How Will We Use Email in 2015

 

As smartphones have become increasingly common and many—particularly the millennial generation—have turned to texting as their go-to method of communication, some have questioned the future of email as a means of communication in both personal and professional settings.

I was asked recently by a reporter what I felt the future of email is and, particularly, how we are likely to use email in 2015. Will email go away? Will it remain relevant? These are very much the same questions that have been asked of other forms of communication: Will email replace “snail mail”? Will online chat replace phone calls? “Yes” and “yes” in some cases.

Generally, though, rather than reflecting a potential replacement, these new methodologies create new options and opportunities.

I was pondering the question that the impact of email and online marketing would have on traditional direct mail a few years ago. As more and more marketers went online to promote their goods and services, the online environment was becoming increasingly cluttered and “snail boxes” increasingly empty, which, I thought, might present an opportunity. I proposed a book on the issue to one of my publishers and wrote “Direct Mail in the Digital Age” (Self-Counsel Press) because I wanted to explore the idea of whether there might be an opportunity for marketing (and other) communicators to shift back to traditional mail as a way to address increasingly cluttered inboxes.

That trend was real at the time and continues to be popular, I believe, causing challenges for communication in many respects, but particularly for marketing communicators. I believe that, increasingly, as we move into 2015, some of the things we need to be doing are:

  • Relying on email primarily to connect with audiences we are engaged with, who know us and who are likely, therefore, to open, read and respond to our messages.
  • Thinking carefully about our email subject lines as a means of conveying both what it is we have to say and, most importantly, why it’s important for the audience we’re attempting to reach. I find in the classes I teach that this is often overlooked or not taken as seriously as it should be. We need to think about the fact that if our emails do make it past corporate firewalls and individual spam filters, they still need to stand out from the masses of other emails on the screen. The two opportunities to prompt someone to open the email are: 1) they know who you are and have some reason to choose to engage with you, or 2) your subject line is so compelling to them personally that they will choose to open the email.
  • Being judicious in the use of email. We are all inundated with email messages these days. Wise communicators will choose to use email judiciously – only when they truly have something important to communicate (important to their target audience!) and, whenever possible, at times of day and days of week that are likely to find recipients most amenable to receiving the email.
  • Recognizing that less is more. Don’t be too copy heavy in your emails. Take advantage of the opportunity to quickly and clearly offer links to additional information for those who may be interested in learning more – but make sure those links are embedded within the text and not included as long http:// addresses.

How will we be using email in 2015? Hopefully, carefully and strategically and only when, in consideration of the many communication tools and options available to us, it seems to make the most sense.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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