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Report: Email is Better Than Facebook or Twitter for Acquiring New Customers

When it comes to customer acquisition through direct-marketing channels, email has proven to be more effective than social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

A new report from predictive analytics firm Custora found that customer acquisition via email has quadrupled since 2009 and now accounts for 7.5 percent of all acquired customers. 

As has been the case, the survey -- which analyzed data from 72 million customers shopping on 86 different retailer sites -- found that organic search results are still the most effective customer acquisition tool, accounting for 16 percent. Customers who arrive at a brand from an organic search are 54 percent more likely than average to stick with a particular brand, the report said. On the other hand, customers acquired through Twitter are much more fickle and are 23 percent less likely than average to stay brand-loyal.

"Email is one of the only platform-independent contact mediums out there," says Mike Veilleux, director of email product at Dyn, a Manchester, N.H.-based internet infrastructure and email delivery service. "Essentially, it doesn't matter what region or decade you grew up, at some point you probably acquired an email address and you can use it to contact any other email address out there."

When it comes to acquiring customers over email, Veilleux's recommends keeping these basics top-of-mind:

Related: 4 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Emails

1. Make sure your email content stands out.
The goal is to convert an email address on a list into a returning customer. Veilleux says it's important to make your message stand out and to keep meticulous track of how customers respond to direct marketing efforts.

"Since mailbox providers have the difficult challenge of filtering out spam, make it easy for them to know that your email is not spam," Veilleux says. "Longer subject lines that avoid the normal spam words, but give an overview of various offers or contents of the message help. If your email contains three different items, make sure to mention them all to grab the reader's attention."

2. Track your results.
By getting to know their customers, effective email marketers can leverage their existing customer base to hone and develop more effective strategies and ultimately grow their business.

It's important to know who your customers when and what a particular customer last purchased, how that purchase was driven and if and when a customer opened and clicked on a company's last email.

"You want to track customer behavior when acquiring new customers both to gain the most out of that user and to get more users like them," Veilleux says. "You'll want to know what interests that user has in order to deliver more similar interests in the future."

3. Create an open line of communication.
Make sure you're marketing in a way that allows your recipients to speak to you, Veilleux says.

"It's very seldom the original idea, proposal or concept that ends up making the most money," he says. "Listening to your users will allow you adapt as you test out various concepts. Maybe you tried sending twice in the same day, or offering an accessory to the product you usually offer. Having that feedback is important as you grow and adapt your business."

Related: How to Write Better Email Subject Lines
 

Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.

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