email-marketing-vs-social-mediaA lot of marketers are putting all their eggs into one of the two big marketing baskets when it comes to Small Business marketing. I keep hearing and reading a lot about how one is beating the other and some use of stats that really don’t mean much. Well here’s my take to the ever-growing battle.

The verdict: It’s not one or the other! It’s both and here’s why.

Both are free!

Let’s rephrase that. Both can be free and in most cases free to get started and learn the ropes. While you can go ahead and create a free social profile for facebook, twitter, and other social networks, most email marketing companies are offering free email marketing as well.

Free is a peculiar word because even though both can be free, you still have to do invest a lot of time and other resources into making the best out of email marketing or social media. Both can be utilized for free and for you to be successful, you’ll need to put a lot of effort into your marketing. The previous statement shouldn’t scare you but rather encourage you.

They are complementary!

Both Email marketing and social media help you reach your customers. Both do it in a very similar way. Both have their benefits (see below) but most importantly they should be used in tandem. If you are using email marketing, you should be syndicating the same content to social media and vice versa. It’s important for you to be uniform, meaning that your marketing campaigns that you do via online marketing should all be consistent.

So if you decide to use one, you should do both. There is no harm and if you can be successful doing one thing, you can certainly be successful doing two and reaping the benefits of both.

Both accomplish different objectives.

Email Marketing is great for accomplishing certain business and marketing objectives. Same goes for Social Media. With email marketing, you have the ability to reach customers directly. Think about it, an email marketing campaign will be seen, whether it’s opened or not requiring an action of the consumer (open, click, or just delete). Either way, the consumer is interacting with you.

Social Media is a bit different. You play by the consumers rule and you are competing with leisure time and the social newsfeed. Now this might not be a bad thing as it is perfect for some objectives. Here’s an example: If you want to run a contest for your small business and you want people to share, Social media has one component that is very hard to replicate via email: the viral component. Social Media can help you reach the right customers for free and within hours (if not sooner), you can have hundreds if not thousands of customers learning about your business/website.

In the end, you should make your own decision. The biggest objection small business owners will have, when it comes to choosing one or the other, is how much resources (time and money) will they have to invest to see some results. That’s a whole different matter that we can discuss next time.