Have you heard the latest on the demise of email? Sheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook says, ‘Email is probably going away.” Here’s the YouTube video clip.
Ms. Sandberg states, “If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, look at what teenagers are doing today.” She continues, “… that only 11 percent of teenagers send daily emails while text messages and posts on social networking sites have become the norm.”
Email is THE communication mode that I use for my virtual assistant business. I also conduct personal correspondence through email. This medium, of course is not the same as a phone call or a face-to-face meeting rather, it is the next form of communication in which I can create a meaningful message from afar to be re-read, sorted and acted upon. I could not conduct business through text messages nor could I tell my friend Julia about my weekend in 140 words or less.
So I am not sure I buy Ms. Sandberg’s forecast of the demise of email.
But then I noticed a news item on BizReport, Ben & Jerry’s drop email in favor of social media marketing announcing the decision to drop its email campaign and newsletters in favor of text messages, social networking posts and use of an iPhone app called ‘Scoop of Happiness’.
Hubspot also posted on the Ben & Jerry’s decision remarking, “This is the first major corporation to completely discontinue email marketing, a mainstay of internet marketing since the 90′s, for other internet channels. Ben & Jerry’s customers had indicated that they disliked the email despite loving the brand, which means that it wasn’t building the positive relationship that the famously brand-conscious ice cream company wanted.”
Let it be known, I received both reports via email! I must have missed it on the social networking sites.
I still do not buy it…
Email and social network marketing have always worked together.
Diverse audiences receiving the same message…this is a marketer’s dream! Although many marketers use Twitter and Facebook for posting messages, it is easy for a recipient to miss a Tweet or a Facebook post. Volumes of information are passed through social media at any given moment that it is impossible to read everything on the social sites. And for this reason, email picks up where Twitter and Facebook may wane.
An email can sit in an Inbox until the user is ready to open it.
Email can be flagged for future use or downloaded at anytime in the case of a coupon or sale announcement. This is not the case with Twitter or Facebook. Links to sites where pages can be downloaded and printed are offered on the social sites but this can be a hassle to ‘get to’ particularly if the marketer requires the use of a coupon; ultimately depending upon the use of a computer and a printer. While mobile coupon applications such as Groupon may be the wave of the future, the cost is still prohibitive for small business retailers.
Social sites create the buzz while emails promote the details.
There is no getting around the fact that if a marketer sends an email which the recipient wants to read, email is the bonafide tool to securing uninterrupted message-reading time. While the social sites are certainly significant in the promotion of marketing information, user attention spans are much shorter. This leaves retention of details at risk. Pertinent marketing information is more likely to be overlooked or scanned without fully grasping the entire message. Emails can be re-read while social marketing messages move to the bottom of the page as other messages take their place.
Ben and Jerry’s brand does not need email…but not every brand is as ubiquitous
It is true that a quality product like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream does not need an email to remind me to purchase their brand. Just walking past the ice cream case and seeing the adorable cartons sells itself. Think Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey and the shopping cart traverses on its own…
But for small business owners who do not have the same brand recognition, email in conjunction with social sites and texting is still the best way to reach a captive audience.
Certainly food for thought…anyone have a spoon? I’ll send an email.