Social Media Marketing Vs. Email Marketing

I’ve received an invitation to attend a panel discussion on social media marketing vs. email marketing. The discussion would be pit the the social media marketing experts against the email marketers to find out which is best.

The answer to me is pretty clear. While social media marketing has made huge inroads and received tons of press in the past year, it’s still no match for good old fashion email marketing. My numbers don’t lie. This blog’s biggest income earner is its email list.

I think the panel is going about this the wrong way. This isn’t an us vs them kind of thing. There’s no rule that say you have to be a social media marketer or an email marketer. Why not do both? Social media and email marketing works great together. To do only one would be like depending on Google for all your income. That’s not the smartest thing to do.

Most new bloggers are using social media marketing to help build their blogs, and that’s great. However, they’re really missing the boat if they don’t have a mailing list. A lot of this have to do with cost. Social media is pretty much free. Email marketing requires a service like Aweber, which cost $19 a month (there is a $1 trial). For many, this creates a mental barrier of entry.

I say mental because people think it’s costing them money. The truth of the matter is, it’s costing them more money by not having a mailing list. If you’re making money off social media, you’ll be making far more if you combined social media with email marketing.


55 thoughts on “Social Media Marketing Vs. Email Marketing”

  1. I totally agree John.

    Social Media Marketing is sexy and the in-thing at the moment. It’s popular in the main stream and thus gets a lot of attention.

    I think an email list is so much more of an asset though than social media, and if I had to choose between having friends on a social media site, or an email list, I’d take the email list.

    Good post, and I look forward to hearing how the event goes and what the panel decides.

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Social media is probably better at driving traffic to your website which in turn builds up your email list and that is where you can sell more of your stuff.

      1. The thing is they both have such great strengths that it is hard to decide which is more valuable. Email can definitely produce solid and predictable income, but Social can have a future income that far outweighs your emails ability. The best thing to do like Ben said is to use them in tandem, social to build emails, emails to pimp social.
        The spice must flow.

    2. I’d take the email list far and away. When someone “follows” or “friends” or whatevers someone, most times they just want to get their numbers up. But when someone signs on for a newsletter, they’re more than likely going to actually read what you’re writing. Much more effective for sales, I would think.

  2. Rob says:

    I agree John, why not do both. Email marketing is a proven way to make money. Social Media is a great thing and I use it just as others do however it is time consuming, I feel it is generally not well targeted (yes on Twitter people might follow me because they are interested in the content I have on there) but are they really going to buy my products or services? In addition email marketing requires them to opt-in and then confirm. Thank you, I know they are interested. I will focus my energies into that direction.

    1. Yah, it is will be better if we can collaborate both. It surely give optimum result to us.

      1. Ben Pei says:

        You are right.. They compliment each other!

  3. Benjamin Cip says:

    I have no doubts about it John. You make people subscribe to your list in exchange of free report, and email people and once all the people in your list click on your blog link from the email. You get about 50,000 unique visitors in one day (depending on the amount of subscribers you have)

  4. While I agree that email marketing may be effective in some markets, in others, information is king. The RSS feed is all I need for most of the information and/or business resources because I’m subscribed to the right feeds.

    The benefit of social media is that in my generation, the 20s-30’s, we are very selective. I don’t do kindly with unsolicited email in my account, regardless of an established relationship with the originating party. Typically, the only result of email is that I feel like the relationship is damaged. And I’m not the only one!

    We’re a generation of voyeurs, and the wonderous thing about mediums like Twitter and Facebook is that it gives us an eye in to the lives of those we are interested in. In most cases if any one of those people sent us an email with a link to some business they were involved in, it would have a very Amway type feel.

    Now I agree this is NOT always true. Proper market research and targeted ad campaigns can be powerful by providing the right resources and products to consumers and businesses. I’ve found this to be the case even in this case, I followed the link through to Aweber. However, like Seth Godin posted recently, the mistake most marketers make is thinking that a bestseller applies to different categories. Anyway, enough of my rambling, and for the record, I think Aweber is a great resource which I may use – and if so, I’ll follow your link-through. 😀

  5. This reminds me of the featured article I read when I first came to this site. Social media might have tremendous reach, but it doesn’t always have people who are known to take action.

    As you have mentioned before, people who sign up for e-mail lists are people who are more inclined to take action. People who have bought from you before are even more likely to take action.

    1. it may social media as open step, and email as close step. If both work well, we surely have a big earn.

      1. Benjamin Cip says:

        In my opinion social media are great when you just start out as a blogger, while email marketing become more effective once you’ve build both a long list and a good reputation as an internet marketer.

        1. Sahil Kotak says:

          Yes, t is not easy to make a big list of E-mail Marketing fast. So in starting period of you blog Social Marketing will be good.

        2. Ben Pei says:

          Well said and bulls eye on the pointers!

      2. That’s a great point. Social Media is definitely better for generating traffic, but e-mail owns for sales.

  6. Sahil Kotak says:

    Yes, John there is only one thing that rules is E-Mail Marketing. You can make a good amount of money if you have a long list of subscribers. And you only know that because you do have a big one.

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      Well, let’s that say it’s good to use social media when you don’t have traffic, and then offer a report to your visitors in exchange of their subscription in order to create a big list.

      1. Sahil Kotak says:

        Yes, I do agree with you in this. 🙂

      2. Giving something back to the reader seems to be the key to getting subscribers.

  7. Adam M. says:

    I love social media marketing to help my site get indexed and an initial jolt of traffic. But I haven’t found it to be very useful for selling or converting.

