Email Marketing Vs Social Media: Which Should Your Brand Prioritize?

Nowadays, most businesses are laser-focused on the latest social media marketing trend – whether it’s TikTok content or Instagram paid ads. Given that consumer spending on TikTok increased by a whopping 77% in 2021, it’s easy to see why brands are prioritizing social media marketing.

You might think social media is the future of modern-day marketing, but that’s not entirely true. With an estimated 319.6 billion emails sent and received worldwide, email marketing is still in the game (and here to stay).  

Here’s the million-dollar question: should your brand really be pouring all its marketing budget into social media while it’s hot? Or should you also invest in targeted email campaigns?

If we’re being honest, there’s no cut-and-dried answer here. Your choice will vary based on what your brand needs. In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of both targeted email marketing and social media marketing, so you can make an informed decision.

Let’s dive in!

Close up of woman typing on a laptop.

When It Pays to Use Email Marketing

Since most people already have a social media marketing campaign, you might benefit from adding email marketing to your advertising mix. Here’s why.

Email marketing allows you to share new products and updates with customers on your unique email subscriber list. It’s an efficient technique that can help you convert leads to sales by nurturing relationships more directly, rather than casting a broad net on social media.

The statistics back this up. In a recent SaleCycle survey, 59% of respondents said that marketing emails influence their purchase decisions, and over 50% buy from emails at least once a month.

But the benefits of targeted email campaigns go beyond sales.

  • With email marketing, you can group subscribers based on how they interact with your brand.  
  • Because emails don’t take long to plan, you are able to create an entire campaign on short notice.
  • Considering its relatively affordable price, email marketing is unlikely to seriously dent your ad spend.

However, sending random emails every now and then won’t get you very far. Ideally, you should launch targeted email campaigns when:

1. You Need to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Email marketing can significantly boost your cash flow. According to statistics, traffic from email marketing campaigns has an average conversion rate of 4.29%.

That’s not all. Because this is a form of first-party data and comes from channels your brand controls, you can use it to gain deeper insights into your customers and fine-tune your targeted email campaigns.

2. You’re Looking for a High Return on Investment

The incredibly high conversion rate of email marketing makes it one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business. In fact, for every $1 marketers spend on targeted email campaigns, they make $36 in return.

Comparatively speaking, emails usually have a higher return on investment than social media marketing campaigns, simply because they convert better and are less expensive to deploy.

3. You Have a Solid Subscriber List

Targeted email campaigns are especially effective when you have a great list of users. This means when you send emails, you reach people who have agreed to receive communications from your business. In other words, an email marketing campaign strategy allows you to reach your current followers in an incredibly personal way.

4. You Want to Build Trust with Your Customers

Despite its popularity, social media is often seen as a double-edged sword. A recent survey found that only 17% of young adults trust social channels to provide accurate information.  

Additionally, social media doesn’t offer much room for personalization. You either use general terms or talk to multiple people at a time.

With email marketing, you can tailor customized messages for specific users. This allows you to establish stronger customer relationships, boost credibility, and build trust.

5. You Need to Keep Connected with Your Customers

Any large-scale disruption in your industry (supply chain issues, legal changes, medical advances, public sentiment/discourse) can change the way you do business – sometimes more dramatically than you’d expect. Emails/newsletters can help your brand control its messaging and keep customers informed about what’s happening behind the scenes.

Illustrative representation of social media marketing

When It’s Better to Use Social Media Marketing

Many business owners see social media as the undisputed king of digital marketing. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter offer the chance to connect with nearly half the world’s population – around 4.62 billion people.

In a nutshell, social media marketing is the act of promoting content on popular social media channels. Based on the type of platform, this could be anything from gripping videos and high-quality images to compelling blog posts.

