Email Marketing Specialist vs Social Media Manager – who should you choose?

There’s a long-standing debate raging about whether an email marketing specialist is a wise investment when compared to going the social media marketing route (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.).

Some claim email marketing is dead and social media marketing is (exclusively) the way to go.

But, the truth is out there, and I think it’s time to take a cold, hard look at the facts to establish once and for all where email marketing stands in the digital marketing ecosystem.

After all, it’s your bottom line we’re talking about and you need to know if your marketing spend is being wisely invested for maximum ROI, especially if you’re using an email marketing specialist as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Email Marketing Specialist vs. Social Media Manager

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I was recently drawn (like a magnet) to an article that boasted “E-mail marketing remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined!”

Here are some numbers that begin to add context to the argument:

  • By the end of 2017, there were more than 3.7 billion email users worldwide compared with 1.9 billion in May of 2009.
  • 54% of the planet was using email at that point.
  • It’s projected that the number of email users will continue to grow to 4.1 billion by 2021.
  • We send 196 billion emails daily, of which 109 billion are business emails.

(Source: The Radicati Group)

The take away from these numbers is that the majority of emails are sent by business users and the trend in email users is consistently upwards.

Also, 91% of email users check their email daily, and that’s a significant number.


Well, if we take Facebook as an example, it’s reckoned by Pew Research Center that 68% of US adults are Facebook users and three quarters (75%) access their account daily.

You can immediately see that your message is more likely to be seen, 16% more likely on a daily basis, when delivered by email.

But, that’s not all.

Factor in that a business email is targeted, about a specific topic and normally has a clear call to action.

It just makes sense that your chances of you making the right connection outweigh social media in our Facebook example.

To spam or not to spam…

One of the things I see holding back many businesses who would like to use email outreach (cold email) is that it’s perceived as being unethical or even “spammy”. This is a common misconception, talk to any email marketing specialist who does this for a living.

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Cold email can be defined as sending an email to a potential customer who has no prior relationship with you.

However, think of it this way.

You would be doing potential customers a disservice if you had something that benefitted their business and you omitted to tell them about it.

Wouldn’t you want to know if there was a way to increase your ROI by making simple adjustments to your marketing plan, for example?

I certainly would.

Simply follow the rules

By following the basic rules applicable to your country, there’s no reason you shouldn’t reach out to potential customers who could benefit from what you have to offer.

I’ve prepared an Email Compliance “cheat sheet” that outlines some of the requirements for cold emailing; you can download your copy from my downloads page here:

Email Compliance Cheat Sheet

But let’s be clear, nobody likes to receive emails that are genuinely spammy. Your email should always be personalized, inform or add value and preferably deliver a benefit that’s immediately actionable.

In fact, email personalization is THE key to a successful cold email outreach campaign.

It’s suggested that a personalized email (e.g. use of recipient’s name in subject line, use of company name in body text etc.) can increase the effectiveness of your email campaign X6.

How to avoid a disaster

I briefly want to address a question about email outreach I get asked all the time, and again by a customer just recently.

My customer was running a campaign which in the end turned into a disaster.

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Their emails were flagged as spam, their open rates fell through the floor and quite frankly they were just wasting their time carrying on.

They wanted to know how to better protect their domain’s reputation in the future. Unfortunately, people do have bad days and may not appreciate the fact that you’re genuinely trying to add value to their business.

That said, you can protect your business by taking this simple precaution.

  • Register a new domain and host it with a service like Siteground. The domain name should be VERY SIMILAR to your main business domain.
  • Siteground will give you an email address based on the new domain for a very nominal sum.
  • Using this address will keep your main domain safe and free of complaints, whether founded or not.


Whatever you decide is right for your business, there are advantages and disadvantages of using email as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Here’s an interesting article I found that sets out both sides of the argument reasonably succinctly:

Advantages & disadvantages of email marketing

My opinion?

Email marketing continues to be a highly effective tool in your digital marketing armoury, so why wouldn’t you use it?

