Even as the importance of having a mobile strategy and social media strategy becomes clearer, never forget one of the first elements introduced of the digital age: email. It might be easy to dismiss it as archaic or irrelevant when consumers are spending more time checking their phones and newsfeeds, but if utilized properly, not only is email still vital, but it can serve as a great compliment to the aforementioned digital elements.
A recent study by eMarketer indicates that email usage will increase by nearly three percent over the next four years, and will reach total saturation of 96% by 2016.
Email’s growth can be largely attributed to the rise of smart phones; 36% of consumers viewed emails on their phones. In a separate study by Forrester Consulting, 32% of smart phone users who were polled said they had made a purchase directly from a promotional message they received from their phone, with email leading the pack over SMG or in-app messaging.
Combined with the average smart phone user’s propensity for purchasing online and using their phone for research, it shouldn’t be a surprise that more businesses are tailoring their email campaigns for mobile devices.
The relationship extends to social media, as well. “If you’re doing [customer relationship management] work today, social goes hand-in-hand with email as a CRM tool,” said MediaWhiz president Ed Kats in a recent interview with eMarketer. “Email is a big driver of the beginning of the customer conversation, and social media is a natural channel for following up and continuing that conversation.”
Don’t forget about email’s advantages over other traditional media channels, like TV or radio, either. A recent Harvard Business review blog post by Arthur Middleton Hughes highlights this. It’s significantly easier to track all the variables associated with an email campaign, like which consumers opened and clicked what, and therefore better determine which aspects are working and which are not. They’re also much more conducive for users to expand their knowledge and views of your brand on their own via outbound links and related online content. And while it cannot always tracked, email is a quick and easy way to create awareness for a brand or product, that might pay offer later if a consumer buys in-store or visits your website at a later date.
Digital marketing is heading in a lot of exciting directions, but one of its cornerstones, email, remains integral as ever.
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