Email Marketing vs Social Messaging Marketing

It’s the big discussion online already for some time – e-mail marketing versus social message marketing. But just as video killed the radio star, can social messaging supplant email as the most desirable form of direct marketing? Well it’s certainly a strong contender… let the games begin!


Here I’m talking about effectiveness in regards to the ability of the marketing message to make itself heard and “at least get read.” This is of course the most basic goal of any marketing attempt, and if your message doesn’t get looked at then it hasn’t been at all effective.

Well both forms of marketing here are particularly effective in that they arrive right in our inboxes without us having to “seek them out.” Anyone can be addressed in the comfort of their home in either case, but with text/social messaging marketing they can be addressed right in their pockets. Of course people with smartphones will receive e-mails in their pockets too, but we are far more likely to leave an email for a while and come back to it to answer them in “bulk.”

When you receive an e-mail you generally don’t read this right away. Most of us consider texting to be the more immediate way to reach someone, and as a result we usually assume that e-mails can wait. Then when we do come to read them we’ll do so by glancing down the subject headings and the senders and only then deciding on which e-mails to open fully. With texts we open them right away, usually with no idea what they’re about before we do, and marketing messages are generally quite rare meaning we aren’t on the lookout for them. That’s one point to social message marketing.


When you read a text or dM this is tends to take about three seconds. You don’t even have to open an “app” it just sits there in your notifications or fills up the whole screen in many cases (this is called a push notification). With e-mail meanwhile you tend to wait until later that day and then sort through them and this is a rather lengthy process.

This means that social message marketing is the perfect way to circumvent the problem of short attention spans that marketers face today. At the same time though it also means that with social messaging marketing there’s a whole time-sensitive element to consider – meaning you can choose not just who receives your message, but also precisely when they receive it. That’s another point to social messaging marketing.


Where e-mail comes into its own however is with the amount of detail you can include. E-mails allow you to attach multiple images and use reams of text free of charge. Of course this doesn’t quite go with the speed approach and it will be harder to hold attention spans, but once you have their attention, this is nevertheless a great way to expand on your key points and to provide some more information or even direct links that your customers can use to make purchases.

With social message marketing you can get around the limitations by including a link in your message – most people have smartphones so this will open your website immediately. But better yet is to simply forget which method is “best” and to instead combine both text and email marketing in order to provide a real one-two punch that Mohamed Ali would be proud of.

Or what is even better from a customer perspective: just ask them what they prefer!

About the Author: tonydebree

Tony de Bree worked in Financial Services including in corporate venturing and e-commerce for 26 years and he made the transition from banker to entrepreneur working from home and making money online with his own "online plan b" with digital products as side-hustles in 2000 and as hybrid business owner since 2011. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, he helps corporates, small business owners, startups & scaleups to define and implement the best digital survival strategy and he helps managers and employees to become a successful entrepreneur with a personal digital-right skilling plan.

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