Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Oh for a perfect world. A world where we can tell you, categorically, what the best marketing channels are to help your business generate leads, grow your subscriber lists, build your follow count and close more deals.

Unfortunately marketing isn’t always that straightforward.

What we can tell you is this: if you are looking at email marketing and social media in isolation of one another, it’s time to shift your perspective. Okay they may not seem like the most natural bedfellows, but email and social are just waiting to cosy up and canoodle – helping you hit your marketing goals as they go.

The case for email marketing

Email marketing has one big benefit: it’s a private channel. Once someone subscribes to your email comms you have a direct link to their world. Each subscriber has taken a conscious step to engage with your business – they have chosen to hear more from you in the future. These users are ripe to gently nudge along your sales funnel.

Email has another major benefit. Once you know a few buying habits, demographics and behavioural preferences of the people in your subscriber list, you can segment your list and send highly targeted communications around certain events, certain products and certain offers – boosting your chances of conversion. Even better, many of these email communications can be automated.

The case for social media marketing

Social media is, by definition, social – promising networking opportunities that other channels can’t rival. And while email marketing is par-for-the-course for most businesses, social media gives you the chance to engage your audience via an additional touchpoint, boosting your chances out being front-of-mind next time a customer is in need of your services.

But the crucial thing about social media is reach. It’s a tool for interacting with new people and nurturing relationships. Not only does it expose your business to the individual you are engaging with, but potentially their networks too. And their network’s networks. In terms of digital media, there are few finer awareness-raising tools.

Let’s wrap this up…

What’s the best marketing channel out of email and social? That’s the wrong question to ask. Email marketing is more direct, whilst social broadens your reach. Email has more sales power, social helps build trust and credibility. Social media is great for conversation, but email is the king of conversion.

What’s exciting, however, is that using the two channels harmoniously ratchets-up the power of both. In our studies, businesses who integrated email and social saw an average annual growth of 15% to their subscriber lists, as opposed to just 9% average growth among businesses that used the channels in isolation.