The reports of email's death at the hands of social media are greatly exaggerated, though the flagrant indiscretion of daily and hourly blasts to random addresses has caused many to take the word ‘email' in vain. Valuable, yes; misused, yes; does it have a future, yes; will social media push it aside, no.
The current global economic crisis has hit everyone in different ways, and with respect to email marketing, the crisis has forced many marketing managers, through pressure from their CEO to increase visibility, sales, and revenues, to set-up the distribution of emails to their control lists. The increased "peppering" of emails has caused many people to become discouraged when someone asks them for their email address; a company may see an increase in subscribers opting for the unsubscribe button, or in some cases, reporting the senders email address to the ISP's as spam.
Even with an increase in unsolicited emails, email marketing is still one of the strongest mediums to connect with and drive your message to a customer. If a relationship exists between the sender and receiver then, when you personalize the message, the chance that the message will be read increases. When a customer provides a company with their email address, the company should guard that address and treat the relationship with the utmost respect. If a company abuses the trust conferred by the customer, then the company may lose more than just one relationship, they may lose countless others via negative word-of-mouth communications.
Concerning social media, email marketing is not going to be replaced by social media. In a good marketing plan, there should be an understanding on how your clients' use different channels, while each channel feeds off the other to create a composite message for your client. As noted, email marketing is still a critical one-to-one medium, and if it is used with the same respect that was granted by the customer when they provided their address, then the value of the communications increases. Social media is what its name denotes, it is social. The communication is different between clients when using social media.
A valuable analysis that a company should do is to monitor the threads of conversations that take place within the various social media. A company may be able to focus their email marketing to respond to one or more of the social media conversations; they may be able to delve into the discussion points and provide valuable information and insight.
Social media and email should complement each other with the email containing social media icons, and the social media channels driving clients to sign-up for email notifications. While email can set the table through the one-to-one communications with the client, social media provides a vehicle for real time communication.
Advancing your email's acceptance will require a review of the different mediums that your clients' use to view their emails. For example, mobile devices will require a specially formatted email so that it is not truncated, different operating systems and different versions of Microsoft Outlook process email formats in different ways. Thus, if you are using a full featured email marketing solution (ex. CoolerEmail, Constant Contact, etc.) to process and track your emails, then you should be collecting data with regards to the mediums that clients are using to view your emails.
You may not be able to be all to everyone, but you can optimize your communication format to meet the predominant mediums. With the explosion of smartphones, many clients will view an email in two different formats, one on their phone, and later on their computer.
If the majority of your clients are initially viewing their email on their smartphones, then the content needs to be very targeted versus if it is initially being viewed on a computer where you can be more robust in the content that is delivered.
Regardless of the medium your client is using to view their email, email marketing has not been killed off at the hands of social media. In fact, it continues to be a critical element in the overall marketing strategy. The challenges are: 1) to balance how often you communicate with your client list, 2) review the different mediums that your clients' use to view their emails so that you can optimize your presence and increase your readability, and 3) make sure that your message is communicating what your clients are "talking about", that is, monitor your social media conversations.
So, is email valuable, yes; is it misused, that is up to the person sending the email; does it have a future, of course, but only if you continue to understand your client base; and will social media push it aside, absolutely not. In fact, in a strong marketing plan, email and social media can and should coexist.
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© September 2011. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.