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Thursday, 18 October 2012 06:07

Email is still the untouchable force in online marketing

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Exact Target’s recent 2012 Channel Preference Survey reveals some interesting facts about what actually works in online marketing.

The results are sure to upset the “shiny ball” crowd who love playing with the latest new technology, but the fact is that email is far and away the best online marketing tool you can use.

Nothing else even comes close.

The survey conducted in Jan and Feb this year asked how consumers preferred to get marketing messages and interact with brands.

The results are staggering.

Best Brand Medium

Over 77% said they preferred email as a means of receiving messages from brands; in fact the preference for email has increased 5% since 2008.

The next most preferred medium was direct mail (snail mail) at 9%; Facebook only got 4%.

This has huge implications if you’re conducting online marketing or about to start.

Email should be your main customer communication priority, and only when you have that functioning optimally should you consider the others, starting with snail mail and after that social media. Ouch!

The research backs up similar findings from other companies that have found social media difficult to use to engage consumers to buy.

This is not to say you shouldn't be using social media as a communications medium, but it does highlight the dangers of getting carried away with social media marketing.

Effect on Buying Decision

Purchase Made After Receiving Promotional Message

The survey also asked how many people had actually made a purchase after receiving a promotional message via these channels.

Again email, together with snail mail were miles in front at around 66%. Facebook only managed 20%.

Where Social Media Falters

The reason consumers won’t fully engage with brands on social media has been covered before by many commentators and can be summed up as like trying to sell insurance at the Sunday session: Nobody’s interested, they are there to socialise with their friends and have a good time. As Exact Target says: "Consumers don’t truly consider brands to be their friends."

Other research on this topic

You can read one of my recent posts, "How top business Generate New Leads today in 2012", where Email Marketing sits on top of the best ways to generate new leads with 81% of successful business using this technique. You can read this article here. I highly recommend that you download a copy of the chart in the article "How top business Generate New Leads today in 2012" and present it at your next business management meeting! If anything, it will be a great topic of discussion.

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