Email Marketing or Social Media: Who Reigns Supreme?

It’s undeniable that social media has made a phenomenal impact on how small businesses market themselves. It is reported that over the past 10 years however, email marketing, albeit not quite so ‘trendy’, remains far more effective at delivering the results that matter online.

There is no doubt that social media is a compelling marketing tool for small businesses and it should be embraced accordingly. In fact the future for small businesses must be to integrate multiple digital marketing channels, but for now, if you were to select only one, it has to be email marketing. Here’s why:

Delivery of a far higher ROI than other marketing mediums

As with most online marketing tools, measuring ROI can be tricky and ultimately your sale may have occurred due to a combination of methods. However, it’s evident that email marketing continues to provide a significantly greater return compared to social media. In fact, results of latest research demonstrate that email marketing produces 40x more converted customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. (McKinsey on Marketing & Sales)

Mobile – 91% of consumers report daily email usage

The time that your contacts are spending on their mobile devices is increasing at a startling rate. And the number one activity on mobile devices is email. Your clients and prospects are now checking emails constantly, and permission based email marketing means they are just waiting to hear from you. Grasp the opportunity.

The true value of your unique list

Small businesses that embrace email marketing campaigns are skilled at collecting and building their own databases. Sales and marketing data is a valuable tool with the potential to add tremendous value to your business. Even when your lists have been developed via an email marketing service provider, the data remains transferrable and scalable, leaving you in control. In contrast you don’t own your lists of followers on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platforms. Who knows how these models may change in the coming years and what will come of your carefully cultivated contacts?

Higher likelihood of getting noticed

Although there is no guarantee that your message will be read through either medium, an email to 10,000 contacts is going to be viewed significantly more than a tweet to 10,000 followers. A message delivered directly to your contacts’ inbox is very different to hoping your message is seen on a social timeline cluttered with hundreds of other messages.

Not everyone is using social media

The number of users on social media platforms continues to rise, however not at the rate previously seen. Three times as many people use email than have a Facebook or Twitter account. So, although social media may reach a proportion of your target audience, it’s highly likely that all of them will have an email address.

Email is a transactional medium

Social media is just that, ‘social’. Users do not expect to see business offers and communications on the more ‘social’ platforms and are much more likely to act upon business related emails.

In summary, it’s important to understand the value of social media, particularly as a tool to build brand awareness and demonstrate your corporate personality. However, it’s email marketing that offers the opportunity for astonishing results, so where will you choose to channel your online activities?