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Email and social media are favorites for Internet marketing campaigns

Marketers have their pick of techniques these days, especially when it comes to Internet marketing campaigns. However, multiple options also bring more obstacles. A recent report by Act-On surveyed close to 20,000 marketers and compiled their favorite tools, tactics and technology, along with their biggest challenges.

While 82 percent of marketers said they intend to invest in coordinated campaigns across multiple platforms, there were some clear winners when it came to the most used technologies for online marketing

Email marketing is still heavily utilized technology
While social media often steals the marketing tactic spotlight, it still has not surpassed email. In the survey, 77 percent said email is among their most used methods and 75 percent said it was their most implemented campaign. The data may seem a little surprising, considering that in the world of Internet technology, email is old news. However, a recent study by the analytics firm Custora supports the decision to embrace email.

  • Customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last four years, according to the study. While banner ads, Facebook and Twitter account for less than 1 percent of new clients, email is closer to 8 percent.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) was also found to be higher among email than social media. CLV refers to the future profit a company believes it can earn from a customer throughout their relationship.
  • Email also helps B2B marketers meet other obstacles with better results. A study by MarketingProfs found that the biggest challenge for B2B marketing professionals was lead generation. Unfortunately for social media, it was still well behind email marketing and numerous other methods on a scale of effectiveness.

In other words, email marketing not only acquires more leads and clients, but also more profitable ones. The Act-On survey also showed that email outpaces some of its more traditional competitors. For example, of the top two marketing campaigns contributing to the sales pipeline, email marketing is No. 1, 10 percent ahead of trade shows and events. However, email also has some years on the other technologies, and social media could catch up fast. Most marketers will see benefit from varying their marketing tactics and continuing to embrace new tools.

The new challenges facing email marketing as users go mobile
In an ironic twist, mobile marketing technology both helps and hinders the power of email campaigns. One effective technique is the ability to send offers directly a potential client's phone. Consumers are checking email on their phones at an increased rate, and using the devices to stay better connected to the office.

  • The Pros: Sending information to the inbox is a more direct form of contact than social media posts. It also allows for more personal communication and the ability to send specific offers to entice movement through the sales funnel.
  • The Cons: Not all marketers are able to keep up with changing mobile technology. According to Forbes, 40 percent of emails are now viewed on smartphones. That's good news, if the message looks as dynamic when viewed on mobile devices as it does on desktops. If an email renders poorly or is difficult to read, 70 percent of consumers will unsubscribe.

While social isn't in the top spot, it's a very close second
Social media  was right behind email in both use of the technology (72 percent) and most implemented campaign (71 percent). Regardless of what the studies say, it is undeniable that social media has a very unique ability to interact directly with clients. Through comments and check-ins on Facebook to retweets on Twitter, marketers can very easily watch and track the success of campaigns.

The question that some marketers are still asking is, "is social actually an effective tool?" Based on a survey from the marketing firm Pagemodo, most marketers still have faith, but haven't seen the results they would like. Of those investing in social media, 64 percent said they believe it will eventually produce a return on investment and 20 percent said that they have already seen a measurable ROI. Even if ROI is low on social, so is the original investment. This is likely a big draw for marketers that are facing budget restrictions. Use of social media platforms is essentially free – although that is changing in some regards – so many marketers can't justify ignoring it.

Marketers still face challenges, old and new
The biggest obstacles that marketers identified for the Act-On survey were a lack budgetary resources to launch more programs, trouble implementing social media campaigns and access to the resources needed to manage campaigns.

An interesting note is that of the concerns regarding marketing technology, time was a greater one than cost. While 36 percent were worried about the price of marketing tools, 44 percent felt they were too time consuming. The good news is that many tools, such as those used for content marketing, are becoming more marketer-friendly. Less reliance on IT should eventually reduce time issues, and cloud-based marketing software can lower costs.

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.