Email Should Be Personable

Email ranks as the best-performing marketing channel per dollar spent, but email marketers should not forget the importance of complementing their campaigns with personalized outreach.

Face-to-face requests may be as much as 34 times more effective than email, according to a new Canadian research study. Mahdi Roghanizad, a professor at Huron University College Department of Management and Organization Studies, partnered with Vanessa Bohns, a professor at the University of Waterloo, to evaluate the persuasiveness of email versus in-person meetings.

Forty-five study participants each asked ten strangers to fill out a brief survey, for a total of 450 strangers polled. Every participant worded their request in exactly the same way, but half of the participants made their requests over email, while the other mad their requests face-to-face.



The researchers released the results of their study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, revealing that in-person meetings are significantly more persuasive than email messages. On average, only .3 in 10 people participated in the survey over email, while 8 out of 10 people agreed to take the survey in-person.

Emailing strangers with a request is ill-advised, especially considering the high rate of phishing scams that may make email users less likely to engage with communication from unknown sources. That said, the Canadian research study raises some interesting points about digital communication.

Email and text-based messages such as SMS are convenient and fast, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the most effective form of communication. Obviously face-to-face communication is not always reasonable in a global economy, but making digital communication more personalized will always be a winning marketing strategy.


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