Email Marketing Vs Social Media

When considering email marketing vs social media marketing, does one clearly outperform the other?

Because so much of what I write about and use in my business is related to email, you’re probably thinking that I’m probably biased in this regard.  Well, you’re right.

But there’s a reason I’m biased towards email marketing vs social media.  The numbers don’t lie.

Those marketers who use both email and social media will tell you they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

But the majority of those who use email effectively … with well-conceived campaigns … will tell you that email outperforms social media.

Of course, they’re different.  Email is … without a doubt … better at driving traffic to a specific place.  Usually a monetizing page.

Social media … most people agree … is better if you want to engage your audience.  Even build your name and brand recognition.  It depends on what your goal is.

A couple facts about email, especially when it comes to ROI.

  • 99% of consumers check their email every day.
  • More than 50% check it more than 10x a day.
  • For every $1 spent on social media, businesses get back a measly $1.17.
  • For every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses get back an average of $38!
  • 33X!

It’s clear that if your goal is sales and revenue driven, there’s no comparison.

And since I’m an email guy, this article is going to be slanted a little more towards using email marketing vs social media as your go-to marketing method.  But not exclusively as you’ll read below.

Email Performance

Reach – The average open rate for all industries in email marketing is 21.73% according to a study done by GetResponse.  Compare that to social media where only an average of 2% - 6% of your fans may even see your post.  Of course, that doesn’t account for likes and the possibility of something going viral.

Click-through Rates – This one isn’t close either. Email marketing can see 50-100 times the click-through rates as from Facebook and Twitter.  Average click-through rates:

  • Email marketing – 3.57%
  • Facebook - .07%
  • Twitter - .03%

Higher Conversion Rates – Email marketing is much more effective at driving conversions than any other platform.  The ability to segment your email list and personalize your email messages can play a big role here.

ROI – Mentioned above.  For every $1 spent on social media, businesses get back a measly $1.17.   For every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses get back an average of $38.

It’ll pretty much always be true that email is less expensive to set up and manage.  It’s also a lot easier to test, roll out and duplicate.

You Own Your List - There’s one massive difference between email marketing vs social media marketing.  You own your email list.  But you’re basically renting space in social media.

Remember that social media platforms frequently change their algorithms.  A business can literally disappear off a social media channel overnight.

Every single business is constrained by the limitations imposed by whatever social media platform they’re using.  Plus, it’s expensive and hard to stand out on social media.

Businesses own their email lists.  No matter what happens, that list is theirs.   It’s an asset.  A high-paying asset if used correctly.

Social Media Performance

Proponents of social media refer to things like higher engagement rates and stickiness when talking about social media over email.  I’m not an expert on social media so I’ll leave that research to you.

Social media is better … I would agree … for branding.  For creating an image and … perhaps … leaving an impression.  Because social media allows you to be more visible … via your logo, etc. … there’s more interaction.

Email is driven more towards initiating an action.  Although good email marketers are always trying to build a relationship also.

Essentially, people see your name on an email and then … hopefully … open it, read it and click on a link.

Social media is also excellent for paid ads.  Facebook targeting … for example … is amazingly sophisticated.  You can target any demographic, interest or behavior.

But you can also get your account shut down overnight … with no warning.  And not even know why it happened.

Use Them Together … At Some Point

So the real question is, should you spend your money on email marketing or social media marketing?

My answer would be both.

Social media can be part of your funnel with the main purpose of engaging your audience. You can actually use it drive more conversions with email.

You can also use social media to grow your email list. This’ll certainly improve your opens, click-throughs and conversions. Increasing your revenue.

The natural way to do this is:

  • Share your opt-in offers on your social media pages.
  • Use paid ads to promote opt-in offers. Do your research, though, or they’ll shut you down.
  • Drive traffic to your site where you can use an opt-in there to convert visitors to subscribers.


When polled by one source, 80% of both B2C and B2B said that if forced to, they’d give up social media marketing rather than email marketing!

Email marketing works as well or better than it ever has. When your goal is to grow traffic, get a lot of views of your revenue-producing destination (sales page) and convert readers to sales, email marketing is the way to go.

Email is also a superb way to build a relationship with potential customers using well-written autoresponders and then broadcast emails.

Social media continues to be an excellent way to engage your audience and build your brand.   Even use it to help grow your email reach.  Social media ads can be profitable also.

You can use both.  But do your research on social media.  Then apportion your resources accordingly.

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