At least once a year, I have the same old conversation with people who want to zero email out when dividing up the marketing dollars. They claim it’s a stale technology that can’t keep up with innovative digital channels like Facebook, mobile apps, Pinterest and Twitter, for instance. Let’s not forget that email itself was once the shiny new toy that attracted those who got bored fast with Web marketing. These marketers nearly broke email because they didn’t understand the medium and then wandered off to the next cool new thing. What happened after that? The best minds in the industry came together and worked out solutions. They did research and tested to see what worked and what didn’t. They created software that brings email to the very doorstep of the totally personalized and unique one-to-one communication that we’ve always dreamed of.
- It works even when you don’t do it well, and it delivers the highest ROI when done well. If your email results aren’t what you want them to be, it’s probably because you’re not using the medium correctly, more so than an inherent email fault. Email generates almost immediate results, which allows for rapid testing and optimizing in marketing campaigns.
- Consumers still request and respond to email and have become skilled managers of their own inboxes, confident in their ability to deal with spam.
- You can easily demonstrate email’s bottomline value to your management through tracking and analytics. After all, your CEO is (hopefully) more interested in what adds value to the organization than in trendy but untested new apps.
- Email is the first channel to recognize that consumers truly are in control of the medium. It paved the customization trail by giving recipients many options for tailoring content to their own interests.
- The email industry actively develops new ways to build trust and confidence in the medium. Authentication, spam complaint process, reliable unsubscribing and transparent opt-in policies are a few examples.
- Email is still the primary medium that provides a solid two-way connection with your customers, bolstered by the trustbuilding initiatives listed above.
You can’t beat email for its ability to reinvent itself, overcome performance challenges, integrate with other technologies and channels and provide multiple distinct value propositions to both senders and recipients.
If email is so last-generation and stodgy, why is it a core application in many of the new, supposedly more innovative, technologies? Two examples: aggregated RSS feeds and blog posts, as well as messages, posts and friend requests for networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Keeping up with the expanding platforms is another way email stays fresh and relevant to your subscribers, whether you read it on your clunky desktop computer, your ultra-thin notebook with a 17.5-inch screen, or your iPhone, iPad or Kindle Fire.
I’m not too worried about that prospect. Email’s brain trust has risen to identify and craft solutions to the challenges that could have brought email to its knees in recent years, such as spam, image blocking, rendering challenges and phishing. While not all of these have been solved yet, steps have been taken to keep the channel alive and kicking (or sending and receiving). I’m confident that this natural bent for true innovation will help email meet any challenge shiny new technologies can throw it. I would love to debate this point further, but I have to check my email. The latest posts from my favorite blogs just arrived in my inbox, handily aggregated in a single email, and I just got another LinkedIn friend request.