3 Differences Between Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing (and One Important Similarity)

Email marketing and social media marketing can appear fairly similar. Both deliver messages directly to leads who have expressed an interest in a company’s products. Both function online. And both are known to produce handsome rewards when done properly.

But those similarities are fairly superficial. There are actually a number of important differences between social media marketing and email marketing — and one vital point of similarity.

Email Lists Are Easily Segmented
List segmentation is one of the most important ingredients of effective email marketing. It ensures that the right messages meet the right audiences, reduces unsubscribes, raises conversion rates and helps to make sure that your emails are welcomed, read and acted upon.
None of that is really possible with social media where everyone receives the same message, regardless of the nature of their interest.

Email Delivers Only One Kind of Response
Social media is a dialogue. Post a tweet on Twitter or update your status on Facebook, and people will respond. What you intended as a quick advert has become a customer service conversation with dozens. That might be part of doing business but email marketing is much more direct and much easier.
Once you’ve sent your message, the only user response that can force you to take action is a purchase. You can send and forget.

Email Has Numbers
Or rather, you can send, measure and forget because unlike social media marketing, email marketing delivers a pile of figures. Those numbers start with the potentially enormous size of a list — an audience much larger than a typical list of Facebook friends — but it also extends to a huge range of statistics. You’ll be able to see the number of times your email was viewed and clicked, as well as the percentage that didn’t even make it to a reader.
On Facebook and Twitter, you can’t even be sure how many of your contacts saw your message. On Twitter in particular, messages are only seen by followers who happen to be online and looking at their screens at the time you sent your tweet. Once a message has dropped below the timeline, there’s a good chance it’s lost to that reader forever.

An email sits in an inbox and remains visible and available until the subscriber chooses to open and read it.

Those are three important differences between social media marketing and email marketing. Both strategies work, but they work in different ways. There is though one vital similarity.

Both social media marketing and email marketing rely on the relationship between the company and the community. That’s clear on a social media site. But it’s easily forgotten in an email. A reader might not buy after receiving the first message. But if subsequent emails also contain good content and valuable information, the steady drip of expertise builds trusts and prompts future sales. Neither social media marketing nor email marketing can guarantee 100 percent conversion rates but they can both produce increases in conversion rates as you deepen your relationship with your readers.