My original answer to this question is on Quora, "How would solopreneurs and small business owners rank the following according to their importance - SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing?"
Here’s why: as a small business / solopreneur your effort should be spent on the items with the highest probability of delivering the best bang for your buck (or time spent).
But wait, there's more...
Craig - Would you agree that you would switch out 1 & 2 if your current email database was relatively small i.e. assuming it is small, and assuming you have a likewise relatively small online footprint, then your new subscription acquisition would also be small (in absolute numbers, irrespective of conversion rate). Therefore, would you position SEO (I’m talking holistic SEO with good content creation as part of it) above email marketing?
Adam - Not absolutely. SEO takes time to develop and there really isn’t much you can to make it an overnight success. Email marketing gets results on a much shorter timeframe. So the answer is situational. If someone who has a small list has the time to build it up over SEO then that might be the best answer for them (e.g. a blogger who has a day job). However, if someone needs to kickstart their business and has even a small budget, then purchasing a list on Data.com, for example, might be the better option for them.
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