As we enter the holidays, it’s time to start thinking about how to make 2010 the best year ever. If you’re in e-mail marketing, stop for a minute and pat yourself on the back. Recent data provided by ShareThis indicates that e-mail is still the number one channel used to share information and insights. Remember the article in The Wall Street Journal a few months ago claiming e-mail was dead? Ironically, that day, it was one of the top articles “e-mailed” from the site to others. E-mail is nowhere close to being dead.
But e-mail marketing as we know it is changing, and you’ve got to change along with it.
Many of my columns this year have focused on e-mail marketing as an art and science that must learn how to “play nicely” with others to continue to succeed. This column strives, one more time in 2009, to make the point and help prepare you for success in 2010. If you don’t integrate your e-mail efforts with social media channels in 2010, your conversion results could be at risk. The volumes of e-mail we now receive leaves us no choice but to filter for messages and links we feel add value and come from trusted sources.
Need more convincing? Consider this: some recent data I saw from ShareThis shows that while e-mail is still the strongest vehicle being used to send a message to someone else, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are close competition (and sometimes beat e-mail) in getting people to click and engage with the message.
As I read that data I started to think about my own habits and realized they’re absolutely right. Consider this: one retailer I used to love shopping at started sending me daily lunch time sales e-mails. While I love this retailer’s offering, I’m annoyed by its continued insistence in reminding me, every day, that while I’m working through lunch, pretending my string cheese is really sushi, others are eating lunch and even finding the free time to shop during it. Now, maybe I’m just super busy — but after three months, I still have yet to find the time to open one of these e-mails. The messages to me just come across as “noise.”
That said, a friend of mine who works from her home will usually send me at least one e-mail a day of something she saw online, or was thinking about buying. Another posts things on my Facebook wall, and a third is an avid Twitterer, who is always posting interesting links. Even if they send their messages to me during lunch, I actually find myself clicking on almost every link I get. I don’t see these e-mails as noise at all. Why? Because these media messages are coming from friends I trust. I have learned that links they share with me are probably something I will value.
The big takeaway here isn’t that I need to get a life and start eating lunch, it’s that shared e-mails (whether shared via e-mail or social network) have an added sense of value and validity. Therefore, they inherently drive significantly higher return on investment. And we all want that.
So, as you make your 2010 resolutions, if you haven’t already, resolve to work with your e-mail design firm, your e-mail vendor, or even your e-mail copywriter to promote sharing e-mails virally to other e-mails, as well as through any of the social networks. You will be glad you did.
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