Almost every day I realize that email is not the only way I get information- and it also shouldn’t be the main focus of companies and their messaging. Especially as there are always studies and reports done on the increasing of spam, and the decreasing of users’ trust in email. See: BeRelevant’s Silver Surfers Shun Email, for a taste.
As a user, I tend to change my FaceBook status quite a bit, basically treating it like my dormant Twitter account. I think internet users and thus your potential customers, act this way too. We all have our preferred method of contact, and it’s not just email.
Which leads me to the expansion of email marketing into far more than email. I am a huge proponent of RSS from back in the day. I know the statistics on how many consumers actually use RSS- but for each of those, you can respond with far higher adoption and conversion rates on RSS.
Other Contact Channels
- RSS. Setup your content, site, messages what have you, on a system that will allow syndication and subscription.
- Mobile. Setup the same content to be viewable and accessible effectively on mobile devices, from Nokias to iPhones.
- Social networks. Integrate your content, site, etc. with FaceBook applications, MySpace widgets, blog templates,etc. Sometimes this can be integrated with easy RSS programming, or other expandible technology.
- SMS. It’s gaining ground, and I know there are legal issues with the FCC, but doesn’t hurt to think about it. Simple messaging on cell phones- it can be a boon if you are an airline and need to communicate transactional messages quickly such as flight delays.
- Maps. Google has revolutionized the location data, and now you have to work with it too. I’ve done some geographical analysis on data, and more and more this seems to be very important to almost any business. For retail, applications are: creating easy directions, and messaging according to location. Transit systems are using directional GPS trackers in cars, mobile devices, etc. Though cars aren’t conceived as “devices” right now, it’s not too far a stretch to think that data may be available through cars (read: Google car).
- Video. One client hosted some video tutorials on MySpace, and linked to those videos from an email newsletter. I thought this was a very savvy method of integrating yet a new channel, and a new customer segment with different viewing preferences.
- Search. Companies that are not making sure their results are easily available by search are losing out on the large segment of the population that use search for *everything.* I can’t tell you how many clients I know that don’t do the basic gut check test of searching for their product on Yahoo/Google, to see if they have positioned their content well.
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