As soon as I see versus used in the title of an article in marketing, I get a little bit queasy. This infographic below from Devesh Design does a great job of putting into perspective the need for customers to utilize email for their company. I have no doubt as to the power of email and it's ability as a push marketing technology to motivate subscribers to take action. It works… and everyone should be doing it.
However, the comparison of email and social is apples to oranges. Social media has so many more benefits other than clicking on an ad and converting. Social media is awesome at getting your message heard. So let's use the example in the infographic below. You send an email out to 1,000 of your subscribers and it results in 202 people opening that email and 33 of them clicking on it.
Now let's share that post on social media where you have 1,000 followers on both Twitter and Facebook. According to the chart, maybe 10 people actually saw it and 3 clicked it. That sounds absolutely horrible doesn't it?
No, it's not horrible. Here's why. The content that you promoted via social was shared by a few of those people. Those few people have over 20,000 followers. And their followers reach over 100,000 followers. And their followers reach millions. No one opened your email more than once and it's rare that anyone actually forwarded the email to a friend. But the wave of social activity continued for months.
We have posts on Martech Zone that are still getting thousands of views and hundreds of clicks years after we wrote them thanks to social media. Not to mention that those social shares led to other people writing articles and referencing us, which led to increased search engine rankings, which led to higher organic search traffic, which led to more clicks and conversions.
It's a great infographic that supports the incredible power of email. But discounting social media is a huge mistake for any organization. And we're not even talking about the impact beyond a click and conversion. Social offers the opportunity to build authority in the public eye, to achieve amazing publicity through great acts of customer service, and a real-time virality that email totally misses the boat on.