Social Media Marketing vs. Email Marketing


social media marketing vs. email marketing

Is your business looking at their inbound marketing and wondering if the time and effort they spend is worth it? Do they have a social media presence? Do they send email blasts and newsletters? Are you wondering which one, social media marketing or email marketing is giving you the best ROI?

Without a good system and automation social media marketing can be time-consuming. Today, businesses are expected to have a social media presence by the consumers they serve. If a social media account isn’t present, the consumer may lose confidence in the brand, think them antiquated, and not use them.

Email marketing can be time intensive also, as newsletter articles have to be written, formatted and put into the newsletter template. Newsletters can announce new products and drive add-on sales. Regular email marketing keeps a business in the foreground of a potential customers mind.

Both methods of marketing are integral parts of a company’s online marketing strategy, but deciding how much effort and time should go into each must eventually come down to a numbers game.  That is, what ROI (return on investment) is the company seeing from their social media marketing vs. email marketing.

A Numbers Breakdown

For all the hype about social media, the numbers on the marketing, tend to lean in favor of email.  When it comes to statistics regarding users, opens, and click-through rates here are some things to think about.

Sometimes it seems like everyone has a Facebook account because there are over 1 billion active users. But that is small in comparison to the 3.9 billion people with email addresses.

In just raw numbers, there’s more email users, but the real difference is the reach and engagement levels.  On Facebook, the posts tend to reach only between 2 to 6% of a page’s fans. While email open rates usually start at about 16%. I’ve seen accounts with email open rates of 68% because the emails sent were timely and interesting.  In terms of simple math, it’s at the very least 3x more likely that a customer or a potential customer will open an email than see a post on Facebook.  Click-through rates are even more skewed with emails having a conservative 3% click through rate while social media sits around 0.5% CTR, a 6x difference.

Some corporations may not allow employees to access social media sites, but most corporations give their employees email addresses. Making email more likely to be used during work hours.

The fact is that most people check their email on a daily basis. Despite impressive numbers for emails, there are many aspects of email marketing being neglected like mobile optimization, tracking and analysis.

The ROI on Email Marketing

Looking at the statistics, there’s no doubt that the return on investment for email marketing is quite impressive, a 2500% for 2013 according to the Direct Marketing Association. There’s  an unbelievable amount of competition on a user’s Facebook newsfeed, but a newsletter or eBlast is just as likely to get noticed as any other email. If the email sender is a company or brand the reader likes, the receiver is very likely to open the email.

Companies rate email marketing as an excellent or good marketing channel. Most companies attribute around 23% of total sales to this outlet. By no means is it a diminishing trend either, there’s a proportionate rise of 28% if one is looking at the yearly increase.

Email marketing’s greatest issue is the time and effort spent in putting together emails. The marketing method could be much more effective if the time spent involved more focus on strategy and segmentation rather than deployment and campaign management. Strategizing early on is essential to minimizing the amount of time wasted further down the road.

Measuring Social Media Marketing ROI

Just because email is more effective, doesn’t mean that companies should forget about social media channels. Social media channels can be an important part of building an email list by adding subscription links and forms.

It’s generally more difficult to measure the ROI on social media, but there are some ways to make a few measurements. Interactions and traffic are important to analyze.

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect or comprehensive way to measure ROI on a social media channel. It’s best to try and use a combination of the benchmark of metrics, interactions, and traffic to draw the best conclusions. Using the analytics you gather from your social networks and email campaigns, it will be easier to decide how much time and money should be dedicated to each of these channels.

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