Posted April 9, 2012 7:45 am by with 0 comments

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When we think about sharing content, we usually think of Facebook and Twitter. Just take a look to the left of this post and you’ll see a pretty typical display of one-click buttons for all of the major social networks.

So, would it surprise you to know that more people share by email than by Facebook?

That’s the result ExactTarget got when they surveyed folks for their 2012 Channel Preference Survey.

When you combine the age brackets, 63% of people use email to share content and only 33% say they put it on Facebook. Only 5% on Twitter.

The only time social media rules is with the 15-17 age group, so keep that in mind if this is your target audience. For everyone else, it looks like it’s time to revisit email as part of your marketing campaign.

Email is also the chosen one when it comes to preferred method of contact. 77% of people said they want emails from companies they’re interested in. Direct mail, on the other hand, came in only at 9%, so save the stamp.

Email was also the first place people looked for deals from companies they already know. Company websites came in second.

Noticing a trend here?

According to ExactTarget, the only place email has declined is as a method of personal communication (45% vs 66% in 2008). Text messaging is up (36% vs 16% in 2008), as is social networking posting (13% vs 3% in 2008).

Let’s get back to social sharing.

The logic follows that many people prefer not to advertise their interests in public. They worry about security. They worry about getting targeted with spam and some simply don’t think other people need to know their business.

This isn’t bad news for marketers. Compare these two scenarios. A popular mom blogger posts a one-liner shout-out for your company on her Facebook. The same mom blogger sends a thought-out email with a coupon to five of her friends.

In the first case, you get the scattershot effect. Lots of eyeballs but that message will be off the radar in a few hours. In the second case, the message is personal, it contains an incentive and it will sit in the inbox until the recipient is ready to read it and act on it. Pros and cons to both sides.

Here’s one more stat. 91% of people say they check email everyday and that’s more than any other means of communication.

Social media is great, no doubt. But if you’ve cut down on your email marketing, particularly to current customers, you’re missing out.

Want more details? Read the full ExactTarget 2012 Channel Preferences Survey. It’s free.