Even as marketers continue to find the “hits” in promotions via viral programs on social media like FaceBook and Twitter, many marketers are still finding that email marketing is still the king at driving online sales. This just written up by eMarketer.

In the study, eMarketer suggests that email marketing was the number one channel consumers prefer to receive promotions on, followed by direct mail, and text/SMS messages coming in third.

Only 9% of respondents considered social media as the best way to send them promotions.

We believe the rationale for this is pretty simple. Social media is a very personal dialog. When a promotion is essentially “lobbed” at someone who goes into the medium looking specifically for a more intimate experience with closer connection, the promotion falls short of the experience.

Therefore, Brands need to be careful to incorporate promotions into a more engaging and relevant, personal dialog. While this is similar to the principles of email which include “relevancy, anticipation, and offering value.” Most enterprise class email marketing software platforms also allow a greater degree of customization, segmentation, and targeting than social media currently makes feasible.

Most importantly, we look to the actual measurable consumer behavior. Using email as a promotions vehicle is a behavior consumers exhibit. Plain and simple, they’ve learned and adopted this behavior over the past 10-12 years. Social media while reaching or surpassing the overall volume of consumers that use it, still has some catching up to do in the critical behavioral element when it comes to promotions.

Marketers that test across both email marketing and social media channels do well, those that forgo the money maker that direct email marketing has become to focus only on social outlets tend to miss a major revenue opportunity.