If it were up to customers, how would marketing messages be delivered?
That’s a worthwhile question for service providers who want to remain in their clients’ good graces. Message Systems performed a study using Google Consumer Surveys to discover answers.
The survey polled 500 adults, all internet users in the US, and asked them about their preferences for interacting with companies for marketing communications that shared offers and special deals as well as handling customer service issues.
Unsurprisingly, just over half (50.08%) of survey participants indicated they’d rather not be exposed to marketing communications via any means. Among the other half email was the big winner, with 25.08% of respondents selecting the medium as their preferred vehicle for receiving special offers and ads.
The runners-up might surprise you: Text came in second, with roughly 9%. Snail mail was next at 7.15%, followed by social media at 5.29% and push notification with 3.38%.
While this may not thrill marketers, the message is an important one: Keep a strong focus on email but be extremely vigilant about removing customers who unsubscribe. Happy clients can easily become hostile ex-clients if their desire to maintain freedom from marketing messages is not respected.
Losing subscribers isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, because many may be happy to do business with the firm but simply don’t want to face an inbox full of offers to read and keep track of. These unwilling recipients are helping you create efficient, effective mailing lists by sharing their preference to unsubscribe.
And social media, which has proven to be a highly productive venue for interacting with clients, is less popular when it comes to promoting the firm in a sales context. Put social media efforts into building rapport and sharing information rather than going for the hard sell in that space.
When it comes to non-emergency customer service email is again the winner, with 31.79% of respondents selecting the medium as their first choice for communication. Telephone is a close second at 29.43%, with other taking third (22.46%). Online chat (9.41%) and social media (6.92%) came in last as favored channels for customer service communications.
This survey has some important limitations to note. It involved only 500 participants and more importantly, it was not focused on accounting or even professional services in general. That said, it still carries useful message for firms:
- Turn to email for self-promotion, special offers and sales pitches.
- Pay careful attention to keep email lists up-to-date and respect unsubscribe requests.
- Use social media platforms to build connection, respect and trust, not to sell services.
By following these guidelines, your firm will have the best chance of making a positive impression on your audience wherever you connect.