We live in a world where almost everyone is obsessed with “The Best”, “The Winner”, “The Perfect”, and so on. Say, you ask your trainer in the gym, “Which is the one best exercise for the body?” Your trainer will be thoroughly baffled, and might even retort, “Are you going to limit yourself to that ONE!”

Similar is the case with marketers, especially in the B2B sector. Even if a league of extraordinary marketing experts claim that social media is a clear winner, for instance, will you as a marketer do away with email marketing altogether?

Email Marketing vs. Social Media

Most of the marketers today use both social media and email marketing to promote their business. If the question, however, is about allocating time and budget on either one of them more than the other, then we must assess the two in 5 key areas:

1. Profitability

Email marketing has a substantially better return on investment than other channels, with an estimated $44 generated for every $1 spent—a staggering 4400 percent ROI. With an estimated average ROI of 28 percent, social media comes in second position.

While outcomes will vary greatly depending on the business, Campaign Monitor offers the following email marketing benchmarks:

The typical open rate for emails is 15 to 25%, average click-through rate 2.5%, and click-to-open rate between 20% – 30%. On the other hand, you may expect a click-through rate of only 0.07 percent on Facebook. Given that an email subscriber has already opted-in to your list and is familiar with your brand, this makes sense.

The Score:

Email Marketing: 1

Social Media: 0

2. Outreach

According to Statista, 4.1 billion people use e-mail worldwide. By the end of 2020, Facebook had roughly 2.8 billion monthly active users.

But more importantly, your posts on social media aren’t limited to your own network of followers. When someone shares your article, it will be seen by a certain amount of their followers, giving you significantly greater exposure than you would get from email.

The Score:

Email Marketing: 1

Social Media: 1

3. Market reception

People often use social media for fun, whereas email is more business-oriented.

How consumers want to receive promotional content

Source: Chamaileon

When it comes to marketing, it’s best to use social media to interact with your audience rather than to promote your product or service directly. In case of emails, since everyone on your email list has already agreed to receive promotional emails from you, they’re less likely to be irritated. Of course, you must be cautious not to bombard your subscribers with promotions, people , nonetheless, will be more open to marketing materials from trusted brands in their inbox than in their news feed.

The Score:

Email Marketing: 2

Social Media: 1

4. Risk factors

One fine morning you wake up to find your social media account blocked or terminated due to some or the other reason. This situation is not quite likely, but very much possible. In case of email marketing, you own your email list, so no one can take it away from you on the spur of the moment.

The same, as we have already seen, cannot be said for your social media marketing. There’s also the possibility that a platform will terminate your account. Therefore, even if social media marketing is your primary method, you should have a backup email list.

The Score:

Email Marketing: 3

Social Media: 1

5. Targeting

Without any speck of doubt, your marketing materials will be more successful if they are well-targeted. The fact that you can segment your email list in as many ways as you wish to target specific demographics, firmographics, and technographics puts email marketing on the driver’s seat. Organic social media, on the other hand, has limited targeting capabilities because you have no control over who sees your posts.

The Score:

Email Marketing: 4

Social Media: 1

With 4 points against 1 point, email marketing is the clear winner.

What’s the fate of social media marketing now?

With a conclusive defeat, you might be wondering that a B2B marketer should sever ties with social media, or at least not bother with it much. This is, exactly, how scores and competitions misguide us. We look at 4 points versus 1 point when we should actually see it as 4 points + 1 point = 5 points.

While email marketing is a better marketing strategy overall, social media is still a terrific way to expand your audience and build your list. No one is ever going to point a gun on your forehead and ask you to choose one of the two. So, why compare the two? Rather look out for ways to make them work in tandem for maximum benefit. A comprehensive strategy provides tailored brand experiences for your customers, which can lead to engagement, subscription, conversion and re-conversion, and even the conversion of a few of your customers into brand advocates.

The Bottom Line

Social media marketing is a fantastic way to reach out to new people. Email marketing is awesome to get them to convert. Combine the two and get the best out of both the worlds.

Author - Mukundan A P
Mukundan A P Author at Span Global Services With having spent over 18 years with the Champions group leading the APAC territories in the data domain, Mukundan has a reputation of helming some of the most formidable projects in the B2B sector. He is known for his ability to build relationships and make headway for his clients using his expertise in data driven solutions. Having worn a plethora of caps in his vast career he is not an individual of singular talents. Mukundans ability to handle multiple roles and his immense success makes him one of the finest leaders that this industry has seen.

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