A Successful Marketing Strategy Must Deliver Real Results And Be Cost Effective.
Comparing email marketing and social media marketing is like comparing apples with oranges. Each has its strengths. In some areas such as brand building and engagement rates, social media marketing performs better. However the ultimate test of any marketing plan should be how well it converts leads and enquiries into actual sales. It should also do this in the easiest and cheapest possible way. It is in these two key areas that email marketing ROI (return on investment) outshines social media ROI.
Conversion – Why Email Marketing Wins
Having 2,000 email subscribers and 2,000 Facebook fans is not quite the same thing.
Algorithmic changes in Facebook can seriously limit the organic reach of posts, as this article explains. If you have 2000 Facebook fans, probably only 3 or 4 people will see each post you publish. The scenario is even worse if you have more than 500,000 likes. The viewing proportion can then be as low as 2%.
Contrast this with email marketing, where this survey shows open rates average in excess of 20% and click through rates average 3.5 to 4%.
Higher Click Rates
Statistically, email marketing campaigns see 50-100 times the click-through rates from Facebook and Twitter.
“Email is still the king. It’s the 80% in 80/20. Quite literally. We’re seeing anywhere from x25 to x10 when directly comparing email and social in terms of clicks generated – Despreneur Magazine”
These are the average click-through rates for each channel:
Email marketing 3.57%
For Facebook and Twitter these are engagement rates. In other words, these are not only clicks but also comments, likes, shares, retweets, etc.
Better Direct Conversions
Consumers feel quite comfortable receiving promotional messages via email. Presumably they have already signed up to the email list, thereby showing trust in the brand. On the other hand, they feel it is less acceptable to receive promotional messages via social media. This is a crucial factor which boosts your email marketing ROI.
As the latest statistics from Optin Monster show, 66% of consumers state that they have purchased an item as the result of an email marketing message. However, only 20% of consumers have ever made a purchase resulting from a Facebook promotion. The results from Twitter promotions are even less impressive, at 6%.
Cost And Ease Of Implementation – Why Email Marketing Wins
An Email Marketing Campaign Is Generally Cheaper
Signing up for an account on a social media platform is free. Anyone can create a business Facebook page or a Twitter account. That said, a passive social media page on its own will not yield much of an increase in sales without some ad boosting.
All the major social media platforms offer their versions of CPC (Cost Per Click) and CPM (Cost Per 1000 Impressions) advertising.
These are like Adwords, in that you can set budgets and bid for keywords. CPC costs can range from 30 cents to $8.00/$9.00 depending on the platform and your budget.
However, the real costs tend to be hidden. Social media needs to be constantly monitored to be effective. This usually means allocating a staff member’s valuable time, sometimes on a daily basis.
It also assumes that they have the necessary experience and knowledge to properly manage social media accounts.
In contrast, the cost of an email marketing campaign is usually based on the number of subscribers in your list. The number of emails you want to send in a given period is also a factor.
Most providers have a free plan (e.g. for less than 2000 subscribers or 500 emails per month etc). This is frequently enough for the average small business. Even for much larger mail outs the cost can be as little as 1c per email.
Apart from checking statistics, you do not have to monitor or change email campaigns once you send them. The time saved contributes to your overall email marketing ROI.
Email Marketing Is Easier To Implement
Building your subscriber list takes care of itself via sign ups from your website. With regard to content, most programmes offer a variety of attractive templates which can be easily adapted.
By saving these templates, you can reuse them as a starting point for future campaigns. You can put Autoresponders in place to follow up campaigns and often you can import blog articles into your emails. In the latter case, your content is already in existence.
All these factors make preparation and construction of an email marketing campaign fairly straight forward. They also bolster your email marketing ROI.
Advertising on social media is a bit more complicated, as different platforms present different problems. Space is one of them.
Whereas in an email you can type to your heart’s content, social media can limit the number of characters. For instance, Facebook Ad Manager has a 90 character limit, and Twitter has a 140 character limit.
Also, different social media platforms favour certain demographics.
Over 70% of Instagram users are between 15 and 35, while almost 70% of Pinterest users are women. The younger audience is also forsaking Facebook. About 45% of its users are over the age of 35 and users in the 55+ range are on the rise.
So you may need to prepare several versions of the same ad to appeal to these different audiences.
No matter how many other innovative digital marketing tactics emerge, email marketing remains one of the best ways to reach and engage your target audience.
Social media advertising has its own advantages, and can be used in conjunction with email marketing.
However in the crucial consideration of “value for money”, email marketing ROI emerges as a clear winner.
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Michael is the founder and principal of Media Dreams, and is a former partner in a public accounting practice. He has a working lifetime of advising small business owners and has owned several himself.