last Updated 10 June 2024

Email vs. Social Media Marketing – Which is more effective?


Have you ever read one of those emails or articles from a so-called guru or entrepreneur who tells you that the secret of their success is getting up at 5:30am and doing a one-hour workout, followed by a 30-minute meditation, before sitting down to read an improving book and sip on a kale and quinoa smoothie?

Nauseating, isn’t it? (And I don’t just mean the smoothie).

It’s also far removed from most people’s reality.

The truth is that the first thing most people do when they wake up in the morning is to reach for their mobile phone.

And what do they do then? Do they look at social media whilst putting off the moment when they have to emerge from under the duvet?

Well, apparently not.

According to a recent survey, 58% of internet users check their email first thing in the morning, before looking at Facebook, checking the weather, or searching for something on Google.

This is one of the reasons why, as I mentioned yesterday, an email marketing campaign is more powerful than social media.

Here are some of the other reasons why, despite the fact it’s the granddaddy of the internet, email trumps social media when it comes to marketing your business.

Benefits of email marketing

1. Higher click-through rates

The average click-through rate (CTR) on a Facebook post is just 0.07%. So to get just one single person to click on your post and visit your website, you’d have to first get that post in front of over 1,400 people.

But when it comes to links in emails, the average CTR is around 2.5% - so you can expect that every 40 emails you send will result in a click. And remember, that’s an average. Personally, I regularly get much higher CTRs on my emails than that.

Struggling to make an impact with your email marketing? The PPC Machine is here to help. Contact us for expert advice and bespoke strategies.

2. Greater engagement

Most people are on social media to keep up with what their friends are up to, rather than to read posts or ads from businesses like yours or mine.

Conversely, the people on your email list have proactively opted in to receive your content and have given you their email address and explicit permission for you to contact them. That’s a much higher level of commitment.

This, in turn, translates into greater engagement.

For example, if I run ads on Facebook or LinkedIn inviting people to attend one of my free webinars, I’m likely to get a reasonable number of registrations but only a small percentage of those people will actually show up to the webinar.

But when I send an email to my list inviting them to the same webinar, I get more registrations AND nearly everyone who registers will make the effort to attend the event.

What would it mean for your financial services business if you had a list of several thousand people who were highly likely to respond when you invited them to do something like book a review meeting with you?

3. People check email more often than social media

A survey in 2015 found that 89% of email users check their inbox at least once a day and nearly 21% check their email more than 5 times a day. And, of course, when they do this they tend to look at every email, whereas when they check social media they are likely to skim past a lot of the content in their newsfeed.

By contrast, only 74% of Facebook users and 60% of Instagram users visit those sites on a daily basis.

Even the social networks themselves realise that email is the way to get noticed. That’s why they ask you for your email address when you sign up to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc and why they send emails like this to let you know when something happens on the platform that they think you ought to know about.

Okay, I think it’s clear which side of the battle I’m on. But to be fair, let’s take a look at the benefits of social media marketing too.

Benefits of social media marketing

- Engage directly with customers

Engaging directly with customers on social media might initially feel like shouting into the void, particularly as most users prioritise personal over business interactions. Yet, it does offer a unique opportunity to humanise your financial services firm. It allows for real-time, relaxed, and conversational interactions that break down formal barriers, presenting your firm as more approachable and relatable.

Social media can also be very insightful, where comments and engagements reveal candid thoughts of clients and potential clients — often more honest than feedback received via email.

And rather than just broadcasting messages, social media enables the creation of a community where clients can engage with your firm and each other, fostering a deeper sense of belonging and loyalty. This approach shifts the dynamic from a traditional business-client relationship to a more engaging and communal experience.

- A good way to reach new audiences; you can cast a wide net

According to a recent study, more than half of the world now has at least one social media account (60%).

Social media marketing is like casting a wide net into the vast ocean of potential clients, reaching beyond the familiar waters of your email list. It's a chance to connect with those who might not even realise they need your financial services yet.

And each social media channel is a different fishing ground, teeming with diverse demographics. Take LinkedIn, for example; it's a bustling hub for professionals, many of whom could benefit from financial advice but aren't actively seeking it.

