Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Will Social Media Throttle Email Marketing?

LM Comment: An article spotlighting the changes facing interactive marketing, escpecially email marketing.

March 20, 2009: from econsultancy.com -- Are you getting less email these days? I am. And that can't be good news for email marketers. Is email beginning to wither on the vine?

By "less," I'm not referring to work email (if only!) or messages from marketers, but less of the type of email that added a little frisson to checking the inbox: fun, flirty, and conversational messages from friends, family, and objects of affection. That stuff is now flowing in through all sorts of other digital channels, of which email constitutes a smaller and smaller part.

It's certainly not as if I hear any less from my nearest and dearest. It just isn't necessarily via email anymore. Some friends who have had my email address for years only ping me via Facebook these days (what a freaking pain - you have to go to Facebook to reply to them - yet they persist). Or they simply update their profiles when they have something to communicate. Others prefer to stay in touch via SMS or IM, and more and more Twitter's direct message function is the channel of choice for on-the-fly communications.

Hey, who doesn't dig having options? Well, perhaps it's something email marketers should begin to question.

Since the internet began gaining in popularity, email has been the #1 online activity. It still unquestionably is, but I more than suspect other channels will make serious inroads into email's efficacy. Think about it: when your inbox holds only the promise of work, electronic invoices, bank and credit card statements and advertising, doesn't it lose value? Where's the engagement? Where's the content that impels users to cuddle up and spend quality time in the channel?

Email is becoming the equivalent of snail mail. You dip into your postal box daily to collect the handful of bills and circulars that aren't yet emailized, but when's the last time you were delighted by a postcard from a friend, or a sweet billet-doux? Yeah, that's what I thought. And you're not holding your breath for the next one, are you?

Teens and young adults were the first to disengage from email. "They just don't use it at all, " marvelled agency types as long as five or six years ago. They text. They IM. And increasingly, so do the rest of us.

Smartphones are doing their part to throttle the channel, too. HTML doesn't render on a Blackberry? Delete. It's a newsletter? OK, right - but first I have to check this text.

Dont get me wrong here. Email's not going away any time soon. But what it will have to do, and soon, is adapt to new realities. The inbox is shrinking...as other forms of messaging storm the floodgates.

Full story at: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=5ldxhzcab.0.0.o7uw4wcab.0&ts=S0394&p=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fcqw893&id=preview

Online Communities Gain in Popularity

March 12, 2009: Summarized from Promo Magazine -- Online member communities have gained popularity, even outpacing e-mail. The communities, which include both social networks and blogs, are now the fourth most popular online category visited by 67% of the global online population, according to new research by Nielsen Online.

The communities are growing twice as fast as any of the other four largest sectors-search, portals, PC software and e-mail. Social networking will continue to alter not just the global online landscape, but the consumer experience at large.

Other findings include:

* One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites.

* The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to member community Web sites globally came from the 35 to 49 year old age group (+11.3 million).

* Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking. UK mobile Web users have the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23% (2 million people) doing so, compared to 19% in the US (10.6 million people). These numbers are a big increase over last year-up 249% in the UK and 156 percent in the US.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/df737p

The Future of E-Mail: Four New Marketing Segments You Need to Know About

LM Comment: A viewpoint of email recipient segmentation. This is especially relevant as more and more casinos look to leverage email to supplement their direct mail programs.

March 16, 2009: summarized from ClicxZ -- It's said that the only constant is change. As you look around the world of marketing, you can certainly see significant change happening. One of the most exciting changes coming down the road for e-mail is how we look at segments in our e-mail databases. Historically, segments have consisted of your tried-and-true responders and non-responders. From there, sub-segments have often included new customers, high-value customers, high-transaction customers, and so on. The approach to e-mail segmentation has typically followed standard direct-marketing practices.

We live in a digitally enabled world. Consumers demand faster access to the information they want, when they want it, on whatever device they're reading it on. Even personal communications are becoming more digitally inclined. The typical person on Facebook has an average of 120 friends on the social network site. With this digital evolution, e-mail has no choice but to grow and change with the times.What does this mean for marketers? You must be smarter about your segments and find ways to make e-mail work harder for you in this digital world. That said, let's take a look at four new e-mail marketing segments you need to know about:

The Social Influencer
These are people who signed up for your e-mails, but only respond to them occasionally. It's not that they don't love your brand -- they do. They're just too busy on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and 75 other networks to click on your e-mail. Send them an e-mail that impresses them, though, and watch what happens. Nope, they still won't click through and buy, but they will post it to their groups and drive up to 412 percent more response to your campaign than you would have had with your entire list alone. Why? These people are influencers. You know, the cool kids. Get these guys to love your message and your campaign will be bigger than you had ever dreamed.

The High-value Customer
Sometimes the people in this segment are mistaken as the most important on your list. In the new world of e-mail, these are called the short-term revenue drivers. These people buy from you. But they love you so much they want you to be their best kept secret. So there's very little exposure of your e-mail to their friends and family. Think of these people as your revenue rock. They provide the base of money, while social influencers blow out your ROI.

The Wannabes
This is 80 percent of your list -- people who like your brand, but who need your help. They love the offers and the deals. What are they looking for? For you to tell them how to best work with you. E-mail people in this segment with ways to leverage your Web site, access deals, and just plain be more engaged. They want to be high value or social -- they just need your help.

The "This is Spam" Clickers or UnsubscribersThese people are often forgotten in the olden days of e-mail. If your unsubscribe rate is less than 1 percent, generally you're happy. But what about people who no longer want your e-mail? Do they matter anymore? Yes they do. These are people who felt your message wasn't relevant to them. Some were so uninspired they couldn't even find the time to look for the unsubscribe link -- they just clicked, "this is spam" to get you out of their inbox. Beware! These people are really social influencers in disguise. One unsubscribe or "this is spam" click can equate to 10 people hearing about how bad your e-mail is. In the new world of e-mail, these people should be targeted in different ways. Woo them back before they cause brand damage.

Full story at: http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=5ldxhzcab.0.0.o7uw4wcab.0&ts=S0394&p=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fcm6w2w&id=preview

Social Media Rising As A Marketing Tool

LM Comment: Examples of simple ways to get a social media program started.

March 21, 2009: summarized from Tahoe Daily Tribune -- Social media first infiltrated personal lives, and now South Shore businesses are using it as a resource. By using Twitter, Lakeside Inn and Casino can find people who are coming to the South Shore, and then recommend a place to stay, visit or eat. For example, if people are looking for a place to watch the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, Lakeside personnel can quickly post on Twitter that Lakeside is a good place to grab a beer and catch a game.

Social media provides different channels for businesses to access potential customers, and it's an interactive environment because you have conversations with people versus showing them a sales pitch.

Social media can be daunting if people aren't familiar with technology, and businesses should research it before diving in. When using social media, business owners need to provide content from those who are familiar with the business. People posting need to know the brand, and make sure they're using sites that best fit them.

And it's even better when people post things referring to your business. When Lakeside hosted Ullr's Jib Jam, attendees posted videos of the rail jam competition on YouTube. That's the type of interaction businesses receive through social media.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/dnxfmt