When you’re a small business, deciding how best to promote yourself can be a tad scary! You have a small budget but what do you do with it and how do you work out if what you choose actually leads to more business? Social media has fast become a key marketing tool for any business, and the stats show that people use social media to form opinions of what to buy, yet it is still email marketing that has the highest return on investment (ROI) So the question actually isn’t “which is right for me?” but actually how can I do both? And how do I do it effectively? The key to this is understanding the pros and cons to each and PLANNING!

Email marketing

In the UK email reaches on average around 80-85% of the people you send it to and an average of 25% will open it. Compare that to Facebook’s 2% reach.

Email marketing can achieve 50-100 times the click-through rates than Facebook and Twitter, provided the email database is up to date, and correct for the companies’ target market, which means emailers will drive more traffic to your website.

Emailers also tend to feel more personal because you know your customers and can write your content to reflect your buyers. This means the receiver is likely to open the emailer expecting a sales pitch, and as such are likely to be in a frame of mind that is open to purchasing. However, people are less open to promotional messages via social media because they are there to look at photos, chat to friends or catch up on gossip!

With email, your subscribers expect to receive offers and educational content. The key is to ensure you send great content and offers so your customers look forward to your emails rather than simply deleting them or hitting the unsubscribe button!

Spam. Your emails could very well land in the spam folder and never get seen, even if that person has opted-in. You need to follow best practice to try and avoid this situation, but even then it’s not always possible. (Not sure about best practice? Click here to email our marketing geek who can provide a few insights in how to help stop your emailers ending up in the spam file) Laws against spamming and “opting in/ opting out” are tight and are getting stricter in 2018, so the last thing you need is to get your domain blacklisted. Make sure you have explicit consent from customers to send them marketing messages. If you don’t, you could be breaking the law.


Social media

Great for communicating with customers and target audiences quickly and for getting offers out to a wider audience instantly (For example great if you run a salon and have had a cancellation) Social media also offers the chance for your followers to share your posts generating a wider reach for your marketing efforts! According to a recent report 57% of content sharing activities occurred via Facebook against only 4% via email marketing. All major social media sites have analytic tools so you can find out how your activities are doing and make tweaks to get the most out of the activities.

Social media is great for branding (getting your logo in front of more people) and finding new potential customers. Emailers can’t do this because they are already customers that are known to you. The law now means people have to have opted in, in order to receive an email from you so you have to have had a relationship with the person prior to emailing them.

Your content might not be seen by your target audience, your timing might be out and they then miss the offer you are promoting. This means that the conversion rates on social media are really low (less then 1%) Obviously these rates will go up if you used the paid advertising available! So the cost of what was a free marketing tool suddenly becomes a little more expensive!


We recommend using email marketing when you’re looking to get more visitors to your site and entice them to get in touch or to buy from you. Use social media to build awareness and engage your audience. For example, why not use social media to entice people to sign up to your email database? At Pixel Beach we offer packages that can help small businesses get the right mix of email and social media marketing.