Why email marketing can be better than paid ads

Why email marketing can be better than paid ads


From interviewing entrepreneurs through Softintro.com, not one small business owner said they had success running ads on Facebook or Google. However, some had mentioned they had success with email marketing.  In this episode we’ll cover what email marketing is and how it can help you get clients for your business.

In simple terms, email marketing involves you creating something of value for your target market for free in return for an email address and then delivering value to that email list. There are many different things you can offer such as a free guide, assessment results, webinar or an event. This is known as your lead magnet. 

For example, if you are a marketing agency you can create Facebook ad templates to give people guidance on what types of images, videos and copy works well on Facebook. If you’re a nutritionist you can create a free plan on how to reduce your bodyfat. 

It’s important that your lead magnet is related to the product or service you offer. 

If you plan to create a guide you can use Canva dot com. It’s a free and powerful tool for creating media and is very popular among small business owners. It is the most recommended tool among the small business owners we interviewed.

Once people begin giving you their email address and your audience starts to grow you now have an opportunity to start delivering value. The more value you deliver the higher the number of people will transition from being a cold lead to being a warm lead. The warmer the lead the more likely they will be to buy from you.

Johnny Beirne has a great saying, People buy when they are ready to buy not when you are ready to sell. People may come across your ad on social media but at the time they may not be ready to buy. Whereas with email marketing you can remind potential clients over a much longer period of time about your business while at the same also delivering value at a much lower cost compared to social media.

One of the top car sales reps in the world was a man named Joe Girard. Between 1963 and 1978 he sold more than 13,000 cars. Joe constantly kept in touch with his customers. Joe sent thousands of greeting cards each month to his list of customers. He sent them cards for many occasions such as their birthday, New Years, Christmas or Halloween. Joe knew eventually they’d buy a car again and when they did who do you think they first thought of?

Benefits of email marketing

Next we’ll move on to what are the main benefits of email marketing are over paid ads. It’s important to highlight paid ads and email marketing are not mutually exclusive. You often need to run paid ads to promote your lead magnet. But as your lead magnet is free you will get a much higher engagement rate. Also, you’ll capture the email addresses of potential leads so you can deliver value.

The biggest mindset switch is not to run paid ads to sell directly to a cold audience, as this often doesn’t work for certain products, but to capture leads and build an email list. Then with that email list deliver valuable content to warm the audience and then try to sell. 

Return on investment

Email marketing offers a much higher return on your investment when compared to paid ads. According to Campaign Monitor, for every €1 you spend on paid ads you can expect to earn €2. Whereas with email marketing for every €1 you spend you can expect to earn €38. This ROI figure seems very high, but email marketing definitely has a higher return on investment than paid ads. 

Running paid ads is similar to the hunter gather approach, whereas email marketing is similar to the farmer. When you run paid ads you only get leads during the duration the ads are run for. Whereas with email marketing you get leads that you can cultivate and nurture. Delivering value to your audience turns a cold audience into a warm audience and ultimately then into a client.

Create a warm audience

High priced products often don’t sell well through paid ads. Rarely will people be willing to spend large sums of money on a 2 minute ad on Facebook. It can also be difficult to sell services as they are intangible and take more time to explain than a simple tangible product.

It can be impossible to sell these types of products to a cold audience. Paid ads don’t offer a cost effective way to create a warm audience like email marketing can. Because you are able to warm up your audience by delivering valuable content you have a higher chance of making a sale.

Less Restrictions

Facebook has a number of restrictions on how you are allowed to advertise and the content you can promote. In some cases restrictions are applied by artificial intelligence which can at times make mistakes. 

With email making you can decide what is the best content to deliver to your audience and you have a lot more freedom when compared to paid ads.

Better Response Rate

With email marketing you are delivering your content to an audience who have already expressed some level of interest in your product or service. Therefore you are more likely to get a better response rate to your content. 

Even though Facebook has very detailed targeting options it shows ads to people who have no interest in your products or services. 


Two powerful aspects of email marketing are automations and custom content. Automations allow people who sign up for your mailing list to go on a journey. If you offer 5 different services and when someone joins your email list they are sent free content broadly relating to each of your 5 services.

If the person clicks on only one of those topics they can be tagged as having an interest in a particular topic. When you send out future emails all those who have expressed an interest in a certain topic will only receive content relating to that topic.

For example, if you are a fitness instructor. Your services are:

Building muscle

Losing weight

Building endurance

Staying fit over 50

Staying fit while working 9-5

The first email a visitor sees covers an introduction to each of the above 5 topics with a link to read more. If a marathon runner signs up for your newsletter that person will only be interested in topics related to building up endurance. 

With email marketing you can tag the marathon runner as being interested in “Building endurance”. Any future content you send out talking about for example building muscle including customer testimonials will not be sent to the marathon runner.

This allows you to segment your mailing list and send content which your audience is interested in. This will boost your response rates, engagement and the main KPI, sales.

How to get started with email marketing

The basic steps to getting started in email marketing are:

  1. Build your lead magnet. You can use Canva if you are creating a document or guide.
  2. Build your landing page. This is the page where people can sign up to join your email list
  3. Get an email marketing tool and integrate it with your landing page.

If you are getting a good response to your lead magnet you can then consider setting up automations and delivering custom content.

There are many different email marketing tools available. If you just want to test email marketing then you can get started using mail chimp which has a free version. Others include aweber and ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign is for more advanced users and it is one of the more costly applications. But it has incredible functionality. It’s automations are very powerful.

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