By Artwell Nwaila
Invented in 1971 by American programmer, Ray Tominson, he is quoted as saying he invented email, "mostly because it seemed like a neat idea". Many more ‘neat’ digital ideas have popped up in the 40 years since the advent of email. The most notably of the lot is social media.
In 2010 Facebook
claimed that email was dead, while introducing its new email service. The founder, Mark Zukerburg said the email would go the way of the letter because it was slow and too formal. He also went on to say that young people found email too much of a “cognitive load”
. Meanwhile, in Mail Online
, Dominique Jackson asks
why any digital savvy teenager would use email when there are so many other quicker, more direct ways of getting in touch. The advent of spam and phishing have ruined the trust of potential audiences. So does that mean that email marketing has been killed by social media? Not likely.
There are several factors that still make email a necessity today and some of those factors are influenced by the very digital media platforms that we love so much. “When you think about the social ecosystem out there, there isn’t a tool or network available that doesn’t allow you to sign up without an email address,” says Blue Sky Factory CEO, Greg Cangialosi on Mashable
. “Email actually drives a lot of the social web activity, through notifications, alerts and more. Email is a great complement to social in that it allows marketers to extend the reach of their messages and identify influencers on their list.”
With the sudden growth in mobile devices especially in Africa, emails have an even bigger reach. Now they have the power to reach people on the move and yet, according to eConsultancy
, more than a third of email marketing companies in the US have no strategy in place for email on mobile devices. “Checking personal email is the most common web-based activity for smartphone users,” says communication strategist, Christopher Stemborowski. “Marketers need to make sure that emails can be read on mobile devices.”
And then there is the question of ‘noise’. Frank Reed states on The Marketing Pilgrim
that the difference with email marketing today is that now that there is so much noise in the online space, it is actually a way to step away and be set apart from the craziness that is social media.
The rise in blog platforms has created a new avenue for creating email leads. Companies with blogs that allow readers to subscribe to emails are able to provide valuable marketing material while also providing regular updates on new blog updates. Tweeting and Facebooking links to online mailers also creates an opportunity for those who are not aware of your product to join your community.
Emails marketing is very much alive so long as the marketer understands what the customer wants to receive. It can create compelling content and cross pollinates email with other digital platforms. Despite the decline in email usage among the youth, it still plays a vital role in the corporate world because within the social eco-system, there is no tool that is more suitable to business etiquette than email.
Do you still use email marketing? What are your thoughts on its relevancy in today's social media world?