Is Email Really Dead?

This week, some further thoughts on the longevity of electronic mail (which is also the format for e-newsletters) . . .

On his influential site, “Leadership,” B2B expert and industry leader Louis Foong observes that social media isn’t good when it comes to “delivering what B2B organizations [and companies] need—leads, conversions, customers and sales.” Despite the sparkle and glamour of social, Foong says, email persists and remains the best conversion tool after organic searching.

The stats are powerful: last October, he reported that email had more than three times the number of users of Facebook and Twitter combined and that email marketing outpaced “more than four times” all other web viewing, including videos and images (my emphasis).

He writes: “[W]hile email is no longer the preferred personal communication channel among the younger generation, for business communication, it still rocks.” The email list must be “segmented, target and frequently cleansed” (there’s no room for a stagnant email list) but it still rocks!

UK and US users in 2013 used email as the top outreach channel for all of the steps of a customer’s purchase.

The value of content-rich communication persists in email marketing and in digital marketing, as well.

It is also true that mobile technology presents the latest challenge to consumers, since messages that do not shrink to fit tiny screen-widths are easily deleted.

But Foong observes that social networks and tools “vanish or decline significantly” over time in ways that email has not. He cites many teenagers who years ago gave up on Facebook, leaving it to their mothers and grandmothers.

Email is still needed to communicate with businesses and is still needed in the workplace for business dealings: the “constancy of the platform, its professional appearance, simplicity of use, and the fact that it just works, is more important than shiny, bright, exciting social media.”

I hasten to add that no serious marcom consultant can afford to neglect social media. (I check the news feed and groups on several sites daily and continue to post there.) This week’s recovery of a kidnapped newborn from a hospital in Trois Rivieres (Quebec) by youth who saw the red alert posted over social media, points to the unassailable relevance and usefulness of the form. But social needn’t undermine the usefulness and relevance of email, just the same. Email continues to fill a genuine need that is not going away, anytime soon.

And that’s good news for email- and e-newsletter specialists and the clients that we serve.

What is your perspective on the competition for users between social media and email marketing? How do both affect your business? Please leave your comments; I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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