Email marketing vs social media?
Where to put your marketing energies in 2021.

How effective is email marketing when social media popularity is on the rise? Should we put email marketing just as high, if not higher, on our priorities list than engaging with people via social media?

If you’ve ever wondered whether your marketing energies are better channelled towards one or the other, but lack the evidence for deciding which one, this blog has all the answers.



First, let’s look at why email marketing is important for effective marketing:

  • A personalised audience.
  • It is easier to work with niche ideas
  • No competition
  • Audience engagement
  • Direct sales
  • Quick and simple
  • Grow your network
  • Keep them engaged
  • Build trust with your target audience



Signing up for an email newsletter is a choice inspired by a love of the brand, person or company. Therefore, your subscribers are likely to be engaged, responsive and excited by your emails because they have gone out of their way to connect with you. Promoting your services or products through direct emails to a committed and loyal audience could be more efficient for achieving your goal than posting into the abyss of Facebook or Twitter where your audience may or may not be as interested as your email subscribers. via email also offers the chance to provide special opportunities for your subscribers; rather than hosting a social media giveaway or discount system that people who may not be totally loyal can take advantage of, communicating with your subscribers personally is mutually rewarding.


When people sign up to receive emails from you, it may be that they sign up for different purposes. For example, let’s assume you’re a clothing business: one person may be interested in your newsletter on the latest fashion trends, whereas the next may be solely interested in your dresses. You can create different emails so your audience receives the content they want individually. In comparison, your social media accounts remain largely generic by nature and all your content is available to everyone (even if they are not 100% interested in all of it). This could turn people away if they’re getting too much of the things they aren’t interested in.


When you post on social media, you are in competition with the algorithm (dun dun DUN!). The Instagram algorithm, for example, prioritises posts by the number of likes and previous user engagement, and there is no guarantee your posts will be shown to every individual follower. Sending an email to your subscribers is guaranteed to be sent straight to their inbox and therefore increases the chance of them seeing it, in comparison to if you were to post the same information on Instagram.


With 3.8 billion people checking their email inbox at the start of their day, it is unsurprising that email marketing campaigns are effective for boosting your business image. People use email on a frequent, daily basis, so putting your energy into an email campaign will not be wasted. It’s also likely that people have notifications turned on for their emails, so they’ll be alerted when they have an email from you; by comparison,

Social media alerts are not always popular, are less reliable and won’t necessarily alert people when you have posted.


Return on investment (ROI) is the ratio between net income and investment, and can be used to monitor the efficiency of an investment.

Email marketing has a ROI of 4400%, meaning roughly every $1 spent results in $44. This shows how effective email marketing is for boosting sales!


Email marketing can be done through automation, such as a welcome email sequence or regular emails offering promotions. Once scheduled, you don’t need to worry about manually emailing your subscribers; you can sit back and let your email service provider do it for you, hassle free! It also means subscribers are automatically engaged from the moment they commit to you, so you can immediately introduce them to your community. Check out our blog post on email workflow for how to get the most out of email automation.


You can use your current subscribers to help grow your network by creating a referral programme. For example, you could send a discount code straight to your subscribers as an incentive to encourage your current subs to share the love! Not only is this giving your subscribers an authentic reward for supporting you, it is a unique opportunity to build a stronger community – check out our blog post all about networking here. It is also likely that your current subscribers (who know and love you) will refer you to the people they know will also have an interest in you, so your community is not only growing, but is expanding to include people who are genuinely interested before they’ve even signed up! Overall, this contributes to an organic audience.


They’ve bought a product or subscribed to your service: what now? You can retain their attention by reminding them of what else they can take advantage of as a customer via frequent emails straight into their inbox. Show them the new things you have introduced since they checked out your website, or revitalise oldie but goldie products they might not have seen yet.

It’s also important to find the right balance between promotional emails and sending emails that share something valuable to your audience. Share your knowledge and skills, talk about your products and the history of the brand through nurturing email sequences so that your subscribers do not feel they are constantly receiving sales emails, but your emails are instead a place where they can get to know your brand better.


