Which Is Better: SEO or Email?

Developing a digital marketing strategy can be a confusing undertaking. When you first start considering your options for reaching your customers, you see that there is a lot of data supporting different kinds of marketing efforts. Email is the best way to grow your brand, cry so many statistics. But SEO is the best way to get your website in front of buying customers, cry others.

When you’re deciding how to invest your marketing budget, you might come across this kind of “one or the other” thinking, especially in regards to SEO and email marketing. Today, we’ve got your answer.

The Answer Is Both

As frustrating an answer as it might be, the best approach is a mix of both of these marketing tactics (as well as others, like social media marketing and content marketing).

Sales happen as a result of high-touch, high-relevance marketing that helps your customers understand how you meet their needs. Balancing your approach to marketing based on your unique customer mix is more important than any data you could source.

Here’s what this might look like for your business:

For some industries, SEO brings a better ROI based on customer behavior. If your customers rely on search to research solutions to their problems, then investing in your website’s SEO should be a higher portion of your budget than email marketing.

For other companies, especially those that rely on discounts, word-of-mouth marketing, and personal referrals, email runs the show. Reaching customers who have opted into your content in their inbox will be more valuable than any ranking SEO could bring you.

If You Have to Choose, Analyze Your Customer Base

In a fictional world in which you truly had to choose (like the Inbound.org question, “Would you rather be banned from Google or have zero email deliverability?”), the answer would be different for every business.

Does this mean you should analyze your data and pick one kind of marketing to focus on? Definitely not. You should never rely on just one source of lead generation because technology and marketing are always changing. You don’t want to be stuck in one marketing method as it plunges down in value during a natural fluctuation. Instead, make budget decisions based on the data and monitor your marketing portfolio so that you can shift it according to the needs of your customers over time.

Hopefully, no business will ever be in a position to have to choose between these two marketing methods. But this question points us to an important concept that all companies need to consider: You don’t need to ask, “SEO or Email?” so much as you need to ask “What method of outreach is driving the most business?,” and “What other methods can support that outreach to maximize our marketing ROI?”

The answer to those questions will help you develop a marketing portfolio mix that is customized to your specific customers and therefore as effective as possible.

Does your business rely on email marketing or SEO or a mix of both? How did you determine that mix?

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