Pundits have been predicting the demise of email marketing for years. Culprits have included, at various times, spam, RSS feeds, blogs, texting, and now, social media. We've addressed the fallacy of these predictions before here and here.
An interesting perspective on this issue was recently provided by Mark Brownlow on his Email Marketing Reports blog.
Brownlow observes that while the highly simplistic "is email dead?" question often garners headlines, more sophisticated marketers realize that email marketing and social media are not mutually exclusive options, and so will consider how they should adapt their email marketing strategies and tactics to changing online behaviors and preferences. Let's explore some of these adaptations, whether with respect to social media or other Internet trends.
One changing online preference is increased consumption of content on mobile devices (interestingly, the most popular mobile application is email). This trend necessitates redesign of email layouts to ensure that critical content is readily accessible to mobile users. See our prior post on email design tips for Blackberries.
Another trend Brownlow highlights is the transition of many personal interactions between friends and family to social networks. In contrast, email remains the preferred channel for promotional communications. This suggests that law firms should continue to view email marketing as a viable channel to "promote" their "expertise" to clients and other contacts via alerts and newsletters.
Ultimately, Brownlow argues, marketers need to explore what channels are best suited to which audiences, as well as how social media efforts can be integrated with email marketing programs to achieve optimal results in both channels.
Strategies to consider include: social sharing buttons in email campaigns to facilitate and encourage distribution of email content to broader audiences (a service we recently rolled out to our clients), and distributing emails highlighting top blog posts as a method for building awareness of, and traffic to firm blogs (a strategy we successfully implemented for the national labor & employment law firm of Carlton DiSante & Freudenberger LLP - see sample email newsletter issue with blog content generated automatically using the blog's RSS feed.
Read Brownlow's complete post and analysis.