Most brands have used email marketing for years as part of their marketing communications programs. For brands that don’t sell directly to consumers, email was an early form of social networking, seeking to establish dialogue with consumers, and providing content that customers would want to forward to their friends. With the rapid growth of Facebook and other social tools, brand marketers have asked if email is still relevant. My answer is a hearty YES! I thought I would share the articles that led me to this conclusion. My comments relate to brands that do not transact business online, and use email for brand building.
1. Email is still an important component of brand communication strategy and should be integrated with everything else in the marketing mix. “Email [is] the connective tissue in the media mix based on the ubiquity of its use, the amount of time people use email throughout the day, and the ability for marketers to proactively communicate with their customers through the medium. ….Focus not only on how email can integrate with social and mobile platforms, but how it can be integrated with traditional media as well.”
.. EMail insider: The State Of Email Marketing
2. Mobile access and social inboxes must be addressed in email design and content. Your words matter even more when many recipients receive your message in plain text. The good news is, SMS copy development will also benefit from the increased emphasis on words over images.
..EMail Insider: How Email Marketing Will Evolve In 2011
3. Email can now focus on engagement and deep brand relationships, and let social networks and mobile tactics do the heavy lifting of recruiting. Once someone signs up for email, you know they really want to hear from the brand, so the brand email strategies can focus on identifying consumer interests and needs, and delivering content to meet the need.
..EMail Insider: Email Trends For 2011 And Beyond
4. Helpful ideas for making social and email work together:
..Archive email newsletters online and post links to them on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to extend the reach of that communication
..Include links from blog posts or YouTube videos in an email newsletter to encourage subscribers to explore new social media efforts
..Add newsletter subscription links to social sites through blog badges, Facebook applications, or HTML
..IMedia Connection: How to turn casual connections into passionate customers
5. Statistics that reinforce the continued importance of email: Folks that are heavy users of social channels are also heavy users of email. 58 percent of online consumers check their email first as they begin their day, compared to the 11 percent who start their day by checking Facebook. Email dominates time spent on mobile devices and computers.
..NielsenWire: Is Social Media Impacting How Much We Email?
..IMedia Connection: Are your consumers Facebook-first or email-first?
..EMarketer: EMail Dominates Mobile Web Time
Email is alive and well, and is important component of any Social CRM program. As the perhaps less glamorous older sister of social networking, email has the wisdom of years, and can help the younger siblings understand how to create, execute and measure communications to build strong and enduring consumer relationships.