vendredi 19 février 2010

Email, Pillar of the Web

When RSS feeds became the anticipated standard to follow one another on the Web, advocates of the new Web preached the end of the email. When social networks became the new online venue for the hip kids, advocates of the new Web preached the end of the email. Whatever the next best thing is, it seems that it's systematically meant to replace the email...

The email is not dead my friends. Through the rising tides of the interwebs, the pace of our online activities accelerated. Everytime we do something on a Website, one thing is systematically required: our email address. With this e-ID, we can comment, participate, post, upload, subscribe, pay, order, confirm, send, connect, buy... How is an information technology like RSS or a utility tool like a social network going to replace something as personal and identifiable as our own identity.

Recently, Facebook announced a partnership with Paypal to enable payments on Facebook through Paypal's email address payment system. What we see here is the leading social network, second most-popular Webiste in the US, acknowledging that emails facilitate payments. Last month, Facebook enabled comment replies from within your own email inbox, which was a move to facilitate interactions between friends. It's indisputable that social networks could not connect with their users if they did not ask for an email identification.

In a more traditional way, good marketers are still prospering from email subscription to newsletters. Dorian Benkoil, Sales Manager at mediashift and SVP at Teaming Media, shared his positive returns on newsletter email subscriptions, where some good points are mentioned. First he explains how he found out that most of the email-subscribed people oftentimes represent your most loyal audience. They are the ones who do not want to miss a post published on your site. Such a devotion to the publisher's content turns email into very valuable advertising channel:

For a publisher, email ads, which by law require a user's permission and are thus more targeted than many other advertising formats, tend to garner a much higher fee on a per-user basis than web ads. They also allow for a level of design and linguistic craft that can be impossible to achieve on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Finally, the other significant event that consolidates our email inboxes at the center of our digital lives is the launch of Google Buzz within Gmail. In the long run, through its API, Google Buzz will connect all of your social activities in one data stream. Buzz was launched within Gmail for two obvious reasons: One is that Gmail has 100 million users, which translates in 100 million Buzz users instantly. The second reason is that, at the end  of the day, our email inbox is THE place where all our online activities converge anyway. 

I am not advocating email marketing as the sole solution to talk to a customer online, but I am indeed pointing out to the fact that our email inbox is here to stay. A company with a direct marketing strategy should never think that Facebook could replace email marketing. Actually, they will probably find out that sending out an email to promote a Facebook Page will drive higher conversions ;)

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