In recent months Australians true love of social media has been revealed. In March 2009 Nielson released their latest Australian online research which demonstrated 6.5 million Australians now belong to at least 1 social network.
However perhaps the most interesting finding was that Australians usage of social networking sites has now outstripped email marketing. In particular it is the younger demographics who are shunning email for a more personalised, instantaneous and interactive communication experience.
Email Marketing – The Issues in Detail
Mismatch Between Push & Pull of Email Marketing
With the economic downturn driving down budgets, marketers are doing more with email given its low cost. This is creating a widening gap as consumers are using email less but businesses are driving more. Net result – lower response rates and increasing user disengagement.
Why Log In?
Traditionally email was a great way to keep in touch with our friends and family – however there is no shortage of sites providing a rich interactive experience to do this. These new channels are resulting in increased separation between personal and professional communication tools. As a result in private time users will spend more time dipping in and out of their inboxes (like a letterbox) to quickly retrieve information of importance rather than spending lengthy amounts of time staying in touch with their loved ones.
ESPs Are Evolving
Faced by decreasing relevance, ESPs such as Yahoo understand the shift in social behaviour and are re-inventing the inbox. Yahoo is doing this is by providing the new smarter inbox function enabling filtering emails into a priority inbox from regular contacts with whom the user exchanges mail with. Yahoo is also integrating updates from connections to provide a more interactive tool.
Rivals Hotmail have also created network functionality to integrate with properties across their Windows Live portfolio.
But is this change too little, too late for ESPs? Do we need another network to interact with our friends – or will the latest changes by ESPs be the demise of social networks?
What does this mean for email marketing?
Despite the changing landscape, email still has a good shelf-life for marketers, but marketers must evolve. How?
Timing is key – As email user behaviour in and out of work hours will now differ significantly – it is now more important than ever to measure the most effective time to be sending email.
What Engagement – Organisations must extend their email program to be a more interactive as opposed to traditional one way dialogue. This could be through encouraging end users to contribute new ideas, feedback or even be involved in content generation for distribution which is more inline with the participative web. In addition and where relevant organisations should look to integrate email with social media and use new features such as video email to differentiate
Control & Preferences – Now more than ever marketers need to give people more control over when and how they consume email content, making the end user more likely to consume email communication.
Do you have any other thoughts or ideas for email marketers to evolve? If so comment below;