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The 2014 Email Census revealed that email marketing surpassed SEO for ROI, making it a much-loved channel for marketers. But a recent MarketingSherpa study revealed that consumers favor it too! In fact, only 18% of consumers’ emails are actually personal, and 53% are promotional.

Consumers prefer to hear from companies via email

Recent research by MarketingSherpa looked at how consumers prefer to receive marketing communications, reviewing both traditional channels (TV, print, phone calls) and digital channels (email, social media, online ads). While traditional channels surprisingly outperformed some of the digital ones, email came on top. It was voted the preferred method of communication by 72% of respondents.

Marketing Sherpa Channel Preference study

Image reproduced from Marketing Sherpa’s Channel Preference study

What types of emails are in consumers’ inboxes?

Meanwhile, Return Path’s State of the Inbox Q4 2014 showed that only 18% of consumers’ email is actually personal. The rest is divided between commercial or transactional messages (29%), and promotional messages (53%).

Return Path published this research after analyzing 2 million emails in the October-December period. It also looked at the number of daily emails received, with almost half of consumers only receiving 5 or fewer emails.

What does this mean for email marketers?

These two studies help marketers make the case for using email in your marketing mix strategy. Not only does it provide the best ROI, customers love it as a marketing communications channel.

However, this also means that the channel is crowded with competitor messages, so it’s more important than ever to make sure your message is relevant, and targeted to your audience. Batch and blast is no longer an option in an inbox where 82% ¬†of messages come from brands.

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