James C. Wong, Co-Founder & General Partner of Empowered Ideas
In a world of highly integrated, yet segmented internet usage and behavior, today’s email marketers must be more in tune with their email contacts than ever before. This of course presents an all too real problem for most marketing teams, because email is a channel that has received much negative publicity in regards to spam.
However, email remains nonetheless, one of the most viable and critical communication channels for today’s marketing professional.
Why and How Has Email Remained So Popular?
With the advent of new communications technologies focused around social media interactions like Twitter and Facebook, many internet users have flocked to these various channels to receive and distribute bite-sized bits of information. The information exchanged is much more concentrated and distributed in snapshots, as compared to emailed content.
Regardless of which communication channels your contacts choose to utilize, one fact remains strong among all of those networks – they all require a valid email address to sign up.
Besides being a low-level security verification channel, email has become more than just a simple communication channel, but has matured into a hub that connects all of a person’s social media activities. Through email notifications, a user’s email inbox notifies the individual of Facebook message, comment, and friend requests. It notifies the individual of Twitter activity and requests, and replicates the same resource to hundreds of thousands of various online social networks and communities. Ultimately, all of that data gets redirected into an individual’s inbox. Not to mention the simple fact that you can’t send attachments via any other “social media” channel.
What Email Marketers Should Be Doing
Marketing professionals should be tapping into the wealth of data waiting just beyond their email lists. Each of their email contacts could potentially be a member of various online social networks, and in today’s inter-connected world, it’s vital that marketers discover to which networks and communities their members belong.
Using simple email surveys can reveal a flood of information about their contact’s behavior, interest and communications habits. Analyzing this data will identify key networks and communities that you should be targeting, and which networks you could be leveraging for your marketing efforts.
The key is that every social network and community has its own unique niche. Researching and understanding why your contacts are on certain networks over others will provide you with insight into their interests and behaviors, which may prove to impact their buying behaviors as well.
Email marketers should view email as a two-way communications channel, and start listening to their contacts. Marketers need to document and respond to feedback, and be as transparent as possible. Collecting contact behavior and network preference data will better prepare marketers to engage in meaningful and educated discussions with their contacts.