X, on the other hand, is excellent for sharing timely information, quick tips, and updates. It’s also a good place for engaging in conversations with industry influencers and staying on top of current trends and news.

- Allows you to target your ideal audience/customer

While email marketing is renowned for its precision in targeted communication, social media advertising elevates this concept to an entirely new stratum. These platforms offer a suite of sophisticated targeting options, enabling you to hone in on your ideal audience with the accuracy of a laser.

Imagine being able to display your ads to users based on their specific financial interests, job titles, or even significant life events such as buying a home or planning for retirement. The level of customisation is staggering.

But it doesn't stop there. Social media also provides insights into user behaviour, offering a goldmine of information that can transform the way you market financial services. This behavioural targeting isn't just about reaching the right people; it's about understanding their online habits and catering to them accordingly.

Then there's the power of remarketing, a technique as effective as it is subtle. Ever noticed how a product you once clicked on mysteriously appears in your social feed? This marketing strategy ensures your financial services remain at the forefront of potential clients' minds.

Right, there you have it. There are indeed some unique benefits to both social media and email marketing. Email marketing, with its direct and personalised approach, complements social media's broad reach. Now, let's shift our focus to how these two powerful tools can be harmoniously integrated.

How email and social media marketing can work together

- Build your email list using social media

Social media is a fertile ground for growing your email list. By engaging with your audience through valuable content, interactive polls, and enticing lead magnets like free webinars or eBooks, you can encourage your social media followers to sign up for your email list.

This approach not only expands your email database but also connects you with an audience already interested in your content, increasing the likelihood of higher engagement rates in your email marketing campaigns.

- Promote your social channels via email

Conversely, don’t miss the opportunity to use your email campaigns to boost your social media presence. In your email content, invite subscribers to follow your social media profiles for real-time updates, additional insights, or exclusive content.

This not only increases your social media following but also creates a more integrated experience for your audience, allowing them to interact with your brand on multiple platforms.

- Import your email list into Facebook Ads

This enables you to create custom audiences, tailoring your Facebook ads to target your existing contacts who are already familiar with your brand. You can also use this data to create 'lookalike' audiences, reaching new potential clients who share similar characteristics with your current email subscribers.

- Repurpose Email Content for Social Media Engagement

This involves repurposing content, insights, or stories from your emails into social media posts. For instance, if you have a particularly well-received email newsletter, you can share highlights or key takeaways from it on your social media platforms, perhaps with a link back to the full email content hosted on your website.

This strategy not only increases the lifespan and reach of your email content but also provides your social media audience with valuable and engaging material. 

Coordinated Campaigns Across Email and Social Media

For example, you could launch a new service or product with a teaser on social media, followed by an in-depth email that provides more details or exclusive content.

Additionally, you can use social media to generate excitement or buzz about an upcoming email-exclusive offer or event, encouraging your social media followers to subscribe to your email list to take part. This not only builds anticipation but ensures that all your marketing channels are working together, each amplifying the impact of the other.


So, there you have it: the insider's guide to the email vs. social media marketing showdown. It turns out it's not really a battle after all. Instead, think of them as a dynamic duo, each with their superpowers.

Email is your trusty sidekick, delivering your message straight to inboxes with a personal touch. Social media is the social butterfly, fluttering around, spreading your word to new corners you never knew existed.

In the world of financial services, where trust is everything, this blend is like a firm handshake followed by an engaging conversation. You're not just selling services; you're building relationships. And in this digital age, that's the golden ticket.

So, as you step forward with your marketing cap on, remember it's not necessarily about choosing between email and social media. It's about using them together to make your message heard loud and clear. Here's to marketing that feels less like a strategy and more like a conversation with an old friend. Happy marketing!

If you're looking to improve your online presence, curious about what's stopping your website from generating leads, or wondering if The PPC Machine can help your business grow, let's get those answers together.

Book a free 15-minute call with David and start exploring the potential for your business. This is your chance to ask questions, gain insights, and see how tailored digital marketing strategies can make a difference. Don't miss out on this opportunity - schedule your call with David today and take the first step towards enhancing your digital marketing strategy.

About the author 

David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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