June 2, 2011, 10:03 AM

Small business owners say e-mail works better than social media

68% of small business owners prefer e-mail over other forms of marketing.

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More small business owners prefer e-mail marketing to other channels, such as social media and direct mail, according to a new survey from Pitney Bowes Inc., a software and shipping services provider.

68% of survey respondents said they use e-mail most often as a marketing tool, with social media and direct mail trailing. Overall, 58% of the business owners surveyed market across multiple channels.

“Companies are discovering that a combination of marketing channels is most effective in reaching prospects and customers,” says Debra Thompson-Van, Pitney Bowes’ vice president of marketing. That said, 51% of respondents said they will not boost their multichannel marketing efforts because of limited resources and time.

While e-mail is the most popular marketing tool for the small business owners who took part in the survey, social media appears poised to make gains, according to the report. Social media is the most popular new marketing channel for small business owners, with 20% of survey respondents saying they are beginning to use it. By contrast, only 12% of respondents have recently added mobile marketing, which includes two-dimensional bar codes known as Quick Response, or QR, codes.  2-D bar codes, which appear as small squares with a design within, can contain much more information and link to the mobile web, unlike their 1-D counterparts.

Overall, 76% of survey respondents said their ideal marketing mix includes a combination of physical and digital communications, Pitney Bowes says.

Pitney Bowes based its findings on an online survey conducted between April 20 and April 27 of 500 U.S. adults who own businesses with no more than 99 employees.

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