Since the explosion of social media, email marketing has been put on the endangered species list. If we venture into the wild world of email we find it is still thriving and has done so particularly since the economic downturn, however many are sceptical about its life span. The email vs social media argument has been re-ignited in 2010 with a recent Gartner report signalling bleak times for email. However a recent post on eConsultancy interviewing many of the leaders in the email field see it very differently.
So is it time to start preparing for emails devise? Hardly rather social media is probably giving email a new lease on life, giving email a new partner in crime!
So how is the landscape changing and how can marketers leverage the link between social and email to improve communication and response?
Whilst each channel provides its advantages and draw backs – industry software leaders know that convergence is going to play a big role in the evolution of the 2 channels.
Facebook knows that email plays an important role in its future and as such is currently investing in a full webmail service – called Project Titan. Whilst Google & Microsoft are also rapidly integrating social functionality into Gmail and Outlook. These changes in functionality will mean that email becomes the start of a conversation from a brand, one which can then continue amongst a subscribers’ network and peers.
Social media provides email marketing with the vehicle to enable one to one communications to become many to many. Providing the ability to share content from email however is not enough. Good online content that is topical will be rewarded and discussed within the social space outside of the confines of email. The viral nature of social media provides the element that email needs to ensure this information is being given to those who will benefit from it most (not just those subscribed to receive it) – and this is what pull marketing is all about.
One of the most valuable tools social media provides for email marketers is the ability to gather new subscribers. Fan pages, groups etc provide brands with the notification that they have a loyal base of followers. However if these consumers subscribe to receive email information it provides the brand with the direct connection with the user to foster a deeper relationship. Advocates that are empowered with this information then become the brand vehicle and gateway to access a wider audience in the social space.
The above demonstrates that in a web 2.0 world it is not a channel fight of the titans but rather a teaming up of email and social that is going to take email marketing into the next decade as a discipline and also important strategy for your organisation.