, , , ,

Only One percent of the survey sample said they never use email; no wonder it wound up as the marketing message channel of choice among recipients. If your social media marketing is using email, this study is suggesting you may by on the right track.

“Think Facebook and Twitter are the best way to deliver promotional messages? Think again. Most customers want you to use email instead.”

Good news if your restaurant has been slow to adopt the latest social media marketing strategies. Although your customers may use Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to communicate with their friends, that’s not necessarily how they want to engage with businesses like yours. In fact, better results are likely if you send offers by email instead.
That’s the upshot of marketing company ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey. The study quizzed 1,481 respondents about their overall Internet usage, devices owned, personal communication habits, permission granting protocols and purchasing behaviors. The Survey offers a wide range of email, mobile and social media marketing services, so the survey didn’t lean a certain way for any particular marketing channel.

The key finding:
“Just because consumers embrace a channel for personal communications doesn’t mean that they want to receive direct marketing messages from your brand via that channel.
Absent an invitation from consumers to engage through social channels, marketers should focus their efforts on optimizing communications through channels where consumers do want to hear from them.”

Which ones are those?
Here’s how study participants overall responded when asked about their preferred channel for receiving permission-based promotional messages (i.e., “promotional messages from companies whom I have granted permission to send me ongoing information”):
• Email—77 %
• Direct mail (letters, catalogs, postcards, etc.)—9 %
• Text messaging on a cell phone—5 %
• Facebook—4 %
• Telephone—2 %
• Twitter—1 %
• Mobile app—1 %
• LinkedIn—0 %
The study queried a broad and balanced spectrum of age groups, starting at 15-17 and topping out at 65-plus. On this particular question, even the social media-savvy younger age groups said they much preferred email.
The email preference score for ages….
18-24 was 74 %,
the 25-34 group came in at 75 %,
and 81 % of 35 to 44-year-olds said they preferred email.
The only social media channel other than email to reach double-digits for any age group was text messaging on a cell phone, preferred by 10 % of respondents ages 15-17.
This survey then asked these same age groups which channels they use for personal written communications. The preferences here were much different:
• Email—45 %
• Text messages— 36 %
• Posting messages on Facebook—12 %
• Direct mail (letters, catalogs, postcards, etc.)—2 %
• Instant messaging—2 %
• Messaging app on a cell phone–2 %
• Posting messages on Google+—1 %
• Posting messages via personal websites or blogs—1 %
• Posting messages on Twitter—0 %

A breakdown of age-group variations shows that email use skews older, while text messaging dominates among the younger age groups. Sixty-four % of those ages 15-17 rely on text messaging, as do 55 % of 18- to 24 year-olds.
The most surprising result was the weak showing of Twitter, used by only a relative handful of participants.
The Twitter result stood out because this survey separately asked respondents about their overall social media use, not just how they send personal written communications and how they prefer to receive permission-based promotional messages.
In answer to this question, 14 % of all respondents said they used Twitter in some way daily, six % weekly and nine % less than weekly.
This discrepancy suggests that many use the service to follow the Twitter feeds of others rather than maintain one of their own. Overall, 71 % of respondents said they never use Twitter.
In contrast, 57 % of survey respondents said they use Facebook and text messaging daily, while 91 % send and receive email messages each day.
Only one % of the survey sample said they never use email; no wonder it wound up as the marketing message channel of choice among recipients. If your social media marketing is confined to email, this study is suggesting you may not be missing out on much.