Today, marketers have more choice when it comes to communicating with customers. Right now, the ongoing debate seems to be whether email marketing or social media is the better channel and which one provides a greater return on investment.
In most cases, the choice to use either email marketing or social media depends on the industry that you work in and where the customer/client is on their purchasing journey. The best way to determine which channels will work best for your business is to weigh the pros and cons of each.
Social media usage has exploded over the last 10 years. People like to go online and see brands that are active on social media so they can interact with them. It lets them feel like they are being heard and that they can get real time responses. It encourage active participation with a brand and helps to build stronger brand loyalty when compared to email marketing.
However, one of the big bonuses of using email marketing is that you can do more with less. Even if you only have 100 subscribers, you can still generate leads. As long as you continue to produce relevant, strong content for each email, people will listen to you.
In the end, it will always come back to what your objectives are. Do you want customers to actively engage with you, take part in conversations, produce advocates or connect with a community? Or do you want to gain permissions, subscriptions, build customer anticipation or increase clicks-to-conversions? The goal should always be to drive business outcome so you need to ask yourself what it is you are trying to achieve with each marketing channel.
Of course there is nothing stopping you from using both channels. In fact, it is good practise to create a strategy that incorporates both so that you can meet customer needs wherever they are. Many marketers believe that the channel of the future will be a hybrid of the two, fusing social media and email together. You can already see this with technology that allows for social feeds inside emails and the use of email via mobiles. We are now in a position where we can bring both channels together for the best return on investment and this represents the marketing of the future.