If you are using email marketing as a regular marketing strategy, it may be time to re-assess its performance vs cost.

Firstly, the recession means that as many people lose their jobs, often without warning, your email list can quickly become out of date and therefore unresponsive.

Secondly, many people, of all ages, are now using social networks, tweets, instant messaging, Skype, and even SMS to stay in touch and communicate, rather than email. Interesting reports out from Pew Internet & Deloitte this week show a fairly drastic reduction in email use, mainly within the youth market but from personal experience, it would seem that other modes of communication are now more frequent.

Although email marketing may still have legs for those who work hard on maintaining their database of addresses, it may be that in 2009 you also need to look at alternative methods that operate without email.

It is always worth remembering when you are using email that you are generally aiming your message at the individual reading it, and with great writing and follow ups that are personalised rather than just a mass mailout, you create relationships with customers, clients and potential future customers.

This is exactly how you need to operate within social networks and web 2.0 marketing – dealing directly with people – and it is making successful relationships with those people who follow you, are in your network, or linked to you that the strategy bears more fruit. So, lessons learnt from email marketing will help in evolving your marketing strategies over the coming months.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.