Change Lurkers Into Activists

There’s been quite a bit of debate lately about the newest potential e-mail killer: social networks. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have generated a good bit of industry conversation. While all this banter is great, it’s still just theory. Sometimes, we need to stop and acknowledge the actual impact e-mail and other digital channels have on consumers today, even our most basic efforts.

In sharing some of my thoughts on the topic in the Email Experience Council‘s (EEC’s) Facebook group, I received a very thoughtful and insightful response from one of the members, John Johansen:

I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days. I’m on the eec newsletter; I read the blogs, read some of the whitepapers. But, for the most part I’m a lurker.

Email is a part of my responsibility but in a small marketing department I don’t have time to focus exclusively on it. Joining the eec has been a great resource for me to learn more, but I haven’t felt comfortable getting involved. Knowing the quality of the people publicly involved and not knowing about the larger community (but assuming it’s more informed than me) makes interaction feel like a high barrier for me.

Then I got the email saying the eec wants to open up the dialogue more. They gave me an easy way to participate by indicating that Jeanniey would be accepting friends requests and setting up an open group. Judging by the response, in terms of how quickly the group has grown, other people have felt the same way.

The call to action on Facebook fulfills the main objective (getting people talking) and can be measured very clearly. I think this was a brilliant move by the eec team.

Alright, time for me to wrap this post up.

Lessons I learned

  1. Email is a good channel for inviting people into other areas of engagement.
  2. Social media has a lower barrier to participation (so long as people are already there).
  3. Conversations happen when people feel comfortable.

Reading this, I realized how important it is to continually remind ourselves that e-mail, while powerful and responsive, is also a critical part of a holistic engagement strategy. It drives results. And it drives better results when combined with other digital channels to reach people where and when they want to engage. What Johansen references is actually happening with our audience. It’s not theoretical, it’s action; cause and effect.

After reading this response, it felt great to know that as e-mail marketers we’re creating results. We drive impact and create dialogue. There are lessons to be learned and leveraged as we begin building strategies for future successful integration.

I encourage each of you to focus on one way you can combine existing efforts to change lurkers into activists for your brand, product, and offering.

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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