Social media vs email marketing: which is more effective?

Email vs Social Media

For many marketers, social media is the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World for generating leads and sales.

It’s the way of the future and today’s young people have embraced it with gusto.

Generations X & Y could not possibly interact with each other without their daily dose of Facebook, the odd Tweet here and there, a Pinterest post or two, a quick surf of You Tube, or whatever new social media du jour has caught their attention.

There can be no denying the unprecedented impact of social media… it has even changed the way our beloved leaders behave (case in point the ‘Choppergate’ affair in which Bronwyn Bishop faced ‘trial by Facebook’).

Social media isn’t going away anytime soon, in fact it’s continually evolving and improving, and you can’t ignore the fact that it’s a knockout way to share content and attract potential new customers.

If this dynamic medium does have a glass jaw, it’s the fact that it is only seen when people are actively engaged online and a lot of messages and posts are unseen ‘air swings’.

Now note the jeers and sneers, particularly from the under 30’s, as that old journeyman email enters the ring.

Seen as yesterday’s hero, many people think that email is a has-been that was killed off by unscrupulous spammers, boring, ineffective & irrelevant messages, and one too many “email blasts” that did nothing more than clog up your inbox and left you searching for the Unsubscribe button.

However if you think email marketing is about to make a comeback, you’d be wrong; the truth is it never went away.

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Email marketing is still punching above its weight.

The statistics concerning email are really quite staggering.

For example, 95% of online consumers use email, and with the number of email accounts approaching 4 billion worldwide, it’s a genuine heavyweight.

According to various sources in a 2018 article by Campaign Monitor:

  • 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • 76% of marketers see active growth in their number of email subscribers. (Source: Ascend2)
and – wait for this –
  • Email marketing has an ROI of 3800%. Yes, that's 3800%!! (Source: DMA)

That last figure is no doubt because email has a longer lifespan than social media, due to the fact that messages can be read several times, saved and even flagged – and the fact that 91% of people check their email at least once a day! (Source: Radicati) Ask often do you check YOURS?

If you want to take a look at some solid comparison stats...the average global Click Through Rate (CTR) for email marketing is 3.7%. Whereas for Facebook, it's around 0.7%. And while 66% of people claim to have made a purchase as a result of a marketing message from an email, for Facebook it's 20%. (Source: Optinmonster)

So how does email fit into your Sales Funnel?

Well for starters, when used effectively – guiding and persuading potential customers with useful, informative & interesting messages – it’s unbeatable for customer acquisition.

Send the right email to the right market and engage them in one-on-one conversation and you can be sure it will be well received.

Similarly being such a personal medium ideal for targeted messages, it can work wonders for Engagement, Retention and Revenue. (It’s the perfect medium for strengthening relationships, offering exclusive extras and upselling your products and services.)

However the area where email marketing invariably delivers the knockout blow is referrals.

If you have a great product, offer or story to tell, you won’t have to ask readers to “Share” your message with colleagues, family and friends, they will do it naturally. Organically, you could say.

Nothing is as powerful as word of mouth advertising; people trust people they know and believe it when they’re told that a product is amazing, a service is terrific or an offer is unbeatable.

This element of social proof will help to drive a whole new audience to your website and let you in turn Email them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Judge’s Decision…

…is not unanimous.

Neither social media in the red corner or email marketing in the blue wins outright.

This is because ideally the two should not fight, but work together in harmonious tandem. (Like tag team wrestlers.)

Certainly you should invest in building a social media platform – how could you not in this day and age – but first make sure you’re maximising your marketing by making the most of email.

Think of it as a great ‘Left-Right’ combination that will leave YOUR opponents on the canvas.

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