Email Campaigns vs. Social Media Marketing

Which Is Best?

Most online marketing happens through email or social media. Both options are affordable and highly effective because you’re creating opportunities for customized, one-on-one conversations.

It’s not unusual for brands and businesses to invest in both options. Email campaigns reach people across multiple platforms and devices, while social media meets people where they are.

If you can only invest or spend time with one option, which is better? Should you create email campaigns, or would social media marketing provide superior results?

Do's in Email Marketing.

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ROI Differences: Email Campaigns vs. Social Media Marketing

When gauging ROI for your marketing investments, it is essential to set some clear definitions first.

Do you want to focus on profits on top of all your investments, the click-through rate, or reactions vs. an open rate when comparing email to social media?

If you look at the overall performance of each investment, email provides superior results in all three categories.

  • The average click-to-open rate for a high-performance email campaign is at least 20%.
  • Most email marketing efforts achieve an email open rate of at least 15%.
  • The click-through rate (CTR) for WordPress email marketing is about 2.5%.

When investing in social media marketing, you’ll find a CTR as low as 0.07% on some platforms. That’s because your money is being spent to reach potential prospects that don’t know anything about who you are.

An email marketing list is filled with people who gave you their information to become part of your subscriber network. They know about your brand and want to stay connected with you.

From a monetary view, the average email generates around $40 for every $1 spent on it. Social media marketing still creates a profit, but the ROI is closer to $1.28 for every $1 spent.

Audience Reach Differences: Email Campaigns vs. Social Media Marketing

About the same number of people use email and social media today. That provides you with a total potential audience of about three to four billion people globally.

Email and social media have similar problems when reaching out to an audience. You don’t know if the account is confirmed, duplicated, or fake.

That means a better measurement of audience reach is to look at the organic results that come from these two marketing investments.

People typically check their email more often than they review social media notifications. About 58% of people check their messages first in the morning, before checking on Facebook, searching for information on Google, or looking up a weather forecast.

Nearly 90% of people with at least one email account check their inbox at least once per day.

Social media algorithms are meant to maximize revenues and encourage marketing investments. Roughly 5% of people in the average fan base will see what gets posted organically. WordPress email marketing doesn’t have the same “pay to play” requirement.

The only disadvantage of an email campaign here is that you can reach people you haven’t already acquired.

Email lets you turn warm prospects into customers. Social media marketing provides a path that can convert strangers into leads.

Going Viral Differences: Email Campaigns vs. Social Medial Marketing

Emails and social media posts both have opportunities to go viral. Someone can send your outreach efforts to their network using either methodology.

Here is the one place where social media marketing could have an advantage. Many email servers are designed to prohibit spam and junk mail from being sent and received.

Social media posts don’t have restrictions to a specific follower network. When someone shares content, it gets seen by some of that person’s network. Others can share it directly from your page or indirectly from another account.

Emails can be forwarded or copied and pasted to be sent elsewhere, but the network reach for this sharing option is quite limited. It also relies on other people opening the message, whereas social media displays shared content right to each person’s news feed.

Although going viral isn’t for everyone, the results can completely change how a brand is perceived by the public. It delivers credibility through social connections, whereas WordPress email marketing creates the same result through transparent displays of your expertise.

Email doesn’t have the power of virality, but it does generate consistent responses from your targeted audience. If you want predictability, this option has more benefits.

Targeting and Security: Email Campaigns vs. Social Media Marketing

Email beats social media for security without question. You’re the one who owns the email list, which means there isn’t a mechanism to have it taken from you. Although the platform you use could close, the addresses in your possession can transfer to another provider.

If you have a social media page, you’re at the whim of the platform. Your entire network can disappear instantly if it stops functioning or believes you’ve violated a policy. Many accounts have lost millions of followers because of information they posted that was deemed to break one of the rules.

Targeting is another component of marketing that gets overlooked today. Emails allow brands and businesses to segment lists in virtually any way to reach a particular demographic.

Paid social media ads provide sophisticated controllers and choices to limit who sees your promotion, but organic posts have virtually no targeting potential at all.

When you want to have more control over who sees your posts, an email campaign is the best solution.

Content Perception: Email Campaigns vs. Social Media Marketing

People use emails and social media for business and personal needs. Depending on your specific industry, services, or products, either choice can deliver a distinctive edge that sets you apart from a competitor.

When looking at how people use these two communication mediums, email tends to be geared toward business and social media for personal needs.

