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Even with the proliferation of new communication platforms that are now available such as social media and mobile communication apps, email is still the most effective way to nurture clients and prospects. I have been managing and interacting with a large email community for a number of years now and these are my observations.
Most organisations who are communicating with individuals at companies require subscriber information such as company name, job title, industry, country, telephone number, postal and physical address in order to effectively categorise subscribers. This is very important if you intend to share relevant content with niche groups. You also want to ensure that once a person unsubscribes that they remain unsubscribed and you do not communicate with them again. Any decent email service provider offers the required flexibility to cater for these requirements.
Privacy and security
I am sure you will agree with me that spam proliferates on every communication platform you can think of, including internal company communication platforms. Even though there is a high percentage of email spam out there, email is still preferred in terms of management of spam. If your company is engaging with subscribers correctly (i.e. you ask for permission first before you communicate with subscribers), your communication will be read. Email service providers can also be prosecuted so they also ensure that their clients adhere to prevailing legislation.
Getting noticed in the feed
Most social networks out there consist of thousands of people following thousands of people with everyone producing one-way communication with not much listening going on. Your company’s social media accounts are generally one of hundreds of other being followed by your clients and prospects. With the proliferation of social media updates taking place, your company’s social media updates can be very easily missed in your follower’s feeds. This is not the case with email. Users tend to manage their email inboxes way more diligently. If you are using a good email service provider, your email will get to its destination and if you use decent subject lines, your email be get noticed in your subscriber’s inbox.
Social media platforms do not provide a function which enables you to send a personalised communication to multiple people. Providing you are managing subscriber information correctly (you have information such as first names, industry, country, management category), you are able to send targetted communication with your community, starting with a personalised “Dear Customer” and filtering communication by country, management category and industry. Furthermore, research studies show that people are more likely to respond to a personalised communication that a company branded newsletter.
There is absolutely no point in communicating with large communities if you are not able to measure engagement. Decent email service providers enable you to extract information such as open and click through rates. You should also be able to identify individuals who have opened your emails and clicked on specific links. Good email service providers will also provide a function to list all emails opened and links clicked per individual subscriber and loyal subscribers.
You know the old saying “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”? Many B2B companies do not conduct enough research relating to their clients’ and prospects’ personal preferences regarding their communication platforms of choice. Before developing communication strategies and expending time and money on platforms that will not deliver any value, do the research first.
Who owns the platform?
This one is often overlooked by many organisations. There is no guarantee that some of the major social media platforms will exist in the future. The other issue is that you are at the mercy of the platform owners who make changes to their platforms to suit their business purposes. With email communication, you own all the information.
I trust this information was of interest. If you have any questions or require help and guidance regarding you email marketing strategy, please contact me.