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Startup Marketing 101: Why Email Marketing Shouldn’t Take a Back Seat to Social Media

Startup Marketing 101: Why Email Marketing Shouldn’t Take a Back Seat to Social Media

Is email marketing in your startup marketing strategy as a top priority? If not, you’ll want to consider it.

When people talk about email as a marketing channel, there seems to be a common misconception that email is dead. Despite the advancement of other marketing channels such as social, this has never been further from the truth as it is now.

Startup Marketing: Why Email Marketing Shouldn't Take a Back Seat to Social MediaThe degree to which startup marketing currently relies on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—all of which can change on a whim—is concerning. Especially as email becomes an increasingly important channel for both user acquisition and fostering repeat customer purchase behavior.

Don’t get us wrong. We highly approve of and recommend social media as an effective user acquisition and customer loyalty channel for startups. It has an important place in the lifecycle of a customer. However, in the past couple years, it has become more and more apparent that email is undoubtedly one of the most—if not the most—effective ways for a startup to nurture leads and existing customer relationships.

Read on to explore the top reasons why email marketing should be considered a crucial component of your startup marketing plan, and why social media shouldn’t outrank email as a priority.

Why Email Marketing Deserves a Top Spot in your Startup Marketing Strategy

Email Marketing is Personal

Emails are delivered straight to each of us and have our own name and address on it. Although as marketers we know better than to believe we are the only person receiving an email, it still feels personal.

Emails can be highly customized for our historical behavior specific to a brand and speak to us as individuals. This is to your benefit as a startup, since you cannot speak to all customers the same way.

Ironically enough, in the early years of social media, social media seemed more personalized. It was highly focused on a person’s own personal network. With the way it has evolved as a platform, it now showcases entities and brands. Nowadays, this can make it feel more like a “broadcast” channel despite the platforms’ innovations in personalization.

Email Marketing Feels Official

Email is perceived as the delivery system that is as close to physical mail as we can possibly get. There is an air of importance to the messages consumers receive through email that social media just doesn’t have.

When we open an email with a brand’s name on it, we know it typically contains a significant offer or content coming straight from them. Compare this to social media where people are constantly sharing other people’s content.

Many times with social, we are presented with branded content we didn’t opt-in to see. This is the nature of social media and it serves a great purpose for many businesses. Regardless, to consumers it can feel like a wild world out there.

The email inbox feels safe in comparison. This is especially important for startup marketing because when your customers are fairly new to you, their trust needs to be earned.

Email Marketing Lacks a Mysterious Algorithm

Although social media is a fantastic way to target new audiences and engage your loyal customers, email is crucial to “owning” your leads and customers.

In a world where social media platforms continue to adopt aggressive algorithms, businesses are seeing their hard-earned audiences slip out of their “free reach” with every organic social update published.

As the competition grows for a spot in everyone’s limited “feed” space, posts are filtered out so that they reach only a portion of your social audience. You’re left picking up the tab to reach the rest. Email marketing does have its own filtering system in a way (think spam filters), but if you play your cards right you can minimize the occurrence.

Email Marketing is Inexpensive

If you don’t diversify or properly allocate your marketing mix, social can get expensive quickly.

Paid ads and boosted posts are effective ways to reach new audiences and a larger portion of your audience, respectively. However, you likely won’t see a return on your social budget if you haven’t determined what you’re willing to pay in the way of cost-per-acquisition and/or aren’t targeting the right audiences.

Email marketing is fairly inexpensive. Unless you’ve bought your list—which we highly recommend against doing—you won’t be shelling out much money until you need to pay for advanced email clients and facilitating large sends.

However, we should point out that social media can play a significant part in growing your email list. Marketing channels never operate in silos. What’s more, we acknowledge the time and effort to grow your list does require a time investment. You’ll still need to drive traffic to your site and invest in landing page development, conversion optimization and so on. What we’re getting at here is that email marketing should never take a back seat, and time invested in this channel shouldn’t be under-allocated.


Your startup marketing strategy should contain email as a top priority channel for growth hacking and recurring revenue. Never let email marketing take a back seat to social. The top reasons social shouldn’t outrank email marketing on your priority list are as follows:

  1. Email marketing feels more personal to consumers
  2. Email marketing is perceived as more official
  3. Email marketing doesn’t have an ever-changing algorithm (you “own” your audience)
  4. Email marketing is relatively inexpensive

Looking for help with your startup’s email marketing strategy? Contact Marketing Supply Co. today!

Melissa Cocks

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