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Email+ Social: Viewpoints from Consumers and Marketers

4/10/12

By Julia Peavy

For several months now, Stephanie Colleton and I have been writing about how email and social media are working together to improve marketing programs. From new social networks (Google+ and Pinterest) to how marketers are integrating the two channels, we’ve seen a variety of sophistication levels.

Last week, two reports with new statistics on email and social media caught my eye and further demonstrate how these channels continue to be important to both marketers and consumers.

The first report, part of Subscribers, Fans, and Followers research by ExactTarget, examines consumer communication preferences. The other report, the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from the Social Media Examiner, focuses on how marketers are using social media to expand their businesses.

While one report focuses on marketers and one on consumers, it is clear that email should continue to be a workhorse for any marketing program.

In the ExactTarget survey, 77% of consumers reported their preferred channel for permission-based promotional messages was email. The next most popular channel for promotional messages, at a paltry 9%, was direct mail. Social media channels were even less popular with consumers for permission-based marketing messages. Email was also reported by respondents as the number one channel used for sharing (63%).
 
In the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, marketers reported that increasing exposure and increasing traffic were the top two benefits of social media marketing. When social media marketers in the Social Media Marketing Industry Report were asked what additional marketing channels they employed, 87% responded with email (the number one response).

In addition, 61% of respondents reported they were planning to increase their email marketing efforts. With consumers looking to email for marketing messages, social media marketers are finding email marketing a nice complement to their social media awareness and exposure efforts.

In order to make sure these channels continue to work well together and meet the needs of consumers and marketers, keep these best practices in mind:
• With social media driving web site traffic, ensure there is an email sign-up page on every page of your web site, not just the home page
• Include both social sharing options as well as Forward-to-a-Friend in your emails
• Promote your email program in your social media posts
• Understand what consumers want from each channel and deliver on these expectations
• Work to deliver targeted, relevant messages to ensure the promotional emails stand out in an increasingly crowded inbox and deliver the best response and engagement.

Julia Peavy is director, response consulting for email deliverability and security firm Return Path.

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