February 4, 2010

Why E-mail has Been my Best Friend since 1996

There is a lot buzz about this thing out there we call social media. People have a difficult time realizing what this “new thing” is supposed to be good for. At the same time this new thing seems to grow as fast as a flu virus in a crowded room.

People are also starting to question whether or not Social Media will kill other things on the web. I have previously written about this, and more significantly I have written about E-mail & Social media and how to combine the two. I don’t believe for a second that social media will kill e-mail as e-mail, by all means, is in fact an extremely social media. The whole point of e-mail is interaction between one or several people.

Yes, the type of medium can be used for other things such as marketing and spam with a noreply@whatever.com address. But we ALL know that we only have about 5-45% opening rate on those e-mails and at best a click through of 5%. What if that would be the case for your personal e-mails? Would you feel very relevant for your friends, colleagues or next of kin?

Email is our Identity online

And even though Facebook Connect, Discuss and other services are trying to put themselves in the position of being the main identifier online, they still fall short as you need an e-mail to identify yourself with when registering an account. E-mail maintains it’s role in our life and it maintains its purpose as a great compliment to other marketing tactics and conversation handling tools on the market.

What I’m saying is basically that if you are thinking about engaging in social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Bebo or vKontakte, then think twice before you ditch your e-mail marketing tools. In combination, E-mail and social networks have proven extremely helpful in identifying key stakeholders that visit your website.

So why has E-mail been my best friend?

Well basically e-mail is the one thing that has made me be able to do what I like to do. If I combine any experiment with an e-mail setup I know that I will be able to return good numbers on the bottom line. Regardless if I set up my e-mail campaigns with a retention purpose or with a conversion purpose, I know that it is what will turn users into Euros at the end of the day.

I also love e-mail because the most common practice has been an opt-in relationship. A person holds his or her e-mail address to themselves until they decide to opt-into the relationship or deal you have offered them. SpamAssassin has made my life both hell and heaven, but in the end I guess we have all earned from less spam and more true opt-in e-mail relationships with our clients, agencies and retailers.

I have decided to devote my whole next week to writing about different e-mail setups and thus I will not bore you to death with my nerdery just yet. For now I will just leave you with a top list of reasons why you should never turn away from e-mail as a means to communicate.

5 reasons to NOT stop sending e-mail

  1. People see their e-mail address as a part of their identity. If they share it with you, it is a sign of trust. If you don’t break that sign of trust, you are in good when making your value proposition.
  2. An e-mail address can be used to communicate a “billing relationship” through a third party which means you can build trust and let someone else demand the dough.
  3. E-mail can help you communicate privately with each and every person that you have a contact with and thus give you the opportunity to work with price variations depending upon the type of client.
  4. In a database, you can store an e-mail with an IP or a cookie (watch out, this is illegal in some countries) and thus also store the specific actions and interests of a person. With that information you can learn who is important and who is not with regards to your business. (CRM style baby!!)
  5. There is a second hand market for everything, and for e-mail it is highly profitable!!

I say the last thing just to provoke you. But it is a fact and if you have a service or a component to sell that a person buy’s one time in their life, but that thing is complimentary to other things, then you actually offer a service by selling that e-mail as a lead to a company offering that complimentary service. If you are white hat, and a good company, then you ask for permission in an obvious way. If you are a black hat, or a shady company, then you do not ask for permission. What you do is up to you. [Insert legal disclaimer… hrmf… ;)]

I guess that was all I had to say today. If you are bored and read this far, like this blog or just feel like you’re having an extremely good day, then I suggest you vote for me or someone else in Sweden’s most nerdy blog competition called YABA. I was nominated into the category Marketing, which was quite surprising to me. It is a popular vote, so I know I will not win, but you might help me not look like a donkey at least 🙂 You find the YABA competition here!

Don’t worry about the confirmation e-mail. They delete all e-mails after the competition. You’ll find my blog amongst the ones in the first group. SEO & Social Media by Jesper Åström

//Jesper

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1 Comment
  • DangerousDolly, February 5, 2010 Reply

    You should've been nominated in the category "Smartskallar" - but since there were none I think Marketing was a pretty good match ;)

    Reg emails...I've never understood why ppl have to proclaim the death of stuff all the time! Although IF Wave would have done what it was supposed to, then maybe, just maybe we could have moved every other email conversation to the more trackable and collaborative yet private platform.


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