If you have decided upon web marketing as one of the primary strategies for the growth of your business, then you will have to look at using email marketing and social media marketing the effective way. Will email marketing be more beneficial to your business or will a strong social media presence offer a lot more? Is there a way that you can harness the benefits of both these methods to get you the best ROI? The answers to these questions can be the difference between a flourishing digital marketing campaign and wastage of valuable time and money.

Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing – Which is more Successful

The two main pillars of digital marketing strategy

The two main pillars of digital marketing strategy

Social media marketing has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Now the sheer amount to time and effort needed to manage properly updated business profiles while interacting with your audience regularly can be overwhelming. You will have to employ a good automated system for social media marketing to get it going smoothly and build a solid reputation with your social media consumers. A brand without credible social media presence will deter consumers by giving them an outdated image of your business.

Just like social media marketing, email marketing is also taxing on resources, particularly your time and efforts needed to create engaging newsletter content and presenting them in unique templates.  Email marketing helps you introduce new products to both your existing and new consumers while bringing additional sales. With a well-planned email marketing campaign, you can potentially stay on a prospective customer’s mind.

Deciding on which method to focus more

There are different camps that advocate one method over the other. Some of the experts swear that social media marketing is the order of the day and that emails are no longer effective to generate any business benefits. While others believe that emails do the work and social media is just for faux publicity without much conversions. The truth is actually somewhere in between. Both methods have their pros and cons and should most definitely be part of a modern brand’s digital marketing strategy.

Just like conventional advertising, a business or brand’s individual nature, their target group and the products or services offered by them must determine the resources that must be utilized in each of these two methods. Ultimately, the proper numbers will have to be researched to allocate the time, efforts and money into each of these methods for a particular business strategy. For some there might be bigger benefits from the social media space while for others the emails may fetch better ROI however, both methods will benefit any brand or business without question.

The Truth in numbers

Despite social media marketing being the modern favorite, email marketing more than holds its own when it comes to raw numbers. Email marketing has its roots in the decades old physical mail sales letter way of marketing. For years together, savvy marketers have mailed, meaning physically posted, printed letters to people’s addresses for either marketing goods or services or as a way of staying in touch with their existing customer base generally referred to as the customer list. So, in a way, email marketing is the legacy of a tried and tested older system that has become technologically transformed.

Considering the following stats about users available to target in each method, their participation ratio and the way click through rates are impacted,   here are a few points to ponder upon,

  1. Facebook, the largest social network, has over 1.5 billion active members, a very significant number.
  2. In comparison, around 4.5 billion people have actively used email addresses.
  3. Facebook posts have a reach of about 2-6% of a page’s fans.
  4. Email open rates usually hover around 16% as a start and increases if the emails arouse a lot of interest.
  5. With click-through rates, emails have a conservative estimate of 3% rate while social media is around 0.5%, a significant gap in favor of emails.
  6. The general nature of emails help its cause as some companies do not allow access to social media sites, but emails are always permitted making their accessibility a key advantage.

Going by the above numbers, have you already decided to focus only on email marketing? Before taking this decision, let’s focus on the other side of the coin to understand why these two methods are more like brothers-in-arms rather than competitors.

Coming to why social media marketing has its own important uses in your business strategy, it has to be understood that, despite winning on numbers, email marketing does miss extensive robustness key factors like mobile optimization, tracking and analysis.  Social media channels actually have a far more developed way of tracking and analyzing campaigns. They are also far more optimized for the mobile universe.

Social media marketing ROI

Social media marketing ROI

Measuring ROI on social media platforms is still a debatable topic as standard methods to analyze ROI have not yet emerged with consensus. There are different ways to measure and understand data while also analyzing interactions and traffic. Most social media experts advise on using a blend of different benchmarks such as metrics, engagements and audience traffic to arrive at conclusions. Sprout Social offers you a potential technique to estimate your brand’s social media campaign ROI.

Email marketing ROI

Email marketing ROI

As of 2015, the statistics are firmly in favor of email marketing when it comes to ROIs in general. With a calculated ROI of approximately 4000% according to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing truly rules the roost. Marketers consistently rank email as the single most effective tactic for acquisition, retention, awareness and conversion.

Mckinsey and Company states that, email conversion rates work out to thrice as much as social media with over 15% higher value in conversions. They also claim that email is nearly 40 times better than facebook and twitter at acquiring customers. ExactTarget shows figures of about 91% of consumers who check their emails at least once per day which makes emails one of the primary functions for which smartphones are used for. Additionally, a number of companies claim about 30% of total sales to emerge from email marketing campaigns.

To get a better idea of stats involved in both social media marketing engagement and email marketing engagement, take a look at this infographic.

Integrating both methods is the key

Email marketing and social media marketing both help you reach your customers. Both of these methods have important benefits and these benefits get amplified if they are used in tandem complementing each other. If you can successfully integrate both these methods to send out a consistent message across emails and social media content, your reach would increase manifolds.

  1. Both are similar methods, but accomplish different objectives in different manners
  2. Email marketing is a bit more direct and personalized whereas social media is more dependent on the consumer’s preference for specific content
  3. Social media has the advantage of viral spread which cannot be replicated via emails
  4. Using both these methods can cross promote campaigns and get better results
  5. According to Nonprofit Hub, emails with social sharing buttons increase CTR by 150% getting you the best of both worlds
  6. The following examples may offer you a better picture of clever integration
    • KFC sent an email to their customer list announcing the launch of their Double Down Sandwich and asked them to share it as they like. This email got shared more than 12000 times in Facebook and Twitter within a day’s time. In addition, they utilized an email signup widget on their Facebook page and during the above launch their subscription to email increased over 30%. This is a great example of a 360 degree promotion gaining from both email and social media marketing.
    • Sony Vaio launched their new summer line up by sending emails to their customers with Pin it buttons in these emails. This resulted in over 3000 click-throughs and crossed their email revenue target by 172%. They also added the same button to their purchase confirmation mail and got a CTR of over 18% along with over 70% email open rate.

So, for modern business promotion needs, digitally, it makes sense to use two very powerful promotional methods in collaboration to maximize achievement of goals.

Which out of these two digital marketing tools works the best for you? You can share with us your judgment on it. If you liked this article, do share it and share your feedback by leaving comments. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.



  1. Great article! I was always more of a fan of integrated approach. Both email marketing and social media are important. It depends strongly on what kind of strategy you have. I’ve been using for a while GetResponse for my campaigns and I always try to find a way to integrate email campaigns with social media. With email marketing the segmentation options are really helpful. Once you find the right balance between the two and the right messages it can be a really nicely working machine.

  2. I like the comparison between Email marketing and Social media marketing, both are very important for an Omni channel Marketing strategy in this Digital world.

  3. We had to make a presentation about the market positioning of a company called iCubes pro. It is into Digital Marketing and Email Marketing field. Though my presentation had some errors I came to find out the importance of Email Marketing. Just like how others viewed Email Marketing as a dead tool for today’s world I used to view at it as the same. But after a good research, I know I was wrong.

  4. I prefer email marketing, I use a hybrid email marketing tool called Easysendy pro which allows me to send bulk emails to grow my business faster.


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