On the Road Again...With E-Mail

  |  June 28, 2007   |  Comments

Even when your audience takes a break from the everyday, you can reach them with e-mail.

It's June and most of us will take time off this summer to relax. During that time, wouldn't it be great if we could park all our responsibilities and challenges for a time? In this connected world, though, this is virtually impossible. Thankfully, e-mail shows its great power and utility when we're remote.

Once again, I'm traveling the way I love: atop my Harley-Davidson with three friends. As long-time readers may know, I'm one of the few bikers who travels the mountains and valleys of this country with a laptop in my tour pack. This year's trip has taken me through one of the most beautiful places in the country: Washington State. Images of Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens have been breathtakingly inspiring, and the people and routes along the way have been great.

To those who think e-mail is a dying communications medium, I say, "Bunk." E-mail is a lifeline for all of us on this trip. I've been the designated communicator, using e-mail to communicate on behalf of my fellow riders to their families and friends. I communicate with business associates, friends, and colleagues via this incredible platform. It's interesting to see just how important e-mail can be to those without access to other communication tools.

As we travel from place to place, we get a steady stream of e-mail confirmations from various hotels we booked. We're able to e-mail the hotels to receive ride route instructions, saving us hours of wondering where an obscure inn or motel might be. Even in the most remote locales, most of our accommodations have wired rooms. At the base camp in Mt. Rainier, the Alexander Country Inn (just 12 rooms) has wireless access.

We all have ongoing business dealings and need to stay somewhat connected to moves being made some 3,000 miles away. All the necessary information was exchanged via e-mail, ported to our smartphones. We get preprogrammed weather alerts along the ride to ensure we avoid inclement weather as much as possible. Such information delivered so effectively is a lifesaver.

We continue to conduct commerce remotely. Shipping confirmations from the local general store at Mt. St. Helens were sent via e-mail. It's pretty wild when a grandmotherly lady asks for our e-mail address.

My fellow riders remind me there are still many who are confused about e-mail basics. They want to know more about how to add companies to address books, how they can set up alerts and bulk mail folders. It just emphasizes that as marketers and providers, we must never forget there's an ongoing need for education and communication about the basics, so we can bring others into the fold and build loyal and recurring relationships with incremental customers.

While on vacation, I'm not viewing Web sites or reading blogs. I am using e-mail as it's supposed to be used -- as the mainstay of communication between myself and the rest of the world. Each time I use it, my appreciation of the power it has to connect me to so many great people, services, and products increases. Like the summits and peaks I'm seeing, I have great respect for e-mail's power and majesty when used for good.

As marketers, you don't need to worry that I'm not looking at your message while on the road. You should worry about whether it's relevant to me. When time's precious, the need for information essential, and connections slow, spam of any type becomes more than a nuisance. Irrelevant message clogging the inbox are more frustrating on the road.

I'm back on my motorcycle today, traveling the last leg of a 1,500 mile trek and finishing up in Seattle. E-mail's been my partner throughout the trip and has made the ride much less stressful for us all.

Until next time,

Al D.

Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

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Al DiGuido

Long recognized as one of the direct response industry's premier innovators and a pioneer in e-mail communications, Al DiGuido brings over 20 years of marketing, sales, management, and operations expertise to his role as CEO of full-service digital marketing company Zeta Interactive. Formerly Epsilon Interactive's CEO, DiGuido also served as CEO of Bigfoot Interactive, CEO of Expression Engines, EVP at Ziff Davis, and publisher of Computer Shopper, where he launched ComputerShopper.com, a groundbreaking direct-to-consumer e-commerce engine. Prior to Ziff Davis, he was VP/advertising director for Sports Inc. DiGuido also serves on the Direct Marketing Association's Ethics Policy Committee.

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