Email Marketing Vs Social Media – Which Is Better?

Your to-do lists are longer than they should be.

With so many digital marketing strategies now live and kicking, it can be difficult to know where to focus your energy, like you should be trying everything. But doing it all right from the get-go often leads to the black hole of burnout.

Instead, it’s better to pick one medium, one main method of marketing what you sell, and concentrate on nailing that. It’s then safe to look at other ways of reaching your audience, because each comes with further strengths and different purposes, and add them to what you’re already succeeding at.

The two big mediums of marketing we’re comparing today are email marketing and social media. But which should you be focusing on? Let’s find out.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

When you use social media to market yourself, and what you sell, you use social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok or Pinterest to promote your business and connect with both existing and potential customers.

You might want to bolster your brand and nurture your audience, or you might be looking for a more specific outcome, like selling your products. Either way, social media marketing focuses on building relationships and brand awareness and loyalty. This is helped by the ability to chat with your fans and other brands to create a following.  

What Is Social Media Good For?

Social media is an incredible marketing tool. If you’re thinking of putting time and energy into using it, you can expect to experience these benefits:

  • Build Awareness

    If you create quality content that is relevant and interesting, you can build up awareness of what you do or sell quickly. There’s a huge audience out there, just waiting to like, click and share your stuff.

  • Brand Recognition

    Most of us spend a fair amount of time on social media every single day; it’s a mass communication tool, and we use it for everything from catching up with friends to dating to shopping.

    Most of us spend a fair amount of time on social media every single day; it’s a mass communication tool, and we use it for everything from catching up with friends to dating to shopping.

  • Traffic Generation
    If you’re good at social media, you can get more people hopping over to your website. Post frequency is important, and your content needs to be engaging, but by including links to recent blogs and promoting your latest short course or other products you can begin to watch your website traffic increase.
  • Free Marketing

    A strong factor social media has going for it is that it’s free to use. No monthly fees depending on how big your audience is, no startup fee, nothing (unless you want that blue tick on Twitter…). You can just jump on and get going, saving your pennies for other business activities.

What Are The Downsides Of Social Media Marketing?

Every marketing approach has its disadvantages. Social media marketing is:

  • Time Intensive

    It’s not just the valuable content that you’ll need to be pumping out there, it’s the spaces in between. Using social media to market what you do or sell is like having a constant conversation… To be successful, you need a presence, and that means a constant feed of interesting comments, replies and links to keep people intrigued and engaged.

  • Easy To Get Wrong

    It’s very difficult to read the room on social platforms due to the lack of in-person body language and non-verbal cues. And everything you say is open to anyone to read. Together, this can spell bad news, risking public backlash and damage to your brand. 

  • Not Within Your Control

    Social media algorithms are rules that rank content based on how likely each user is to like it and engage with it. That’s why no two people end up seeing exactly the same posts on their feeds. The thing is, these algorithms change, and this can have a sudden and often negative impact on your reach.

  • Far From A Sales Pitch

    People aren’t necessarily in buying mode on social media. They’ve popped onto Facebook, Insta or whichever stream they prefer to scroll and catch up with the world. It’s easiest to completely forget about selling when using social media to market yourself; focus on building relationships through consistent connection.

  • Expensive (If You Want An Expert On Board)

    You’re right; opening a social media account is completely free. But it can be slow and tricky to build a good following, and you might not have the time. There are plenty of experts out there who can help you succeed. However, they’re costly to use and don’t always come through for you, given the complex nature of social media.

  • Enticingly Shallow

    It’s the reason social media works. If you’re not careful, you can quickly end up wrapped up in vanity metrics like views and likes that aren’t worth anything to your bottom line. This is a distraction and a complete waste of time.

What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make more sales. It succeeds across all industries because you can scale and customise your email sequences, designing a whole web of interactions with your potential and existing customers that relate to where they are in the sales funnel.

Where social media is in-the-moment and reactive, email marketing is thought out and planned, combining trigger and time-based emails to nurture relationships and make sales.

What Is Email Marketing Good For?

It can be overwhelming to know where to start with email marketing, but it can be very simple to build into your marketing strategy. With email marketing, you can:

  • Nurture LeadsNurturing leads over time is an essential tactic for anyone wanting to sell what they do or produce, and automated nurture campaigns are the perfect answer. Nurture emails raise brand awareness, establish trust and bring potential customers fully on board.
  • Build Trust
    Trust comes hand in hand with selling. Without it, you won’t attract leads, keep them interested or get them to part with their cash. A great sales funnel with nurture email sequences scheduled for different stages keeps your potential and current customers feeling valued and more likely to buy from you.
  • Educate Your Audience

    There isn’t a lot email can’t do. Building a strong relationship with your prospects, overcoming objections, engaging leads… Emails are malleable, and you can use them to educate your readers.

  • Remain In Control

    You’re in complete control of what your email marketing strategy looks like. You can decide every minute detail, check every word and ensure your emails end up in the right inboxes instead of being at the mercy of social media algorithms.

  • Spend Less To Achieve MoreEmail marketing is still known for having the highest ROI of any marketing method, with a £36 return for every £1 spent. Need I say more?
  • DIY Or Outsource
    It’s completely up to you. Doing the whole thing yourself is cheaper, but if writing the content and working out the schedules is not your forte, you can seek advice from the experts or employ them to do it all for you. And it’s reliable because you can test, measure and change what you’re sending to make it work better.
  • Convert Sales

    If you’ve got a good understanding of your customer persona and know what they want to receive and how often – making sure that your content is high value – you will get those opens and clicks. Pair this with a solid sales funnel, and you’re well on your way to converting leads to loyal customers.

What Are The Downsides Of Email Marketing?

It’s sounding great so far, but what are the less-than-desirable realities of using email marketing?

  • Ending Up In Spam

    If you don’t follow best practices for email marketing, or if you send emails to people who do not want to receive them, you’re at high risk of ending up in the spam folder. This is not good.

  • Low Deliverability

    For your emails to have any impact, they need to reach the recipient’s inbox. Maximise deliverability by keeping a clean list, using double opt-ins and ensuring all emails are engaging and relevant with great subject lines. For more on improving your deliverability, read this blog.

  • Saturated Inboxes

    Email marketing is effective at reaching a large number of people, but those people all receive a HUGE number of emails every day. Email marketing needs to be done well to work. Otherwise, you’re at risk of being ignored or deleted.

  • List Management

    Maintaining a high-quality email list, and building it in the first place, is an ongoing and time-consuming job. If you’re starting up a business, earning subscribers takes time and hard work.

  • Formatting Issues

    Emails are viewed on a variety of devices these days, meaning your campaigns are highly susceptible to design and size inconsistencies. Even settings like dark mode, which can be used in dim light situations to optimise the graphic experience, need to be taken into account when designing emails.

So… Which Is Better? Email Marketing Or Social Media?

It’s not a simple answer, I’m afraid. What works for you will largely depend on your objectives.

What are you trying to achieve? If you want to let more people, including cold leads, know about your brand and build a great reputation, social media marketing could be for you.

If you’re aiming to increase trust and educate your subscribers, working them through your sales funnel towards a conversion… Consider email marketing.

Not sure where to start but know you need to get more sales under your belt? Take the stress off and give me a shout.

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