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Move Over, Social Media: Consumers Prefer to Get Marketing Messages by Email

May 4th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

When it comes to small business marketing, social media seems to get all the attention these days, but that old workhorse email marketing may actually be better at getting the job done. So says a new survey from ExactTarget reported in Small Business Trends.

The survey of consumers found that a whopping 77 percent prefer to get permission-based marketing messages via email. The next most preferred method, direct mail, didn’t even come close, with a mere 9 percent of the overall respondents ranking it their top method for receiving marketing messages. And text messaging and social media barely made the running, preferred by just 5 percent and 6 percent of users, respectively.

Now, you might think that this percentage is skewed toward older users—but you’d be wrong. Even among the 15-17 age group, 66 percent preferred email marketing messages, while just 10 percent preferred text messages and 8 percent Facebook.

While you may have heard that use of email is dropping, ExactTarget found that the decline in email use refers to personal communications. But consumers’ preference for getting permission-based marketing through email has actually increased 5 percent since 2008.

What’s happening? It seems that while fewer people are using email to communicate with friends and family (texting and social media are becoming more popular for this purpose), email is becoming the primary way that consumers like to manage their interactions with businesses. “Email is the top channel in terms of acceptability across all types of marketing message we asked about….from travel alerts and purchase receipts to promotional messages and polls,” ExactTarget reports. (The one exception was spam emails.)

No matter what age range you’re targeting—from 15 up to 65-plus—email is still the way to go. But generic email blasts are not, ExactTarget reports. For companies finding their email efforts are getting less response than they used to, consider:

  1. Is it timely?
  2. Is it targeted?
  3. Is it relevant to the user?
  4. Does it have a compelling subject line, headline and benefit?

Today’s subscribers are more sophisticated when it comes to email. Keep these four factors in mind, and your open rates will increase.

Image by Flickr user Sean MacEntee (Creative Commons)





The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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