That means, from a marketing perspective, it’s better to treat a social media investment as a way to connect with your audience. You can reserve email campaigns for those direct pushes that bring people to your products or services.

Since everyone on your email marketing list opted in to receive communications from your business, they’re less likely to become annoyed by a sales pitch. That doesn’t mean every message you send should try to sell something, but it does allow for more sales opportunities.

People subscribed to newsletters and email lists to receive valuable content. When you can offer this resource while sprinkling in the occasional offer, you’ll start a good conversation with your customer base that can often lead to more sales opportunities.

Gains and Losses: Email Campaigns vs. Social Media Marketing

Email and social media are about equal here with this comparison point. Both mediums provide mechanisms for people to unsubscribe from posts and lists.

An email campaign has a slight advantage because unsubscribing takes slightly more effort than social media for the average person to complete.

When you scroll to the bottom of an email message, there’s some form of this comment: “If you no longer wish to receive messages from us, you can unsubscribe at any time.”

After clicking the unsubscribe button, you’re taken to a new page that confirms the information. Some providers allow people to resubscribe if an accidental click occurs, preserving the data from the list.

When you want to remove information from a social media news feed, you have the option to ignore it for 30 days. That means you don’t know who is seeing your messages as a brand. You could be sending content out to no one, and the only way you’d see it is through reduced interactions or changes in traffic metrics.

The goal here is to be as open and honest as possible. If you provide transparent mechanisms for reducing or eliminating contact points, staying in contact with the people who want to connect with your brand and business is more manageable.

Additional Pros and Cons of Email Marketing

When you approach WordPress email marketing or another platform’s options, you’ll find that this investment offers a few more advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Here’s a closer look to help determine if this option is the best idea for your brand and business today.

List of the Pros of Email MarketingList of the Cons of Email Marketing
It is easy to reach plenty of people at once with email while maintaining a personalized conversation. Once you press send, thousands of potential readers receive your content at a time that works for them.There isn’t a guarantee that emails will be opened. Some recipients might not receive your messages, even after they’ve subscribed. You can counter this issue by asking to be placed on a safe list.
It is one of the most affordable growth investments available to businesses today. Some WordPress email marketing tools are available without charge.Email content sizes can be tricky to get right. Some readers want a small novel of valuable information to enjoy, while others prefer a couple of sentences. Each customer segment could have different needs to identify in this area.
Results are trackable when using this resource. You can see how many people came to a website and other stats to ensure your key performance indicators target the correct information.Your writing skills matter when sending emails. Although you don’t need an academic degree to be successful, your sentence structures should make sense to the average reader.

Additional Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing puts your value proposition in front of an audience where interactions are strongly encouraged. You can connect with people even when they haven’t heard of your brand and business.

Instead of using emails, some companies might find these additional pros and cons of social media marketing to be valuable.

List of the Pros of Social Media MarketingList of the Cons of Social Media Marketing
This investment allows you to reach a larger audience because there aren’t predetermined limits to manage. You have access to limitless demographics globally.It takes more time to manage social media marketing efforts. Each comment or direct message requires a response, and most people expect an answer within an hour. If you don’t deliver, your competitor gets a new customer.
It allows you to connect with your audience in direct ways. People choose to follow accounts online, which means there is an interest in your brand. You can resolve disputes, deliver relatable content, and understand how your company is perceived.Online conversations can take unpredictable turns. It doesn’t take much for a complaint to go viral, affecting how others think about your brand and business. The only power you have is how to respond.
You can monitor feedback from the public in real-time, making it easier to adapt your message to what resonates with your prospects and customers quickly.It takes time for social media content to create a compelling presence. Although WordPress email marketing relies on list-building work that also has this disadvantage, it typically delivers faster results.

Email Campaigns vs. Social Media Marketing: Where Should I Invest My Money Today?

Most companies use a combination of email and social media marketing to drive results. These resources often work with search engine optimization to generate organic attention while generating more brand awareness.

There isn’t a specific solution that works for everyone.

When looking at the specifics of each solution, email campaigns come out ahead because of their versatility, affordability, and customization. You can segment messages to connect with specific audiences while providing valuable information to encourage readers to want more.

People also tend to be more receptive to trusted brands in their inbox than in a news feed.

If your business hasn’t tried an email campaign, now is the perfect time to consider this option. When you combine the best email marketing software for agencies with each message’s benefits, it often becomes easier to reach your brand’s goals.

By Jon Goldberg

Jon is a writer for He likes hiking, sport cars and playing chess when he's not with his family.

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