Corporate Eye

Email Is the Most Effective Marketing Channel for Local Merchants

surf shopNearly three out of four (71%) local merchants believe that email marketing is the most effective marketing channel for their businesses. That number comes from the 2013 Online Marketing Trends Merchant Survey from Daily Deal Media, which surveyed nearly 14,000 U.S.-based merchants between July and September 2013.

Respondents to the 42 survey questions came from 10 different categories, with most in the e-commerce, retail shopping, and restaurants and bars categories. Overall, only 17% of respondents indicated that they are completely satisfied with their marketing efforts, and only 11% are satisfied with their websites.

Local merchants face multiple challenges in the online marketing space. For example, 67% of respondents don’t know how to measure the effectiveness of their online marketing campaigns, and 83% don’t know how to measure the impact of social media on their businesses.

Given the fact that 67% of respondents have annual marketing budgets of less than $5,000, it’s not surprising that they’re not getting the results they need from online marketing. 81% of respondents want simple, non-expensive marketing tools. However, online marketing needs to be prioritized, particularly since 19% of respondents reported that social media reviews are hurting their businesses.

These local merchants know they need help, but Daily Deal Media explains they’re, “overburdened with the latest online marketing tools, struggle to adapt to mobile, and are contacted on average over five times per week by companies pitching online marketing or social media products and services.” For 42% of respondents to this survey, vendor trust is a big issue for online marketing.

Local merchants need help, and savvy marketing agencies will find a way to provide them with the help they need at an affordable price. In the meantime, corporations with local franchises and brick-and-mortar storefronts need to be sensitive to the challenges local merchants face in online marketing. What works for corporate marketing isn’t going to work at the local level, and it’s easy to forget that local marketing, both online and offline, is more important than ever. Those bad reviews about local merchants reflect on the corporate brand, too.

We live in the age of instant gratification, personalization, and customization. All three of those things need to happen at the local level through targeted marketing efforts to truly build brand loyalty and advocacy.

You can follow the link above to purchase the complete study report.

Image: Jenny W.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.