I get asked during Mailchimp training which is ‘better’ between email marketing and social media. The roles of email marketing and social media are different. Of course elements overlap but they are two different mediums. There is much evidence to suggest that email marketing is more effective at revenue generation (making money for your business) than Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and so on but, again, social media has its (valuable) place for many organisations.
Consider how recently Mailchimp recently enabled the ability to create Facebook ads within Mailchimp. These adverts can then be targeted at your individual contacts (also called subscribers) so that when they log in to Facebook your brand is shown again to the person. Facebook is being used as an additional channel in addition to, but not competing with, your Mailchimp email campaigns.
Email marketing stats that impress
Studies show that 72% of American adults prefer businesses to contact them via email (as opposed to less than 20% preferring social media communication). In addition “email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined” (McKinsey & Company). Of course the prediction that email would start to decline has totally been blown out of the water with research by The Radicati Group finding that “email use continues to see strong growth in the business world, as well as with consumers where it is used mainly for e-Commerce activities”.
Mercedes Benz wins at Instagram and Facebook advertising
That doesn’t however mean that email marketing is superior to social media; we need to understand the different roles that social media and email marketing provide. For example when Mercedes Benz was launching the GLA they advertised on Instagram and Facebook using distinctive ads. The results were overwhelmingly positive resulting in higher click-through rates to their GLA website pages.
Marketing budgets and the time available to spend on marketing is limited. Ultimately we need to understand that social media and email marketing offer different marketing opportunities; we should use either or both according to the resources we have available and our objectives.