Businesses Promoting Social Networks Through E-Mails, Study Finds

A survey of cost-conscious businesses by Implix finds more companies are utilizing social networking tools to personalize business e-mails and using video e-mail marketing.

A survey of small and midsize businesses conducted by e-mail marketing specialist Implix found that SMB marketers are becoming increasingly convinced of the benefits of video e-mail, social media and personalization or targeting. More than 80 percent of respondents plan to use video e-mails in 2010 and more than 90 percent of SMB marketers plan to integrate social media into their e-mail campaigns this year. Almost 64 percent of SMB marketers who use video e-mails claimed that it delivers significant increases in conversion rates.

The company conducted the online survey in January and February 2010. The study asked more than 200 SMB e-mail marketers from a wide range of business sectors and countries to share their opinions regarding hot topics such as video e-mails, social media integration and the "war on inbox clutter." In general, the results show that the SMB marketer's toolkit is looking more sophisticated and media-rich than at any time in recent history, thanks to user-friendly and affordable online tools.

Simon Grabowski, founder of the company's GetResponse e-mail marketing platform, said they were pleasantly surprised at the major uptick in SMB marketers planning to use video e-mail marketing and social media integration in 2010. "According to our 2009 study, video e-mails delivered close to a 100 percent increase in click-through rates, so we know it works and expected the increase in use," he said. "But the 480 percent increase in planned video e-mail use surprised even us."

More than 50 percent of respondents stated that video e-mails could increase click-through rates (CTR). One of three marketers believes that video can enhance brand image and/or increase customer loyalty. More than 20 percent of marketers believe that video e-mails can also reduce support and training costs. Only 4.7 percent e-mail marketers do not see any benefits from using video e-mails. Nearly 75 percent of marketers claim that behavioral targeting could result in significant or moderate increases in e-mail marketing effectiveness. Only 2.8 percent did not consider behavioral targeting an effective practice.

The survey found a 113 percent increase in use of links to new messages on social media pages and a 109 percent increase in use of sign-up forms on social networking sites such as Facebook fan pages. Survey results showed 88.8 percent would increase share options and 71 percent more would place "follow us" links in e-mail messages. More than half (53 percent) percent of SMB respondents said they intend to increase targeting and personalization in 2010; 52 percent said they would try to improve e-mail title and subject line personalization.

"Today's marketers are mindful of the importance of delivering relevant content and one-to-one messaging based on preferences and behaviors. It's all about putting the "human element" back into marketing through the use of video and social media conversations," Grabowski said. "Combining these interactive techniques promises to be a very successful strategy for our SMB customers."