Email Trumps Social Marketing for Small Businesses [Survey]

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This past week, May 9 – 16, has been National Small Business Week and today I finally had some time to read a new study by Cox Business, the 2014 Cox Business Barometer. They surveyed 601 U.S. small businesses in April 2014 and released the study in time for National Small Business week.

One of the stats that jumped out at me was that email trumps social marketing for customer engagement.

2014 Cox Business BarometerMany in the social marketing space tend to think that social media is the be all and end all for creating engagement. But truly, when you think about it, where do you get the most response? 

When I want people to take action whether it’s taking a poll, reading a blog post, or registering for a program, a direct email always gets the best response.

Social media gets your small business visibility, creates awareness and allows you to connect on a casual basis, but the real, intimate engagement often comes after a customer or prospect receives an email from you. 

Think about it. When your customer is engaging with you on social networks, there are a lot of distractions. Their newsfeed is scrolling by a rapid clip; ads are competing for their attention in the sidebar; notifications are flashing, large images are pulling them from your message.

When your email message lands in their inbox, whether on desktop, tablet or mobile phone, when that message is opened, there is very little to distract your customer or client. They are more likely to pay attention to your message so you have a better chance of that person engaging with your information and calls to action.

You’ll see on the graphic that the phone came in second to email. Again, it’s a more personal, one to one interaction.

As a small business owner or solo entrepreneur, are you using email and phone to stay connected with your leads, prospects and clients? Or do you rely more on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to stay in touch.

Based  on the survey, I’d recommend doing an analysis of your marketing communications. Make sure you have a reliable email list management system and that you are building your list consistently so you have the opportunity to have  distraction-free engagement with the people in your communities.

If you haven’t started building an email list yet, the time to start is now. Click here for my list of recommended email services

The second stat I took notice of, is that after email and phone, Facebook is the top social site for notifying customers about special promotions. That makes sense since Facebook has a fairly sophisticated advertising system in place.  Twitter came in second and LinkedIn is third.

If you want to combine email list building and Facebook, take a look at this post on building your list with Facebook offers (without spending a dime).

The Cox Business Barometer is a fast, easy read and I recommend you take a look at it (you can see the full size pdf here). Where do you fit in on the stats? 

NOTE: This is a sponsored post. I am taking part in a campaign with Cox Business to help them get the word out about how they’re celebrating National Small Business Week. Be assured that I never promote anything I don’t believe in and everything I write is my own opinion.

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  1. says

    I’ve heard this chant for years that “the money is in the list”. I advise my SMB clients to consider adding various optin forms on their sites to build their list. Connecting with people on social media is a good thing. Getting your social connections to add you to a G+ Circle is also worthwhile. Building an email list is right up there. Now I can source your article Denise as further proof on the merits of building an email list. Nice work!

    • says

      Thank you, Neil. I’m reminded that “the money is in the list” every time I send out an email with any type of call to action. Thanks for stopping by!