The Big Picture View
About 60% of the internet marketers indicated that email marketing outperforms social media.
The remaining 40% told us that email marketing and social media are just different. They both have pros and cons.
Email is in general better at leading traffic towards direct conversions. Social media acts as a way to engage with your potential audience and make sharing information fluid.
Where email marketing excel at?
Reach – having many email subscribers and a lot of Facebook fans is not the same thing.
“If you have 2,000 Facebook fans usually only 2-5 people will see each post you publish” says Stuart Marler from Retriever Digital.
The Facebook organic reach has been decreased to 6% of your fan base in 2014 according to a study made by Social@Ogilvy.
Still – this is nothing compared to email where the average open rate is 21.73%.
In other words, if you have 2,000 email subscribers, 2,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 followers on Twitter – this is what you will get:
- 435 people will open your email
- 120 Facebook fans will see your message
- 40 Twitter followers will see your message
Higher click rate – According to other statistics email marketing campaigns can see 50-100 times the click-through rates from Facebook and Twitter.
These are the average click-through rates for each channel:
- Email marketing 3.57%
- Facebook 0.07%
- Twitter 0.03%
Higher conversion rates
According to another report – 66% of online consumers made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message.
“Email marketing is much more efficient as we have a well segmented opted-in list.” says Mihail Stoychev from iSenseLabs.
Internet marketers believe that biggest reason for the highest conversion rate for email marketing is the ability to segment list and personalize your message.
Better ROI – everything in business is down to ROI and cost of opportunity.
In other words, it makes sense to invest in a strategy A if it’s going to make you more money than in you invest in Strategy B.
In a study made by McKinsey & Co on how US companies generate new customers, they found that email marketing acquired 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.
Social media pros
Higher engagement rate – almost all of the marketing experts agreed on 1 thing – social media has a much higher engagement rate.
Brian Basilico found that email drives engagement when he sends traffic to his blog, podcasts and website in the form of comments and shares.But it’s not near as the engagement he has from social media channels.
Stickiness and virality – social media content is much stickier and provides you an engagement in the long run.
Here we’re not talking only about the ability to pin posts on the top of your Facebook page.
More assisted conversions – Chad White wrote a while back that social media is more of a mid-funnel channel and email is more of a low-funnel channel.
In this sense, they’re not competing elements but sequential elements of the sales funnel.
In other words, social media engages the audience and helps email convert better.
How they work together
So the real question is – should you invest in email marketing or social media marketing?
The answer is – why not in both?
Social media assists email marketing in conversion – we already said that social media is a mid-funnel channel which purpose is to engage your audience.
Use social media to grow your email list – another way that social media can help is that you can use it to grow your email list and that way to increase your conversions and revenue.
The most typical ways that you can do that is by:
- Sharing your opt-in offers on your social media profiles
- Promoting your opt-in offers with paid ads
- Driving traffic to your website where you can convert visitors to subscribers
There is no reason why you shouldn’t use both. Just be sure to allocate your resources the right way.
How does email marketing vs social media marketing work for your business? Which one brings you higher ROI? Let us know in the comments below.