Email Marketing in a Mobile, Social Media World

A New Era For Email Relevance

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It is an interesting time for email marketing right now. Though it is still a quite effective medium for marketers, there are many challenges to deal with. This was the subject of a session moderated by David Daniels of Forrester Research at the Shop.org summit in Las Vegas this week.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for email marketing campaigns? Comment here.

Email contributes to the overload of information that Internet users face on a daily basis. The web is not as simple as it used to be. People have more information coming at them than ever before, be it from social networks, RSS feeds, email, or whatever. Spam continues to plague inboxes (not that these other channels are immune), and that complicates things even more. Now add to that, the increasing use of the mobile web. One may assume that social networks are taking over or even replacing email, but one would be wrong.

David Daniels Email is not dying because of social media. "Email is still a key tool in social communication," says Daniels. "Understanding audience engagement is key."

Email portability adoption is increasing. For example, just this week Google launched email syncing for Gmail to smartphones (meaning iPhone users can get their gmail accounts synced between their iPhone and their PC). This will make it easier for iPhone users to keep up with their accounts on the go.

Daniels suggests using SMS (text messaging) as an opt-in point for email subscriptions, as well as rendering and supporting the call to action.

Considering that people have their phones with them pretty much at all times, email marketers shouldn’t be overlooking mobile. Consider these stats that Daniels provides:

– 25% of email subscribers provide website recommendations
– 20% online buyers post on average 9 product reviews a year
– 77% of the online population find those reviews more useful than the info the company provides

While social media may not be replacing email, it’s obviously still growing rapidly. You may have heard that Facebook alone just surpassed the 300 million-user milestone a couple weeks ago. That’s close to the same amount of people that make up the entire population of the United States, to put that into perspective.

Many companies are utilizing social media and integrating it into their email marketing campaigns. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing the same. Incorporate Facebook pages, Twitter, and/or MySpace accounts into campaigns. You can further engage with customers, and in turn keep interest in your emails going.

The key is to stay relevant to users. According to Daniels, "relevance empowered" mailings deliver more top and bottom line improvement than broadcast. He gave a few recommendations for implementation:

– For one, become an advocate for change, and address your organization’s readiness to embrace it.

– Secondly, understand the value of subscribers, and focus on their behaviors.

– He says to make it easy for consumers to share info with a lot of people quickly, but to learn about specific social behaviors of customers before creating your social strategy.

– And last, but not least, to "test, test, test."

I’ll add a couple of my own cents, and suggest that once your email campaign is integrated into social media, it becomes fair game for going viral and for being found in real-time searches. Essentially, your campaign can be taken from the inboxes of subscribers and expanded out onto the real-time web.

Email marketers shouldn’t fear social media. They should embrace it. Of course, campaigns will need to be compelling enough to get people to want to share them.

WebProNews reporter Abby Johnson contributed to this article from Shop.org in Las Vegas.

Do you integrate social media into your email marketing campaigns? Tell us about your results.

Email Marketing in a Mobile, Social Media World
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  • http://www.bluetweet.com Gregman2

    Many companies now want a better ROI than is currently demonstrated by many of the mass emailers. They are opting more for Lead Tracking Management Systems that can tell them not just how many emails were opened, but of the total spend what were the actual sales results. See: http://www.AdoRoi.com

  • http://www.solutioncontent.com K Richard Douglas

    There is one thing I always tell my clients; you have to bring value to your site visitors or newsletter readers. It is what is at the other end of e-mail marketing that counts. If your website, blog or newsletter allows a visitor or reader to take something away from their experience with your product, then you will be successful.

    Even if email marketing produces a favorable ROI, it is your product, in the end that has to bring value to your end user. This is one reason I like WebProNews. There are always articles that provide real useful information. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.site-hype.com Robert L

    I did not really get the part where you talk about SMSes as opt ins:

    “Daniels suggests using SMS (text messaging) as an opt-in point for email subscriptions, as well as rendering and supporting the call to action.”

    Can you or someone else elaborate a little on this?

    I mean If I have my emails synced in my phone, why cant I just use an email to opt-in?

    Great Blog, I love it!

    • Chris Crum

      I think he just meant as another option.

  • http://www.frankwoolf.com Skywoolf

    As far as I am concerned 99.9% of email marketing is nothing more than trash and spam those goes straight into the trash.

  • http://islandtropicalman.blogspot.com/ Islands Tropical Man

    Great article, thanks for the info!

  • http://www.brandthing.co.uk/ Dape

    Re-branding and Marketing.
    Great marketing is all about connecting customer awareness to the product. If theres a way a good marketer will find it e/mails, blogs, social sites, link building, directory, news feeds and so on. Example, Brandthing UK can help with all your branding and brand related business challenges, from strategy and direction, through to the tactical implementation of marketing campaigns. Combining outstanding creativity with fast, flexible and cost-effective solution delivery. The way go!

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