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Websites, blogs and social media are perceived to be effective channels through which to market content to prospective customers, according to a report from Ascend2 [download page]. But none are quite as popular as email, which can be integral to respondents’ content marketing strategies that primarily seek to improve lead quality and conversion rates.

The survey captured the attitudes of 224 marketers around the world, the vast majority of whom have a B2B element, either as their primary focus (55%) or in tandem with B2C (22%).

Fully 82% of respondents indicated that email is one the most effective channels they use for marketing content to prospective customers. That was far ahead of the only other two channels to earn a majority response: social media (54%) and websites/blogs (51%).

The support for email as a content distribution channel is in line with other research on this topic. Last year, studies from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found both B2B and B2C marketers citing email as their most effective format for distributing content.

While email is a traditional digital workhorse, marketers aren’t remaining static in its use. Instead, they’re innovating with it in a number of ways, including through more creative use of behavioral triggers and by employing automation to enable 1-to-1 communication.

What to Distribute via Email?

If email is so effective, what types of digital content should marketers – particularly B2B in this case – look to produce for email distribution?

There was far less consensus in these responses, with most digital content types grouped fairly closely.

Nonetheless, videos/motion graphics emerged at the top of the heap, just ahead of webinars and events, with research and ebooks following.

A growing body of research (pun intended) is touting the effectiveness of research-based content. It has been deemed by some the most effective form of digital content, and has previously been seen to be the most effective type of content by Ascend2 survey respondents.

The other content types at the top of the heap have also been praised in other research. Webinars, which B2B buyers consider very valuable, are perceived to be quite effective by B2B marketers in generating leads at the top of the funnel.

Video, for its part, has been gaining plenty of traction in recent years, and B2B audiences are engaging more with this content type.

The only digital content type not to see much enthusiasm in the Ascend2 survey? Infographics, whose excitement from a few years back seems to have tempered over time…

The full report is available for download here.

About the Data: The Ascend2 survey was conducted in August 2018 among 224 marketing influencers. More than half (55%) said that B2B was their primary marketing channel, and another 22% said they target B2B and B2C equally. The remaining quarter (23%) count B2C as their primary marketing channel.

About one-third (35%) of respondents come from companies with more than 500 employees, and three-quarters from companies with at least 50 employees.

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