Social Media vs. Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is often the biggest asked question of whether social media or email marketing is better for small businesses. Both are very active marketing formats and both have their advantages, yet neither is the perfect solution alone.

Let’s explore both concepts and make a determination on how each one should be used in the online marketing of your products and services.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing has been one of the hottest new marketing methods which online marketing professionals have been utilising for a while now.

Social media has a great potential for gaining awareness of a brand. In fact a number of studies have shown that consumers enjoy and actively seek out information about new brands through Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Some consumers have even stated that they would not buy from a company that had no social media footprint at all.

However, social media alone cannot be relied upon. A study in 2012, found that of 77,000 online purchases, less than 1% could be contributed to social media marketing.

The fact is that even though people are looking for you on social media, they are looking for information, content and engagement. They are not looking for sale links or speeches. Therefore small businesses should be cautious in this approach.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a staple of online marketing. In fact the first email sent for marketing purposes was sent in 1978, when Thuerk decided to send an email promoting DEC machines to 400 users of their network. Things have changed significantly since then.

Now email marketing is very common and instead of marketing just products or services, it can take many different forms.

Getting a list of contacts is also harder than it has been in the past. Individuals are likely to change their email address several times and addresses are more unique and customisable. It is also a very different legal landscape than it was before. There are now laws governing what an email should contain and how you can gather the names for your campaigns.

The only way people will join a mailing list is if they sign up to it, which means they must first find your email sign up page.

That being said though, email is not an ineffective method of marketing. According to the same Forrester report mentioned earlier, email marketing generated 13% of sales from those customers who had previously interacted with other forms of marketing; this was the second most popular purchasing path.

Therefore once you have attracted them to your newsletter and sent them an email, there is a good chance they will buy a product or service from you.

Conclusion

It is tough for email marketing as it is a great sales avenue but it cannot auto-generate a list effectively.

On the other hand, social media is not a great sales avenue but is really good for being discovered by consumers.

Therefore, instead of your business questioning which one is best for you, you should consider how you can integrate the two marketing approaches so they can work together. So consider that you attract your audience with your social media campaigns and direct them to methods in which they can sign up to your newsletter.

Once they have signed up to your email list, you can then introduce them slowly to your products and see how you can produce a steady stream of highly engaged consumers who know both your social media and newsletters.

Take Action:

  • Start integrating your social media and email marketing campaigns into a single marketing process.

How do you integrate social media and email marketing? What have your results been?

Let us know in the comments below:

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