But why do 77% of marketers consider social media advertising to be somewhat/very effective for their business? Well, social channels…  

  • Enable faster and easier communication
  • Can humanize your brand and make it more relatable
  • Allow you to manage your market reputation

But as with all things marketing, social media is best used under specific conditions. For instance, we recommend using it when…

1. You Need to Build a Stronger Brand Presence

Email marketing is personal, but if you’re trying to establish a robust presence across the board, a public social media strategy might be a better fit. Almost 90% of marketers cite immense exposure as the primary benefit of social media.

2. You’re Targeting a Niche Demographic

Social media offers the chance to segment a large audience into smaller groups for highly targeted messages.  

By default, social algorithms determine which content to deliver to users based on their behavior. This may be a good thing for your business in the long term since you’ll no longer have to battle for space. You can use your data and marketing expertise to reach a niche audience with ease.  

The perks don’t stop there. Social media can also bring you a wealth of third-party data- data that comes from external sources separate from your brand. For example, Facebook data is first-party data for Facebook/Meta but third-party data for you.  

Third-party data helps paint a detailed picture of your most valuable customers. You can use this information to reach new lookalike audiences, create innovative location-based campaigns, and improve your machine-learning initiatives, among other things.

3. You Want to Hit People Multiple Times Per Day

Most users won’t mind seeing several pieces of branded content on their feed, making social media one of the best platforms for repeated daily interactions. On the other hand, people don’t open emails more than once a day, rarely share them with others, and tend to get annoyed when brands are too persistent.

4. You’re Trying to Start a Conversation

While email marketing does facilitate engagement, it’s not designed to start conversations. Social media, comparatively, offers more ways to break the ice. You could leave a comment, ask a community question, or create conversation-worthy content. The possibilities are endless.

Do social media conversations matter? You bet. 92% of people actively look for comments about brands, products, and services on social media. More importantly, 68% stated their perception of a brand changed after going through their conversations on social.

Woman deciding between social media marketing and email marketing.

How to Make the Right Decision for Your Brand

Email marketing vs. social media: which one is best suited to your company?

When balancing targeted email campaigns and social media marketing strategies, there’s no ‘right’ answer. It all depends on your brand, its strengths, weaknesses, and what you’re trying to achieve. You will need to identify your target demographic and understand their purchase habits before deciding on which path to pursue.

The easiest way to determine what your business needs is to measure the effectiveness of its core marketing metrics. Depending on the results, you can tweak your techniques to get the best ROI.

Here are a few ways to do this.

  • Reward customer loyalty with discounts, early access to new products, and shout-outs
  • Share data and offer seamless experiences across all your advertising channels
  • Implement A/B testing for each campaign
  • Incorporate affiliate marketing wherever possible
  • Ask your customers for feedback and incorporate their input to add value
  • Weed out ineffective programs and double down on what works

Keeping an eye on your marketing performance is hard, especially when you have a business to run. That’s where Ayokay comes in. Our team of digital marketing experts will help you track and plan a great marketing strategy, so your brand can stay ahead of the curve every step of the way.

The Challenge of Both Email and Social Marketing

A word of caution: neither email nor social media is without drawbacks.  

For example, deliverability is a huge challenge for targeted email marketing, with almost 45.37% of all email traffic being marked as spam. Likewise, it only takes one bad social review to ruin your brand’s image.

Because consumers can become desensitized to both kinds of marketing, you must work hard to cut through the noise and foster user engagement. With Ayokay in your corner, you won’t have to do this alone.

The Bottom Line

There you have it: it’s officially a draw!

Both social media and email marketing are well worth your time and effort. They come with countless advantages that can benefit your company in the long run. All you need to do is sit down with your team, set goals based on your budget, and decide which method to prioritize.

Whether you need well-crafted social media marketing plans or carefully targeted email campaigns, Ayokay will put you on the right path. We’re well-versed in an array of marketing channels and will leverage our expertise to showcase your business online.

If you have more questions about email marketing or social media marketing, feel free to reach out to us today! We look forward to helping your brand.