We’ve recently seen some digital marketing professionals make the bold declaration that email is actually a categorically better outlet than social media for any given digital marketing strategy. We think that’s an overly broad statement, though we can understand where they’re coming from, and we recognize that there’s at least a kernel of truth in it.

A better way of expressing this sentiment might be to say that email and social media both have a role to play in digital marketing, but your actual customer conversions are more likely to come through email. It’s important to recognize, however, that this observation is not a basis for letting your social media accounts go dormant and pouring all your digital marketing resources into email blasts and web content development.

Often, the very reason why your branded emails are effective is because you’ve already buttered up your established clients or prospective customers with regular engagement on social media. In fact, there are sure to be times when social media is a key reason why someone in your target audience opened your sales email in the first place. You can’t afford to cast that aside, and you certainly can’t do so and then expect the same emails to have exactly the same impact on site traffic and conversions.

It shouldn’t be difficult for you to put this into context if you regularly use your own personal email account. Unless you have an excellent spam filter and you’re extremely careful about curating the lists you subscribe to, it probably doesn’t take too long before your inbox is overwhelmed with new messages. Not many people go through them one-by-one these days, and although an attention-grabbing subject line may help to capture additional eyeballs, one’s choice of which message to open often has a lot to do with their separate interactions with the sender.

If your digital marketing strategy relies exclusively on email, it probably means you’re either bombarding your subscribers with messages in order to keep their attention, or else counting on them to take an active interest in messages that come through only once a week or less. In the first case, you risk of your audience getting fed up and unsubscribing. And in the second case, you risk people missing a couple messages and then more or less forgetting that your brand exists altogether.

You can hedge against both of these outcomes by making social media engagement a serious priority in your digital marketing strategy. When you do this for the express purpose of bolstering email conversions, you have to understand that you may not see a direct return on investment from your social media accounts. But as long as engagement is ongoing and traffic is still coming through email, it’s a pretty safe bet that the two different aspects of your strategy are supporting each other.

With careful content management, you or your digital marketing partner may be able to bolster that support even further. A solid strategy meeting should help you to pin down which of your brand’s messages are most suitable for social media and which you’re better off keeping in reserve for the long-form content of an email newsletter. By parsing your content in that way, you can increase the odds of your audience seeing exactly what piques their interest in passing, as well as learning exactly what they want to learn in more detail about your company, product, or service.