Consider this: 44% of users check their email for a deal from a company they know, whereas only 4% will go to Facebook. This shows that having an effective email marketing strategy is worth your time, and that your subscribers can become your consumers. In combination with all the above, this stat shows that having a solid email system offers your audience a space where they know they can find the answers to their questions, and they’re more likely to come back and use your service/buy your products again.


We’ve looked at email marketing, but what about the benefits of using social media?


With 3.2 billion people across the world using social media, marketing on your social media channels offers the opportunity to reach a huge audience. When you send out an email, your content is solely available to the people who subscribe to your email list or newsletter. With social media, you are given the potential to promote your brand to everyone who has an account on that particular platform. This is a great opportunity to connect and branch out to make your community inclusive of a potentially large demographic.


Consistent posting on your social media channels offers your audience the chance to get to know your brand. You can build a connection with your audience and showcase everything you have to offer through sharing updates on your products/services on a daily basis, with the aim of bringing traffic to your site.


The comment, direct message and sharing features across social media platforms means you can directly engage with interested individuals. Replying to comments and messages will allow you to build a strong rapport with your audience and obtain the key insights you need to ensure you’re providing the best service for all. Also, having a social media presence means your audience has the opportunity to ask questions about your brand, and you can publish answers in response both privately (via message) and publicly (keeping them in a story highlight is always handy for new customers).

Overall, the channel of communication between you and your audience is strong on social media. However, it’s worth noting that running a social media platform smoothly and consistently requires a dedicated staff member(s) to manage your account. This makes it more of a high maintenance job than it does to develop and maintain email marketing.


Having a social media presence gives you an opportunity to relate to your audience and show them that you are a human behind a brand, not a corporate robot in a suit who is detached from reality and remains largely invisible to their consumers. Finding common ground by connecting with your audience on the platforms they use on a daily basis will boost their engagement with you.


Waiting for new people to find your website is not as productive as finding new people yourself. Social media allows you to do this – you can showcase your brand to the people who may not even realise they’re interested, but after seeing your socials will definitely be sure to check you out!

It’s free!

Setting up a social media account (excluding the option of investing in paid advertisements) is free. This means it’s a totally accessible way to connect with your target audience.

However, as we mentioned before, organic social media (free social media) unfortunately only allows you to reach a small part of the audience. If you want to reach a wider audience, you’ll have to invest in a paid social media – these can be quite competitive, especially during holiday periods such as Christmas, Valentines, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


It is clear that email marketing and social media marketing have their individual positives, and you can achieve a lot from using both. But how do we choose between the two when publishing our content? Is email marketing more effective than social media marketing, or does social media have the advantage?

The answer to this question is unique to your brand, and depends on what you are promoting, what you want to achieve through the promotion and who your target audience is.

Ask yourself the following questions…


Do you get more website clicks from your weekly newsletter or Facebook posts? Do people use the question function on your website more than they DM you on Instagram? Use analytic tools to monitor how organic your engagement is across your channels. This will help you define which platform works best for you and your target audience depending on what you want to share with them.


Imagine you’re promoting a discount on a specific product. Promoting this on your social accounts will mean everyone who has any interest in you (i.e. the people who follow you) has access to this discount. But remember, a follower does not necessarily equate to a loyal consumer in the long term.

On the other hand, promoting this via an email to your loyal subscribers will have more of a special, personal effect as you’re offering them a unique opportunity they have sort of earned by being a loyal subscriber to your email list. Figuring out what you want to achieve through this discount will give you the answer to where you want to promote it.


If you’re looking to attract a specific type of individual towards a specific product or service, emailing them directly might be a more productive option when promoting it, as you are likely to have a stronger understanding of their purchase history with you.

If you want a larger number to see what you are promoting – for example, a product launch – it will require paid social media.


A final thing to remember is that marketing on social media and marketing on email are not necessarily ‘rival’ concepts. You don’t have to make the exclusive choice between emails or social media, and your marketing strategy will most likely benefit from striking a balance between the two. The question doesn’t have to be ‘why email marketing over social media’, but ‘how can I use the two to my advantage.’

What is your preferred marketing strategy? Are you an advocate for email marketing, or a die-hard tweeter? Let us know your thoughts over on our social media: @WeAreCandescent.

Image Credits: © Dollar Gill / © Georgia de Lotz

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email