Many years ago we designed and started to build an email marketing program much like the Emma’s and Constant Contacts of today. We got it launched and off the ground and had users sending many thousands of emails per month. Eventually, better funded companies built them faster and better and we migrated our clients to our agency accounts and abandoned ours to the digital trash heap. But we learned a lot through this experience.
First off, was that email marketing was this huge, great new tool to get your message out to the masses. And it worked. And it was simple because that’s about all there was at the time.
SEO and SEM weren’t being focused on and of course no one had blogs, feeds or social networks, so if you were emailing to a list once or twice a month, you were doing pretty well. And it was a simple decision when you compared direct mail costs to the pennies you could spend on a per-send fee for email. Email was king, and it could be just about the only marketing you did online after building a website to be successful.
But now, in this world of heavy duty social media, does email marketing fit?
Here are 4 reasons why I think it’s less effective than it used to be.
- As great an alternative to direct mail email was, and at fractions of a cent per send, it’s potentially a higher cost per acquisition compared to Social Networking.
- Email marketing still requires more interaction on the user’s end to sign up and be in a space where they can read a more in depth email. It’s a push method that requires the user first sign up for it and then to open it in their email.
- Users don’t sit in their email program all day. They sit in social networking sites. You need to push your message/product/service to where the users are.
- About 10% of users* (and growing) are accessing websites via mobile devices. Your messaging (and websites) need to start being tailored to mobile devices with short, succinct messages and effective designs that fit and enhance the User Experience.
An example is Mashable’s daily update email. It has neither a link to a mobile version nor a mobile stylesheet and it difficult to read on a smart phone.
Meanwhile, Apple’s email is much simpler and in the portrait format is a little hard to read, but still doable, and in landscape format is very easy (Mashable still doesn’t work well in landscape unless you zoom in). More on these in another post.
The point being that email now needs to be compatible with smartphones and integrated into social media to be most effective. Also, fonts in your email matter to make sure your emails are as readable as possible. Click here to learn more from DesignRush.
When email was all there is, you had to use it and it was all there was. Now that there are other social media channels, you need to find the right balance for all of your marketing efforts. Email marketing should probably fit into your marketing mix, but figuring out that mix is key. When you find the right mix, your marketing plans should, and will, be complementary of each other and work together for increased acquisition and conversion.
So, what’s the right marketing mix? Give me a shout and we’ll figure it out.
* This comes from analytics research of 40-50 clients of mine over several years.
The new marketing is App App App. Make an application that lets people communicate. Make communication visually exciting and mobile.
Email is slowely dying as has calling. Texting and mobile messaging is definitely where the next best level of active communication will be.
Thanks Alan, I agree with you to a point. As great as apps are, there are lots of avenues for marketing. I was originally going to call this article “email marketing is dead” but changed my mind after continued research shows that it’s still a viable medium when used properly with other channels. For instance, my parents have a facebook account, but never do anything with it. They DO spend there time in email and email marketing is effective for them. Also, I believe mobile optimized websites will be more popular than apps because of their ease of development and access to the user. I appreciate your thoughts and would love to hear more. Thanks!