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Email Marketing vs. Social Media: Which is Better for Your Brand?

When deciding where to focus their marketing efforts, many companies need guidance on splitting resources between email marketing and social media. Social media fans think email marketing is dead (even though statistics show email is alive and well). Email fans think social isn’t relevant to their business or customer base.

Neither is true. Email marketing and social media each have a unique set of strengths. A strong marketing strategy uses these two channels to boost each other up.

How can your strategy benefit from joining email and social? The Philadelphia email marketing and social media experts at Forge Apollo are breaking down the benefits of each tactic and how they can benefit each other. 

Is Email Social Media?

Let’s start with the basics. Email and social media are two different channels. Email aims to share information and nurture relationships with contacts who willingly share their email addresses with you. This may be current customers or contacts who have found your content valuable. Social media is shared content on publicly available platforms that can attract new audiences and define your brand.

Strengths of Email Marketing

The greatest strength of an email marketing strategy is communicating with people who actively engage with your brand. They’re either current customers or contacts who shared their email addresses in exchange for something of value. That makes it easier to nurture them towards a sale with regular email campaigns.

Avoid the temptation of cold email campaigns, in which you email a list of contacts who haven’t willingly provided their information. These campaigns lead to low interaction that can hurt your domain’s reputation (more on that later).

If you’re emailing contacts who’ve shared their information with your brand, email marketing is a fantastic tool for nurturing relationships.


If you build an email list that wants to hear from you, you’re much more likely to show up in their email inbox than in their social media feed (even if they follow you). 

Email deliverability may throw a couple of your messages into spam. How your recipients interact with your emails informs your domain’s reputation in the eyes of email service providers. If your domain is new or your reputation is low, service providers may direct some of your messages to spam to see if recipients “save” them.

But, unlike social media, there’s no algorithm controlling the content. Delivered emails are more likely to get opens and conversions than social media posts.

For example, the average organic reach of a Facebook post is only 6.4% of the page’s followers. The average email open rate is 22.86%. That’s a much higher percentage of your audience seeing your message.

If building an engaged email list seems daunting, the Philadelphia email marketing experts at Forge Apollo are here to help.

Conversions and ROI

Your email list’s pre-existing relationship with your brand puts them further in your sales funnel. That means email marketing typically gets more engagement and conversions than social media.

As we mentioned before, the average email open rate is 22.86%. The overall engagement rate for social media is only 0.58%. Plus, the average email click-through rate is 3.71%.

That higher conversion rate gives email marketing a higher ROI, too. Litmus reports that email marketing has a 3600% ROI–$36 for every $1 spent. One email campaign Forge Apollo launched for a client brought in over $100,000 in the first six days. Watch the video below to learn more about that campaign.

Strengths of Social Media Marketing

59% of the world uses social media, and they check it for an average of two and a half hours daily. Social media is the perfect place to develop a brand with your story and personality. 

Establishing a Brand

People expect brands to have a social media strategy in the modern age. Social media provides a more casual platform to share your story and values.

For buyers in the beginning or middle of your funnel, social is a great place to showcase what makes your brand stand out.

Plus, as a more casual channel, there’s more opportunity to create fun, memorable posts they’ll share or remember throughout the day.

Attracting New Audiences

Speaking of fun posts, social media has a higher chance of virality. Unless an email is high value, your contacts are unlikely to spread it to their contacts.

However, social media posts are not constrained to your contacts list. They’re easier to share and have the opportunity for algorithms to spread to new audiences. That makes it easier for new people to find your brand.

One video Forge Apollo made for social media, for example, got over 22 million social views and 360,500+ comments, shares, and likes.

Start planning your social media content with our free social media content calendar.

Benefits of an Integrated Strategy

The question of email marketing vs. social media shouldn’t be a question at all. Both are stronger when a brand uses them together. Here are a few benefits of an integrated strategy.

Move Contacts Along the Buyer’s Journey

An email marketing or social media strategy alone is unlikely to move a buyer from awareness to decision alone. These two work together well because they hit different points on the buyer’s journey.

Use social media posts to reach contacts in the awareness and consideration stages. Then emails can move them from consideration to decision. If you find contacts stuck in one area, bolster their journey with extra social or email content.

Encourage Email List Signups on Social

Growing an email list with contacts that want to hear from you can be challenging. Social accounts are great for sharing valuable content and encouraging people to sign up for your email lists for more.

For example, use social posts to share content offers from your website. Content offers are a great way to capture emails, and social posts provide the perfect opportunity to amplify their reach.

Promote Social Accounts in Emails

Alternatively, promote social accounts in your emails to give contacts another way to connect with your brand. This offers the opportunity for more immediate updates and brand development.

Bonus: Enhance Paid Social Media Marketing

An email list is a great way to enhance a paid social media strategy, too. Use email addresses to create lookalike audiences of people similar to your current customers. That way, you can target an audience most likely to convert.

Strategic Planning and Content Creation by the Experts

Email marketing and social media have several unique benefits. Email helps to convert contacts farther along in the funnel, while social media engages higher funnel contacts with fun content. Although some may pit them against each other, their ultimately more successful when used together. Contact our Philadelphia digital marketing experts at Forge Apollo to create an integrated email and social media strategy for your business.

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