Content marketing vs Email marketing

Content marketing vs Email marketing
10th March 2020

Choosing the most effective channels for your marketing strategy is key for meeting objectives, engaging target audiences and boosting ROI. Find out which is best for your business between content marketing vs email marketing.

Choosing the most suitable channels for the tactical delivery of your digital marketing strategy is essential to budgets, results and building customer loyalty. An effective digital marketing strategy will always consider it’s audience in the earliest stages. Marketers must ask themselves, who do we want to speak to? why, and which channels are most appropriate?

59% of marketers say that email marketing is the leading source for ROI, whilst 72% report content marketing increases engagement. Content marketing and email marketing are both strong contenders to include in the marketing mix for most organisations, but is one better than the other? How should they be used for best results? When pitted against each other, which is best: content marketing or email marketing?

What is content marketing?

Content marketing uses an inbound, or ‘pull’ technique and is anything your organisation creates and publishes to attract business and interest. A successful content marketing strategy focuses on brand messaging and thought leaderships, targeting keywords that your target audience or segment is already likely to be searching. Content often includes the following formats:

  • Video
  • Podcast
  • Blog post
  • Whitepaper / downloadable
  • Webpages and landing pages

Content marketing and email marketing naturally overlap, as email can be a suitable vehicle to share relevant content with either subscribers or existing customers. Content marketing is great because of its versatility in targeting. This means marketers can create a portfolio of content that ranges from targeting a wider audience, down to a niche. For example, a marketing manager for a gym might want to create a Google Ad that targets people looking for a local gym, which is quite broad. But then they might want to write a blog post or downloadable that focuses on a powerlifting seminar, which is tailored more for a specific segment.

It’s also important to choose the best platform to promote your content, as this will increase reach and visibility. Running a situation analysis before starting your planning is recommended. Sharing content is important for two main reasons:

  1. Being visible where your audience hangs out digitally puts your content in front of them. Pretty straight forward right? You’re taking the content to them, therefore asking very little effort from your audience to engage. This also helps grow your audience organically through shareable content.
  2. Being visible to Google. Google receives around 3.5 billion searches daily, it’s the go-to tool for people to find information. Optimising your business’ content so that it’s easier for Google to understand, will in-turn get your content a top ranking on the first page of its search engine results pages (SERPs). More visibility, more traffic, more leads.

How to measure content marketing

Tracking how well your content marketing is performing is important for any results-driven organisation. There’s a tonne of KPIs that could be considered here, but some popular metrics to pay attention to include:

  • Traffic: How much traffic is your content generating? How much of that is new traffic? You might look at users here over sessions, but both can be useful to note.
  • Visitors: How are your visitors behaving when they’ve landed on your content? Does your content have a good bounce rate? How many pages are they viewing per visit?
  • Referrals: How are your audience reaching your content? Organically? Directly? Via social media? This gives a good indication on how well your marketing is performing and which channels need more attention.
  • Engagement: How many clicks and shares does your content receive? Are users commenting on the content?

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is an outbound, or ‘push’ technique to communicate with (usually) an existing audience. This audience might typically be, prospects that have subscribed to email offers, a newsletter, or existing customers. However, sometimes email can be used to target a segment if what you’re sending is likely to be of interest – there’s a fine line here between being useful and spam. So, tread carefully and always give unsubscribe options.

On average email marketing has an ROI of 3800%, far higher than traditional marketing and understandably a favoured channel for communicating with your customers to boost sales, increased visibility and nurture relationships.  Ultimately, it’s a channel to convert and retain your organisation’s audience.

Four tips for email marketing


Separating your mailing list is going to help your open rate, click through rate and retention. Nobody wants to receive irrelevant emails – ever. It’s simple, give your users the opportunity to decide what they opt in for when they’re subscribing at the first instance, you might want to offer new subjects they could opt in for throughout your email communications. This way the user is in control of what they want to hear from your business.

Most email marketing platforms or digital experience software like Sitecore or Hubspot will give you the option to segment by demographic or behaviour and you can create rules-based automated lists. For example, people who work in the financial services sector, that have subscribed to newsletters, that live in a specific location radius (let’s say Manchester) and have viewed the article, ‘Financial content marketing’, would be added to a mailing list to promote a Manchester based, content marketing seminar for financial services.

There’s a long list of how a marketing team might segment their audience, from age, gender, to purchase frequency or previous engagement. The main point is, organise your data and tailor your email marketing to who you are looking to talk to.


Be realistic here, your email is likely to be a drop in the ocean in your recipient’s inbox. Think about how you are going to stand out and entice that first click to open the email. 77% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so what does this mean for marketers? It means, optimise your email for all devices and pay attention to your email subject lines. Your subject line can be the make or break of your customer relationship and so warrants some thought. Again, keep the user in mind, short, snappy subject lines that give a true summary of what your email is about are successful – nobody likes click-bait and it can be damaging to your results and brand reputation.

Before you’ve created your email, you should have a clear goal of what you want the user to do when they read your email. What is the call to action (CTA)? Should the download a whitepaper? Should they book a consultation? Then when you know what you’re hoping to achieve, adopt a design that adheres to this. Always make conversion as easy as possible for your recipient or you risk losing engagement and possibly even business.

Measure and review

Just like any form of marketing, results are what do the talking. Common metrics to track success are:

  • Open rate
  • Click through rate
  • Click through ratio
  • Subscribers / unsubscribes
  • Opens by device

A lot of email software also gives you heatmaps to see how users are navigating your content, this is useful for adjusting future emails or perhaps running some A/B testing on imagery or subject lines.

Which is best, content marketing or email marketing?

Comparing content marketing vs email marketing is difficult in terms of which is most effective, because they work together. One is the substance whilst the other is the vehicle to deliver. Ideally, organisations should be combining content marketing and email marketing into a singular strategy to get the best ROI. 83% of B2B marketers use email newsletters for content marketing. This is an effective way to help amplify the reach of content and brand awareness.

Although content marketing and email marketing aren’t the only aspects needed for a successful marketing strategy. They are both powerful engines for communication with potential consumers and existing customers. Bear in mind that only using one method is unlikely to help you achieve your goals, consumers expect businesses to be accessible to them around the clock and across any device. They are impatient and expect brands to know them, their interests and to create a personalised user experience.  76% of consumers say they expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Personalisation tools can help marketing teams achieve this level of sophisticated user experience with email marketing and content marketing, seamlessly.

How effective is your organisation’s content and email marketing?

We are Kagool and we have been helping enterprise-level businesses achieve their digital goals since 1999, through designing, building and optimising websites using Sitecore. Identifying how to boost your marketing performance can be time consuming and challenging. We have a team of Google certified, digital marketing experts, dedicated to helping our clients get the most out of their activity and how to get the best results from their digital marketing strategy. Contact us today to learn more about our search marketing services or to book a digital marketing audit. We’d love to help!