Social media is a great tool for connecting with customers and engaging them, but it’s only one tool in your chest and each social channel has strengths and weaknesses. Overall, email continues to be the most effective channel for generating leads online.

A new study among ad agencies reported by eMarketer, backs that up with some very interesting figures. Remember our recent post comparing content marketing to a bicycle wheel, describing your blog as your hub? Well, some of the figures in this report suppport that strategy. According to the ad agencies surveyed, a blog is the most effective tool for generating leads for 27% of respondents, followed closely by email newsletters at 23%.

Now, it is interesting that only 41% of client side marketers report they actually follow such blogs, but as eMarketer notes, the reported lead gen effectiveness might just be due to leads originating from the blog are more qualified.

So what about the client side? What is their channel preference when being contacted by an agency? At 79%, email is the overwhelming preference among client side decision makers. Social barely ranks with LinkedIn coming behind the phone at only 16%.

Social has to be part of a multi-channel approach to online marketing. Use each channel depending on the strengths it possesses and cross-promote among them. At the core of that approach should be your blog and your email marketing campaigns.