    I guess I haven’t found the right amount of advertising or niche yet.

  8. Glen Andrews says:

    I agree with you John. I make far more money off my list than I do off social media.

    There is NO right way to market your business. Find and exploit every opportunity available. The business that prospers is a business that has several funnels working to attract clients simultaneously.

    I’m a late comer into social media but better late than never. It doesn’t matter what type of business that you own (online or offline.) The money is, and always will be in the list.

  9. Makes totaly sense that email still rules but for folks starting out, their lists are so short that the marketing focus probably needs to be where they can get the biggest reach. Social media marketing gives them that outlet.

    So even if we were to pit one against the other, maturity of the site could have a lot to do with where the efforts are placed.

    1. E-mail isn’t going to rule much longer. Google Wave is going to totally change the blogging world i bet. I’m really excited to see what happens when there is a full release on the product!

  10. I am new in email marketing. I have started with your article series and have to say this series was awesome. I have double upped my earnings in under 10 days. I think email marketing is a very effective way if you d it right.

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Wow doubled your earnings? Thats good news.. congrats!

  11. Regarding “mental barrier in buying” John is right, but some people don’t understand that at the point when they buy something they have to think about ROI.
    If you buy Aweber for $19 and do nothing it’s not investment, it’s spending, may be wasting money.
    Think of it differently. Think like – I have to do whatever it takes in order to return my $19. The next step, think of how you can make money from this investment. John is right and he pointed out this in his e-book, probably everyone here have read – sooner or later you will NEED e-mail system in order to make money, but it could be cost you much more than $19 today.
    The same thing with advertising. Money is a sand. When you squeeze it it will flow away.

  12. Yeah, there’s so many false dichotomies out there that people buy into. This is just one more of them.

  13. I am surely want to be experts in both of social media marketing and email marketing. It will make bigger earn.

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      Of course, if you combine both social media marketing and email marketing it’s great. It’s neat to take advantage of both.

      1. EarningStep says:

        my predict is social media / social networking will be the best at the future.. but now.. both of them are equal

    2. Sahil Kotak says:

      Yeah by combining both we can earn in good amount.

  14. I think this is just a debate for debating sake. Like say Sony HDTV vs Sony PS3….you can buy and enjoy both. One is complimenting another and there’s no point debating them…

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

  15. Ronblogger says:

    Social Media Marketing can be a big help when you’re starting on your blog,but Email marketing is for repeated traffic and boosting your affiliate sales

    1. Good point Ron. Three thumbs up!

  16. gaban says:

    i think the reason people prefer to choose social media is more often email marketing going to spam and it means giving us uncertainty
    second, i think social more trustworthy than email

    1. Darren says:

      Can’t one avoid being considered “spam” by going for a complete opt in policy? This creates a much more trustworthy email system whereas with social media you have to physically filter through the chaff to get the wheat. Once you’ve signed up to a trusted email newsletter, you’re getting information you have already filtered to for content you want.

  17. Blogging says:

    I think you made a good point when you wrote: “Why not do both” But I also think which one works better depends on the kind of blog you have and the kind of readers you attract. I have blogs that attract nearly exclusively search engine traffic and are monetized with Adsense, they do very well without social media 😉 SY

  18. Money-Era says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t it a big difference in that e-mail marketing is targeted at people who signed up for the service while social media marketing aims at getting new users?

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Some what true.. But yeah I would see both as a different function

  19. Hey John!
    I think it’s couple of things the answer of this question xould be based on:
    1. Your individual choice
    2. Willingness to try other means of monetization
    3. Willingness to change as per the media
    If the rest f answers are good enough, you can choose the best option for you.

  20. oes tsetnoc says:

    Email marking always better and fast way to get visitors but the problem is that the hosting does not allow such kind of spamming 🙁

    1. Darren says:

      That’s why there are services like Aberwer and Mail Chimp. Both allow for email marketing to be sent to groups/in bulk without the worry of being considered spam.

  21. fas says:

    Both are equally good and important, you cant do without each other.

  22. I use a mailing list but it is a free one from yahoogroups. It works just fine although there is a possibility of members click other ads rather than links to my posts.

  23. EarningStep says:

    no doubt … aweber is worth to try if people want to focus on email marketing .. the question is how to monetize it ..

  24. For baby sites, it is always wise to focus on traditional methods of marketing on forums and blogs. You can acquire emails from there. I have tried both Facebook and Twitter. It seems has FB has produced nothing but Twitter is hard to monetize from.

  25. Statistics do not lie, and we all know the money is in the mailing list. Social media and email marketing should be seen as synergestic things, not antogonists. paying attention to both aspects is key to long term sustainability.

  26. Yeah, good point about the email marketing. It looks like it really worth trying.

  27. Irfan says:

    I’d better use Social media marketing than email marketing, because people usually use social media rather than email…

  28. Ben Pei says:

    Yeah the money is in the list isn’t it!

  29. Hey John,

    I also feel that there is no match for the traditional approach of email list. E-mail list efficient and it allows the people have a share in your blog through the free ebook or any other free stuff.

    However on the other hand, social media is something that is a part of the trend, if something much better than social media comes tomorrow you have to modify your business model than.

    1. EarningStep says:

      you right social media / networking is trend now… but email list is still one of the most powerful source to make money online… i got this from john

  30. Yep. There are way to many bogus confrontations in the world. So why pit one marketing technique against another. They all have a place in the marketing mix, with each one reaching a different segment of your audience and serving a different function and purpose.

  31. JoshuaElliot says:

    I agree, using both compliment each other, and thus making you more money.

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