It makes sense to employ the services of an email marketing specialist to:

a) Craft the right subject lines, content and calls to action.

b) Ensure good open and click rates.

c) Help you avoid falling into the (reputational) traps that await the uninformed, “would be” email marketer.

Further, as email marketing is such a cost-effective way of delivering your message to customers and potential customers alike, why not consider a blend of email and social media as two complementary marketing strategies you can employ to get maximum bang for your marketing buck?

About the Author:

"Our world is full of marketing noise - but you won't succeed by simply shouting louder. You need to unravel the problems, desires, wants and needs of your ideal prospects, then convince them your solution can fix whatever they worry about most. Get this right, and you’ll build an unstoppable flood of hot leads, ready to convert into paying customers - just like clockwork." - Les Blythe


  1. James Robson August 9, 2018 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Hi Les,

    I’m considering launching an email campaign for my newly launched SaaS business and I’m wondering how many emails I would typically have to send to get a response from potential customers.

    I don’t want to bug people, but I want to make sure I don’t quit too soon. What would you say is the right number for my email sequence?


    • Les Blythe August 9, 2018 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      That’s actually a great question and one surrounded by a lot of debate.

      Generally, with email, less is more unless a contact asks you to remove them – which you should do immediately of course.

      Based on experience and some stats I have from Microsoft (hit me up if you’d like me to send you the graphic) I usually write a minimum of 7-9 emails for my clients. At this stage, you should be approaching the sweet spot. That said, you should consider up to 12 to make sure you’ve maximized your chances of getting a response.

      As with all things in marketing, it’s a matter of testing what works for you, your market and your product.


  2. Denis November 5, 2018 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I have heard the saying so many times:  “The money is in the list”.  What you are saying in your article is very true, the potential is real, in fact a lot of the big names out there call their email list their personal ATM machine.

    You also make a very valid point when you say that the emails should be personalized and deliver some kind of benefit to it’s reader in order to be effective.  What is the key is to offer some kind of help to the potential customer right?

    I do have a question though, I am not quite sure about Siteground and registering new domain name with them would protect my business, could you explain a bit more please?



    • Les Blythe November 5, 2018 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Denis, and thanks for your feedback.

      As regards Siteground and protecting your domain/ business, what I’m saying is that no matter how valuable the information is you supply, you will always get recipients that don’t “get it”. Unfortunately, it’s the way of the world wide web and they may flag your emails as spam which can adversely affect your main domain.

      Much safer to do as I say and avoid unnecessary hassles moving forward. You can always move happy customers to a separate list and email them with valuable content from there.

      You have to be aware that when you contact potential customers via email, you never know who might read it (not necessarily the intended recipient) and how they may react – we all have bad days.

      Better not to take the chance and protect your main domain…

      Hope that helps.

  3. cjciganotto November 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Hello Les,

    It is my intention, in the coming weeks to start working again with the EMail Marketing. 

    Although I did a test a few months ago, the results were not as expected. 

    I did a PPC campaign, my site getting a good number of daily visits. 

    I was receiving name and mail from some. 

    Using the autoresponder, I sent them important information, not getting an answer. 

    I got tired and left send the messages. I’ll thank you for your opinion. 

    Thank you so much.


    • Les Blythe November 9, 2018 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Hi Claudio, sorry to hear you struggled with your email campaign. Here are a few pointers to think about:

      1) How targeted to your product or service was the audience you sent emails to?

      2) Was your sample too small?

      3) Did you contact your audience enough times with relevant information (at least 7-10 touches).

      4) Did you offer value before attempting to sell your audience?

      5) Was your copy good enough – did you make a personal, relevant connection?

      6) Did you solve a problem for your recipients?

      7) Did you have compelling headlines, copy and a call to action?

      The pointers above are just the tip of the iceberg, without seeing your campaign it’s very difficult for me to give an opinion.

      Do let me know if I can help you in any way with this.

      – Les

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