The Future of Email Marketing in a Social World

You've Got Mail

You've Got Mail

As we move toward a more social world, one to one communication is becoming prevalent. A consumers expectation is that they can ask a question at any time, in any space and receive an answer.

As consumers become more demanding, their tolerance to marketing is also changing.

Broadcasting is Dead

Broadcast marketing is failing to provide the returns it has in the past. Whether this be banner ads, price comparison or even the algorithm driven emails from Amazon. Consumers now expect to be recognised when returning to a site, if something is not tailored to their requirements it is easily dismissed.

It’s no wonder then that email is failing to deliver for some. You cannot have the one to one communication we have all come to expect from within a broadcast medium.

Recommendation Rules

In a world of recommendation and reviews, what your friends buy is more of a factor in your next purchase decision than a weekly email from an online retailer. But we cannot just let email pass us by, surely? It maybe be a mass market, broadcast medium, but many marketeers still live from their lists.

Build Relationships

The difference is not whether we use email, but how we use it. Automation is out, personalisation is a minimum expectation. Email becomes part of the overall conversation. Before you can expect a sale you need to build trust, before trust, you need to establish a relationship. Filling in a request to receive your newsletter does not qualify as a relationship.

Social Media forms the building blocks of that relationship, from the Tweet, to the blog, then to the email where we can carry on the conversation. And this is the real point, email becomes part of the conversation, leading to the sale.

When I check my inbox now, there are few email marketing newsletters. Most emails are addressed to me, by this I mean personalised, their content is either of interest now or was at some point in the recent past. Most of the information I now consume is on demand from the web or via RSS.

There is one email, though, that I look forward to getting each Monday. I even pay $9.99 a month for the privilege of receiving it. This is a rare exception, and I don’t know many that can charge for an email newsletter other than Chris Brogan. In this case the trust and relationship was built over many years.

So is email dead? Yes and no.

It is in the form we have been using it. It still remains a cost effective way to reach large numbers of people so mass marketeers will continue to use it. To maximise it’s effectiveness it does need to become part of your overall strategy.

How are you using email marketing?

About Sean Clark

Building successful online companies since 1999, we help you market your business online. Whether you need help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search (PPC) or Social Media Marketing call us today on 01603 343477 for a free initial consultation.

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  • All good points, definitely, but have you seen the results of the recent SeeWhy.com survey into conversion sources? http://seewhy.com/blog/2011/05/18/website-traffic-source-analysis/

    Could be a case of lies, damn lies and statistics, but judging by those numbers, targeted, permission-based email marketing is still a pretty effective channel, when it’s used properly.

  • @926e6b09186e49c1d51c791915d0d17b:disqus Good point, I think I got carried away on that point and have adjusted accordingly. Thanks.