I used extended lists on the weekend to attract more responses to the survey exploring most effective marketing methods beyond word of mouth (referral) and repeat business. These lists don’t meet the “request to be included” criteria and so (gulp) could be considered as spam (and would be, in Canada, if I used them just a few weeks from now under new Canadian anti-spam laws.) However, the US rules are different — spam is legal if you identify yourself and provide a cancellation option. (Many service providers such as MailChimp and Constant Contact will not allow you to use their services for this type of broadcast email, but I have a backup service that allows it.)
Not surprisingly, response rates for this type of mailing are dismally low, and the risk of using spam-type techniques is high for my reputation. I weighed these considerations against the fact the survey has nothing to sell and an immediate reward for participants — the live results. The approximately 20 additional responses from this broadcast email also have provided some additional clues and increased sample size, though the results are still not scientific.
Nevertheless, if you look at the chart, you can see that virtually all marketing methods work for some AEC businesses, but the highest results occur through association/community group participation (at about 36 per cent). (The survey invites viewers to check any option that has worked in the past year, so businesses could select more than one option.)
Social media ranks second, (25.8 per cent), notable in that this tool didn’t exist just a few years ago. SEO and shows and events are tied for third at approximately 20 per cent.
The sample is still too small to draw too many true conclusions here, and if you segment things to specific areas/types of business, the results would not be conclusive. I’ll continue promoting and encouraging responses to the survey to see if we can attract more responses (and you can participate here).
However, we can learn two things from the results we see so far:
Most marketing methods work for some businesses. If you aren’t currently focusing energies on association/community participation, you might consider the option as it may provide the highest probability for success. Stay tuned.