Email Marketing: The Great Facilitator

Posted by Scott Cohen On March 29, 2011 in story time I One Comment

In my previous rant, I made the argument about what email marketing is not, that being a conversation. I said that email marketing is a great conversation starter, but by the definition of the word itself, it’s not a conversation in and of itself.

But I think conversation starter, while valid and solid in argument, may not be enough to explain email marketing’s incredible value. So, let me tell you what email marketing is:

THE GREAT FACILITATOR

In my post, “The True Connecting Power of Email,” I wrote that email is the “ultimate facilitator for connection.” And as much as email is a conversation starter, it also is the lubricant that makes the engine of conversation run on other channels. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • Email guides your customers to you on Facebook. How often have you received an email asking you to go “Become a Fan” on Facebook? Or follow a company on Twitter for special deals? Why is that? Because email is an easy way to link people (literally through hyperlinks and figuratively) to your social channels, where connections are easier and less formal.
  • Email extends and improves your website conversion. You can’t buy something directly in an email. But that email links your customer to your website where they can buy your product. Through the use of specific landing pages and solid integration between your website and email campaigns, email can facilitate profitable conversions.
  • Email gets the phones ringing. If someone is willing to pick up the phone and call you these days, either you’re doing something right or doing something horribly wrong. In either case, email easily facilitates that kind of interaction. Whether it’s a call to action to call in for a special pizza deal, or simply a telephone number for customer service, email can make your inbound efforts easier.
  • Email acts as a paper trail for you and your customers. Order confirmations, shipping notices, chat transcripts, claim inquiries, customer service responses, you name it. Email is incredibly useful in tracking interactions.
  • Email creates an easy reference. Maybe this is just me, but if you want to send me information, I’ll ask you to “shoot it to me in an email.” That way, I have it as a reference point for as long as I need it. Email is easy to categorize and organize, and makes for a simple way to reach your customers, employees, whomever your audience may be.

I’m just going very high-level here in the email-as-facilitator concept, but I hope you catch my ultimate drift: Email is extremely effective when leveraged correctly to maximize your other channels.

I’ve written about this before (an oldie but goodie), but email can’t be put in a vacuum. This type of silo thinking can be dangerous. Each medium, while separate in a sense, needs to act in unison with the others—otherwise, your right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. And that’s a bad idea.

To your customers, all channels are part of an ultimate experience—an experience that should be smooth, simple, and easy to navigate from one channel to another.

Saying email marketing is the great facilitator is a great way of saying email is the tool that best maximizes all of your marketing channels.

So, get going. Facilitate. Create and maximize a customer experience that gets results.

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