Google’s unveiling of its Buzz social network last week has only ratcheted up the buzz (pun intended) around social media as the future of marketing. That said, as my previous post illustrated (http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/eric-groves/innovation-technology-and-customer/if-tweet-falls-internet-and-no-one-hears-it), I’m not quite ready to give up on other forms of electronic marketing just yet.
And it looks like I’m not alone. Dorian Benkoil wrote a great post — "Email is Far From Dead" (http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/02/email-is-far-from-dead033.html) — over on the MediaShift blog. In this post, Dorian rightly advocates that any company that considers itself a media company should still pay heed to technologies like email marketing:
"It's true that media companies — and isn't every company now a media company? — need to pay attention to important social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. But they shouldn't underestimate the power of a well-crafted subject line that lands in front of an email subscriber."
When it comes to social media, my contention has been that email is the original social media. Ask yourself how many times a day you check your email account. Now compare that to the number of times you check your Facebook page and Twitter account.
With email, you build a permission-based list of people that want to hear from you. Sounds a lot like what one does on a social media network (with maybe a little less permission involved, depending on what service one is using). Email, too, can be used to drive traffic to your website and interest in your offerings. Dorian’s own experience supports that:
"I have consistently seen spikes in traffic to websites in the hours and days after email newsletters are sent out. Email allows you to keep messages on your servers, and not have to trust the security and delivery of the social network you're sending them through."
Not only can email be more secure when used properly, it also can have a longer tail. If the customer you’re connected to on a social network is following or is friends with hundreds of other people and organizations, your messages could pass by them quickly and disappear into the ether before they even notice. With email, readers can save items in their inbox for further action, giving your emailed message more impact.
As Dorian wrote, "Email may not have the buzz, but it still has a lot of power. If you're in the communication business, you ignore it at your peril. Email should still be in your mix if you're looking to reach your users in a way that makes them comfortable, lets them communicate with you, and also brings you business benefits."
Couldn’t have said it better myself.