What is The Future of Email Marketing?
By now you’ve heard the question: Is email a thing of the past? Social media is a major phenomenon in marketing, and the speculation abounds about how it will impact current online marketing methods.
Let’s answer this with a few questions of our own:
- Has email made landing pages a thing of the past?
- Have landing pages made websites a thing of the past?
- Have websites made telephones a thing of the past?
- Have telephones made storefronts a thing of the past?
You see where I’m going with this. We’ve all forecasted the decline of postcards, television ads, billboards, and every other type of advertising and marketing method based on what was new. Yet we still receive mail, drive past billboards, get phone calls, and dodge television ads every day. And every time, the new methods turned out to have drawbacks of their own that create new problems and opportunities.
In modern marketing, every method has a place. One tactic or another may not work for all businesses or reach everyone in a target market segment, and they all bring various costs for the marketer. Here are the primary benefits of email for marketing and communication purposes in the new marketing environment that includes social media:
- Email is storable. If you think about it, if you received a daily feed of items with links that you considered important enough to subscribe to, it would be handy to store them in a list that can easily be categorized and sorted, wouldn’t it? Without specialized apps, most social media tools lack the ability to categorize and store disparate posts and link to more detailed data in a single view.
- Email is sharable. It can readily be forwarded by your readers to others by email as well as social links. Because email is stored by most ESPs on a public server, it occupies a spot on a server and can be read with a browser application, just like a landing page or website. This means it can be used as an extension of your web presence that you control, yet it has all the potential of other viral content.
- Email is versatile. It is platform-agnostic, so your readers can read it in any email client or browser-based application. Some social platforms are better than others at allowing users to view their social feeds using several tools, but the content is limited by the requirements and behavior of the platform. Email can be any length, can display graphics and can link to any type of content.
- Email is targeted. People have opted in to receive your newsletters and updates, but they have also given you additional information about themselves, making email a highly targeted tool for matching your message to their specific interests. The ability of email to segment your subscriber list based on various data make it a better tool for reaching people than social media or your website.
- Email is trackable. Right now it’s difficult to show exactly how well a social campaign performs. There are a lot of specialized applications that track online buzz and influence from social activities, but nothing delivers data like an email campaign. Immediate data shows you how many people in each segment opened your mailing, clicked the links, and bought something. Social media cannot do that.
Email has become a major part of your web presence, and unlike your website, the people you send it to are the ones who are the most interested in your brand. Marketers and those responsible for branded communication have been looking for the best way to reach customers and followers who have the highest influence, make the content relevant, keep the content in the public realm, easily allow it to be shared with anybody regardless of the platform, and track the direct impact on their business. It’s been here all along; Email is the most versatile method for targeted communication. Email’s role will shift in the new paradigm, and will become more important, not less.
If you think of email as a tactic for reaching your audience with updates and news on a regular basis, it’s easy to call it a dying art, since there are other methods available now. But if you think of email as a sharable, cross-platform, trackable content storage and delivery tool, it’s clear that the future of email is bright.