Monday, 03 December 2012 14:48

Customers prefer email, it's official

Written by Elizabeth Smythe

Email communication has been the ranked number one by consumers as their preferred method of communication with businesses, reports.

A study by customer service consultancy, Portal has found that email marketing continues to be favoured by consumers and businesses alike, pushing social media interactions to the foot of the list. It topped the poll in 2010 and 2011, but with the proliferation of mobile devices, some thought that email's star might be on the wane - the survey revealed that's far from the case.

The consultancy asked 500 British consumers to rank their preferred communication channels when dealing with businesses. Over was said that they liked to interact through email, after all, it's quick, easy and direct. A fifth still liked to pick up the phone but just two per cent of those polled said that they liked to interact through social media networks.

When asked the same question, a third of business respondents chose email, while only three per cent actively chose to contact consumers through Facebook or Twitter.

Businesses should not be lulled into a false state of security over the results, however. While email marketing is one of the most efficient channels, in addition to its popularity, done poorly, it can do more damage than good.

With that in mind, email marketing expert Christine Brady suggests that success is all in the design. Writing for, she suggests that adding some email 'eye candy' could help attract readers' attention.

Ms Brady emphasises the importance of personalisation and a eye-catching headline to preface the message. She suggests adding intrigue by using ellipses, constructing messages into small paragraphs for easy digestion and considering HTML rather than text as they 'look better'.

"If ever there was a time to focus on email design as well as the actual message, that time is right now," she adds. "Most times, it's not what you say, it's how you say it."