Resources Hub » Blog » ROI Showdown: Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

Marketers have always tried to get the most bang for their buck, but gone are the days of simply throwing the entire marketing budget at print, television, and radio ads. Today, there are far more mediums for connecting with potential customers than ever before, so marketers must be sure they are getting the most mileage out of their budget.

Email marketing vs. social media marketing

Our “ROI Showdown” series is designed to help marketers evaluate their spending and identify when each type of marketing is most valuable to their company. The point is not to declare certain mediums good or bad, but rather, to dig a little deeper into each one and find the subtle differences that make each avenue unique and effective.

That way, marketers can be sure they’ve made the best decision possible in order to get the best results from their next big marketing campaign.

Let’s compare email marketing and social media marketing in order to see which offers a better overall ROI to fit your marketing needs:

Finding the perfect targeted audience.

Modern technology allows marketers to clearly define their ideal customer and target them with more personalized and relevant advertising than ever before.

When people talk about social media marketing, they often talk about the advantages of targeted advertising. When compared with more traditional methods of marketing like print or radio, it’s much easier to target very specific demographics with social media. Plus, as social media ad targeting develops, its capabilities allow marketers to target hyper-segmented populations with laser-like precision.

However, there is a downside to trusting social media to deliver to the perfectly targeted audience. People are becoming more aware of advertising online and increasingly choosing to use adblockers. In fact, some studies suggest nearly a quarter of online users are now surfing behind the protection of an adblocker. This takes a significant number of people out of your targeted audience.

One of the most effective ways to target your advertising audience is through email marketing. Email campaigns don’t have to be generic email blasts that are sent out to every subscriber on your list, and, in fact, shouldn’t be since batch and blast emails aren’t nearly as effective as sending segmented campaigns. Instead, use the data you’re already collecting in order to send the most relevant content for the different groups of people on your list.

Best of all, when you follow best practices to improve your deliverability rates, you know your message will reach your audience because it isn’t an ad on a website but, rather, an email directly in their inbox where they’re more likely to pay attention to it.

Targeted advertising is huge for marketers and both social media and email marketing provide a great opportunity for targeting specific demographics.

Social media marketing casts a wider net and hopes to draw in people who may not be aware of your business but still fit within your target market. Email marketing is more focused, targeting users who have already subscribed and potentially even purchased from you.

Of course, the two work best as complementary channels. Social media marketing is a powerful way to build your email list by reaching new, interested people whereas email marketing converts those interested people into paying customers. You can even experiment with combining the two by re-targeting your email list with social media advertising.

Source: Really Good Emails

What is the value of sharing?

Radio and television ads provide one-way communication, like a monologue: advertisers talk about their product or service and consumers listen. Meanwhile, social media and email provide more opportunities to engage with customers and open a dialogue.

As a result, it’s easier for dedicated fans to bring others into those conversations by sharing your messages, thus expanding your audience without you having to spend a single extra penny.

Engagement in the form of likes, shares, comments, and forwards is the most valuable type of marketing. It’s why you see so many campaigns that include some type of social or engagement element. When someone passes along your content, they are providing an endorsement to their friends, family, and co-workers that lends your brand greater legitimacy.

Marketers have looked at the value of sharing and even put a dollar value on email and social media sharing. An email forwarded by a subscriber is worth $12.41 while a share on social media is worth $5.62. Best of all, other than the initial cost associated with developing the email or social media campaign, this value comes at no expense to you.

Clearly, an email share has more than twice the value of a social media share, though neither result is anything to scoff at. What this evidence shows is that marketing campaigns developed with sharing in mind can drive more traffic to your site and ultimately bring in more revenue, too.

Source: Really Good Emails

Is your message being seen?

Marketers work hard on campaigns so they can get their message out to the eyes and ears of customers. Both email marketing and social media marketing can be tracked, allowing you to actually see how many times your advertisement has been viewed.

These stats are incredibly valuable for tracking the success of a campaign and the chosen platform. With radio, television, or print, it can be much harder to nail down the exact number of people reached.

One challenge for social media marketing is that the platforms are constantly changing the algorithms that determine which posts or advertisements are seen in someone’s feed. Just because someone has chosen to follow your page doesn’t necessarily mean they will see your update in their main feed.

This is one area where email marketing has a huge advantage. The nature of email marketing involves someone inviting you to send them messages into their inbox. There are no algorithms choosing which emails will be seen and when. At the very least, marketers can be confident that their audience will see their email and subject line assuming, of course, that the user is still actively using that email address.

When it comes to ensuring your message reaches the intended person, email marketing wins out. Though your email can get stopped by spam filters, complying with basic guidelines can improve your deliverability and ensure your email gets in front of your audience. While both social media and email marketing have the clear advantage over traditional media, email marketing is a direct line to someone’s inbox.

It’s about creativity and flexibility.

Email marketing and social media marketing both allow brands to step outside the box of 30-second commercials. As a result, both are valuable methods for developing a brand voice customers can identify with.

A social media account can be a great marketing tool for developing brand voice when used correctly. Wendy’s, for example, has become a social media icon with their snarky, no-holds-barred Tweets. However, a social media update or advertisement provides a limited opportunity to create a message.

Email marketing offers much of the same benefits as social media but with a more flexible format that allows for more creativity. Marketing campaigns don’t just have to be sale promotions but, instead, could be made up of blog content, videos, or built into a newsletter. While a social media post may contain a link to a blog post, an email could be an excerpt of the blog post that gets people hooked and convinces them to click through and read further.

Creativity is always a part of marketing, no matter which medium you use. Email marketing just provides more flexibility for your company’s creativity to thrive, enabling you to convey your brand voice and gain recognition.

Source: Really Good Emails

Every channel has a time and place.

Both email marketing and social media marketing have a place in modern marketing campaigns; choosing when to focus on each medium is the real challenge. When comparing email marketing and social media marketing, email marketing has been shown to be more valuable and yield a greater ROI. This simply boils down to the fact that an email subscriber is more engaged with your business compared to someone who is simply glancing past your ad on social media.

Social media can be unpredictable and offers no guarantees. Still, it’s a valuable tool for instant feedback and expanding your audience for little cost. However, because email marketing uses already engaged individuals as a foundation and gives marketers the opportunity to let their creativity shine, email remains a reliable tool for driving revenue and will for a long time.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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