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Email Marketing vs. Social Media… What brings in more sales?

Megan Martin


If you’re creating digital products or you’re dreaming about creating digital products, it’s important to figure out how you’re actually going to sell them! Today, we’re talking about how to effectively market and sell your products so you can actually start earning passive income! There’s a big debate between email marketing vs. social media and what actually brings in more sales. So today, I’m sharing my number one marketing method (and no, it’s NOT paid advertising!). It’s not even something that requires pointing and dancing… yes, I’m 100% calling out Reels and Tik Toks right now.

My number one marketing strategy comes down to email marketing. Simply put, year after year, I’ve seen the most digital product sales come through the door through email marketing. That’s why today I’m breaking down exactly how to use email marketing for your digital products!! 

A new strategy for sales…

In 2019, I began rethinking how I show up online across all of the platforms: Facebook, Instagram, email marketing, my blog, and Pinterest. It was important to me to step back and look at the strategy I’d been using. Up to that point, I was basically creating one long post then trying to share it everywhere. That method worked for me – for a long time. But over time, the platforms changed. And, I wasn’t. So I decided to look into what each platform was truly about and why it had even been created in the first place. I didn’t want to fight with them anymore and wanted to use them intentionally. Frankly, I wasn’t seeing engagement and growth on each platform, so I didn’t really have much to lose. 

People love to argue over whether email marketing or social media is more important. While I could go on for days about each of these because I absolutely did research them, I want to give you the Cliff note version of the history of each. 

Social Media

One of the very first social media platforms was created in 1997 and was called Six Degrees. It allowed users to list friends, family members and acquaintances on their site. It was literally created to create, claim and establish connections with other people. Sound like anything you know? The next social media platform launched in 2001, and was named Friendster. Are you seeing a theme yet? Social media has always been about connection and friendship. At the end of the day, social media platforms are always going to reward content that furthers its purpose of creating connections, meeting new people and deepening friendships.

The truth of the matter is that social media was not created as a sales system. Small businesses everywhere have learned how to leverage social media in order to create sales opportunities BUT that’s not what it was designed for. Instead, those salesy posts often feel like they’re interrupting – the scroll, the connections, the relationships you’re building. 

So I am here to say… that while social media is very powerful, and yes, advertising can work, your best bet is to focus on connections and relationships in your social media marketing strategy. Then you can learn how to leverage sales elsewhere. Somewhere like…

Email Marketing

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane. THe first email was sent in 1971 by a computer programmer, Ray Tomlinson. The subject line was along the lines of test 123 (which I personally love). In 1972, the very first email management system was created, which allowed people to select, forward, and respond to messages. Not long afer that, in 1978, the first email blast (aka email marketing) was sent by a marketing manager for a digital equipment company selling machines to a list of only 400 people. The results of that very first email blast included $13 million in sales. Now, that is a win for a first time trying something!! And as you can see: email marketing was literally created for sales. 

But that was in 1978. I know what you’re probably wondering: is email marketing still actually effective to make sales? The answer is yes. 

Thanks to Opt In Monster, I learned a few interesting statistics: 

  • 58% of people look at their email inbox first and out of the remaining 42%, 14% check social media most likely Instagram or Tiktok. 
  • Those who check their email online first thing in the morning are more likely to approach online interactions with a specific goal in mind – shopping, inding deals, or promotions. 
  • 60% of consumers subscribe to a brand’s email list with the intention of getting promotional messages – and only 20% follow them on social media for the same reason.
  • 44% of users check their email for a deal from a company they know. Whereas only 4% will go to social media to something like Facebook. 
  • 60% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email! On the flip side, only 12.5 % of them even consider a buy button as a purchaser driver on social media.

And quite possibly the most compelling statistic about why email marketing is so effective when it comes to selling online is this: Email marketing yields $44 back for every $1 you spend

So yes, email marketing STILL works as a way to make sales as a business owner.  Now that I know that, I’ve truly changed how I show up online. Now, I use social media to develop my relationships with potential students. I then work to lead those social media followers to my email list to opt in and subscribe to my email list. That’s why I’ve created and market my opt-ins. From there, I can leverage my email marketing to talk more about the products that I have and how they can solve their problems in their life. When I can show those solutions, I’m able to seal the deal! 

The truth about email marketing… 

Here’s the deal: your subscribers are not stupid. They know by opting in that you are going to promote your services to them. They’ve invited that pitch by signing up. It’s been ingrained in our minds from day one that email marketing means promotions. From here on out, I want you to let go of the fear that you’re being salesy.

That’s LITERALLY THE POINT of having an email list!

Look at this as an amazing opportunity for you to show up and share about what you know, what you do and how you can serve your subscribers with the products that you have to sell online.

My simple strategy for email marketing!

In order to drive sales through email marketing on autopilot, I’ve learned to keep my strategies simple. Then they’re most effective. First and foremost, I create an opt-in that’s tightly aligned with the digital product I want to sell. If you need ideas for opt-ins, check out last week’s post. 

Then I set up an automated email sequence that first delivers the opt in. Afre that, they’re able to opt into the sequence and I send them a series of emails over a set period of time where I continue to share and talk to them with content that relates to the opt-in they first received. This whole process ultimately primes them for the digital product I have to offer. 

Here’s the other thing… by having this system automated in my email marketing software (Kajabi, if you were wondering), the pressure of social media is gone. Instead of having to sell constantly on social media, I can use it for what it was created for: connection. I can use social media to share about what matters to me, which is important for me personally but also as a personal brand. 

As you can see, both social media and emails work together to create my sales strategy – but I truly rely heavily on my email marketing to get the job done. 

If you want more tips on email marketing for your business check out these posts: 

How to Create Gorgeous Emails in Kajabi

How to Get Your First 1,000 Subscribers

You can take a look around for yourself at everything Kajabi has to offer with a free trial right HERE

Try Kajabi free for 14-days

See for yourself how Kajabi has everything you need to build your online business free for 30-days. 

Links included in this post might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. I only share about tools and resources that I personally use and believe in. There is no additional charge to you. Thank you for supporting my channel so I can continue to provide you with free content each week! 

Email Marketing vs. Social Media: What Brings in More Sales? Megan Martin breaks down the history of emails and social media for sales
Email Marketing vs. Social Media: What Brings in More Sales? Megan Martin breaks down the history of emails and social media for sales
Email Marketing vs. Social Media: What Brings in More Sales? Megan Martin breaks down the history of emails and social media for sales

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