can potentially help increase your reach.

3. Engagement

Engagement is more often than not associated with social media marketing efforts. You add a post and receive engagement in the form of likes, comments, shares, retweets, mentions, etc.

Social media posts can also entice viewers to click through to your website, thus further engaging with your brand or business.

This type of marketing allows you to create various types of content to attract viewers, including interactive offerings, and build rapport that keeps them coming back to check out your social media feed.

As a bonus, posts can often go viral, increasing your chances for even higher exposure and interaction.

Email marketing can also create engagement, but usually to a lesser degree.

Open rates are often the main metric for determining the level of engagement, but so too can the number of readers who click through to your website as a result of the email.

To help, you can attempt to increase email open rates by including attention-grabbing subject lines.

Also, embed interactive elements in your emails, enticing viewers to click through to your website content and interact with you there.

Another way to attempt to raise email-related engagement is to incorporate personalization into your strategy.

4. Conversion Rate

Increasing conversion rates is an essential part of your marketing goals.

It’s no wonder then that emails need to be a big part of your digital marketing efforts.

Email marketing drives conversion rates because email recipients are more likely to make a purchase.

These recipients have voluntarily subscribed to receive your emails, which means more conversions are possible.

A few key reasons why email marketing works so well include the ability to:

  • Segment group lists
  • Add personalization, and
  • Deliver targeted messages to subscribers based on their past behaviors.

Social media, on the other hand, is hit or miss when it comes to increasing conversion rates. While users may become a follower or a fan of your brand or business, that doesn’t mean they are high-quality leads.

5. Consumer Confidence Levels

Consumers today are savvy and research their options before making a purchase. They also need to feel confident in the sources they gather information from.

Confidence in today’s social media platforms is shaky, with consumers becoming more and more suspicious of what actually goes on behind the scenes.

They are now less open and receptive to the content shared by others on these platforms, and that can affect your bottom line.

Emails, on the other hand, have been around for a longer timeframe and have gained more trust.

As a result, consumers continue to be more confident in what they read via emails than in social media posts and feel more comfortable deciding which of these communications are for them and which are not.

Email Marketing vs Social Media: How Do They Work Together?

Your marketing strategy can benefit from combining certain aspects of email marketing and social media marketing. The two can work together in a myriad of ways to help you achieve your goals while also getting the most from your budget.

So, instead of concentrating on email marketing vs social media, consider the particular ways that the two can work together, including the following:

Grow Your Email List

It takes considerable time and effort to grow your email subscriber lists. To help with this, use social media posts and accounts to invite your followers and fans to become subscribers.

Add call-to-action buttons on each post to make it as easy as possible for them to subscribe.

Also, encourage followers to share your posts with friends and family, thus increasing your reach and capturing new leads.

Increase Social Media Following and Engagement

Invite email readers to follow you on social media.

Include icons of your social media account profile links in the email to make it easy for them to connect with you on various platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Another beneficial tactic is to offer vouchers or giveaways for email subscribers who go that extra step to like or follow your social media accounts.

Drive More Traffic to Your Website

Social media can be a valuable source for driving traffic to your site.

Once there, find ways to entice them to sign up or initiate a pop-up to invite them to subscribe to your emails.

You can drive traffic via social media in a number of ways, such as:

  • Encouraging user-generated content;
  • Figuring out how to make your social media posts go viral, thus further reaching prospective email subscribers; or
  • Purchasing social media ads to reach a targeted audience.

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Wrap Up: Find the Right Mix of Email Marketing and Social Media

Your marketing strategy requires a variety of channels, platforms, and networks to ensure success. Make sure two of these are email marketing and social media. 

Finding the right mix of these for your business is key to reaching a wider audience, increasing engagement, boosting conversion rates, and sending more traffic to your website.

Looking for more ways to increase the success of emails in digital marketing campaigns? If so, unlock your access to our proven email templates and get started today!

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