Which is More Powerful: Social Media or Email Marketing?

When I ask business owners what they’re struggling with while marketing their business, the most common answers I hear are about social media:

“I'm struggling to get engagement on Facebook.”
“How do I get more followers on Instagram?”
“Is LinkedIn a good place for me to be?”

In fact, it often sounds like they interpret “marketing” to mean “social media.”

In the most successful marketing strategies, social media is just one piece of the puzzle. There are lots of other pieces to it, one of which is email marketing.

This leads me to the question I have for you today:

Which do you think is more powerful: social media or email marketing?

They both have their own unique strengths, so it’s kind of a trick question because the truth is: They work better together.

SOCIAL MEDIA is a great place to meet new people; You can connect with them, help them get to know you, and how you can help them.

When it comes to meeting new people and making new contacts, social media is the powerhouse. When you focus your own messages on the needs of the people you serve, you will attract them to you because your messages are helpful. They'll keep coming back for more.

Once you've met new people, your next step is to nurture that new relationship. We need to develop a deeper relationship and foster a feeling of connection. That is hard to do on social media because you can’t guarantee that your new contacts will continue to see you there. First, they have to continue to sign on. Then the algorithm has to choose to show them your content. You have no control over either of those things. Even if there’s a “notification” set up or you do a paid ad, you can’t guarantee that the same people will see or engage with your content. 

And then what if the social media platform goes down? Or if they shut down your account? I’ve seen that happen to so many big accounts, randomly and for no apparent reason. Suddenly, they were disconnected from their audiences with no way to contact them. If you put all of your eggs into the social media basket, you leave yourself exposed and vulnerable. 

In short: You have very little control when it comes to social media, no matter which platform you use. That is why social media is a great place to initially connect with people. Then to nurture the relationship, you need to get them onto your email list.

Email is a powerful tool for nurturing existing relationships. Use it to help them get to know you, like you, and trust you. 

This is your opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the people in your audience. You can write a more personalized message and tie in your brand rather than having your message enveloped in someone else's brand.

Invite them to reply and now you have a great way to get to know the people in your audience a little better; ask them questions about their interests and opinions, which will enable you to serve them better. And when they *do* hit reply, suddenly you have a truly 1:1 conversation where you can create a sense of connection.

That is the joy of email marketing -- it feels like a 1:1 conversation because that's exactly what it is. Though you're sending your initial message to man, once they hit reply, there's just two of you. It does truly become a personal conversation.

So... Although I've said here that social media and email marketing work better together, I realize as I write this article that I harbor a belief that email marketing is more powerful. Here's why:

Email marketing has better reach than social media.

A Facebook business account post reaches, on average, 5.2% of its followers. So if you have 100 followers, 5 of them will see your post.  An Instagram account with less than 10k followers has an average reach of 26.6%. So if you have 100 followers, 27 of them may see your post. If the people who see your posts engage with them (i.e. they like, comment or share) then more people will see your post.

In email marketing, more than 90% of the people you send your message to will see your email in their inbox. So if you have 100 people on your email list, at least 90 of them will see your email in their inbox. But how many people will open your email? This is known as an "open rate" and the answer varies by industry.

Use this chart to see what you can expect for an open rate based on your industry.

You have more control over email marketing than you do over social media. 

For example, you have the power to increase both your delivery rate and your open rate. You can increase your open rates by using subject lines that your audience finds interesting or curious, and that are on topic with what is in the message. When you get high open rates, it can influence your delivery rate. It's much more difficult to influence organic social media in that way; if you want to increase your social media reach, your best bet is to pay for ads.

Are you thinking about getting started with email marketing? Or are you ready to level up and get more out of your email marketing strategy? Use the form below to get two free guides that will help you clarify what you need to look for in an email marketing platform, and explain the best practices to get better results from your email marketing efforts. Fill out the form below to get them sent to your inbox now.

Email Marketing Essentials

Getting Started & Getting Results
May 23, 2023

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