Tweet this; social media may not be the best way to acquire customers online.

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Social media is all the buzz. Marketers are scrambling to harness the power that sites like Twitter and Facebook offer. So if you want to effectively market online, you had better get on the bandwagon. Not so fast, suggests a recent report from ForeSee Results , a leader in online customer satisfaction measurement headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The report findings are based on data, collected in the spring of 2009, from more than 22,000 respondents who had visited the top 100 online retail sites within the previous two weeks. According to the report, the most effective means by which e-tailers influence purchasing decisions was familiarity with the brand. It makes sense that if you’re shopping online, the first place you will go to buy are the brands you are already familiar with. These findings suggest that branding and brand perception are main triggers that drive traffic and purchasing decisions. That means more traditional forms of advertising and marketing are the primary driver for customer aqcuisition. The next two major factors that drive customer acquisition are tried-and-true online strategies like promotional e-mail and Internet advertising. Sounds boring, but these tactics bring in the customers. But how does that compare with social media? According to the report,

“the most lucrative website traffic is still coming from promotional emails and Internet advertising rather than from the latest trendy social networking sites. It will be important for each individual site to monitor the quality of its own various aquistiion sources in order to get the best return on investment.

This may be because social media marketing strategies are fairly new and is unfamiliar territory for many online buyers. As social media grows, I believe this tactic will gain more traction in the arena of customer acquisition.

To download the ForeSee Results, “Online Customer Aquisition: Quality Trumps Quantity” click here.

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