With "mocial," a new industry term to refer to mobile, social, and local forms of communication, growing in popularity, email still plays a crucial role in delivering highly relevant, personalized, and behavior-driven messages, according to a new study released today by Silverpop.
The study found that, on average, respondents' email list sizes trump their number of Facebook likes 70 to one and surpasses Twitter followers 90 to one.
"Email's greatest strength is in that one-to-one engagement," explains Loren McDonald, vice president of industry relations at Silverpop. "Social is more of a mass engagement that can be used to develop that one-to-one engagement."
Silverpop polled more than 500 online marketers as part of the survey, which was implemented to gain a better understanding of how marketers are currently using and plan to use mocial channels to communicate with customers. The results showed varying levels of mocial adoption and pinpointed several areas in which there is room for growth.
Among the areas for growth is the use of social and mobile to drive email opt-ins. "On your Facebook page you can add a link that takes [site visitors] to an opt-in page where they can check a box if they want to receive email or text messages from you," McDonald says.
Companies can also do more with preference centers to connect with channel-choosy customers and prospects. In this way, customers can click on a link that takes them to a page where they can change and update their profiles, how and when they like to receive messages, and the types of messages they want to receive, McDonald says.
He also points to the potential of local check-in campaigns to drive business. With this type of campaign, a customer's mobile device automatically alerts a merchant every time he enters a store. The merchant could then push a coupon or some other offer to the customer. This particular program, though, is still not widely used because "not a lot of companies have figured out how to do it yet," McDonald says.
Other key findings of the study include the following:
- More than 75 percent of the marketers polled stated that their campaigns are only somewhat "mocially" integrated or not at all integrated;
- Twitter and Facebook dominate the social scene, while only 4 percent of respondents are currently using location-based services, such as Foursquare and Gowalla, in their marketing efforts;
- Only 10 percent of respondents indicated the option of an email opt-in on their Facebook pages, but 38 percent plan to do so;
- Only 4 percent of respondents currently offer email opt-in via SMS and another 13 percent plan to do so;
- 33 percent of respondents have a mobile app, and another 30 percent plan to offer one by 2012.
The research also suggested that though many companies think they are running integrated marketing campaigns, many of them really aren't. "You should be using email to promote your presence on the Web and social media, and vice-versa," McDonald says. "If we can get prospects to engage with us across channels, the more valuable they are to us as customers. But you need to make sure you&'re providing these channels to people who use and prefer them.
"Marketers know their audiences are accessing information on many different channels, and our research reveals that they are, for the most part, using all of these channels, but are still missing out on the amazing benefits that full and strategic integration can deliver," McDonald says. "While mocial is still in the early stages, the opportunities are tremendous.
"If someone likes you or 'friends' you, don&'t stop there. Get them on your email lists," he continues. "Use these other channels to grow your email database."