Media Post: Forget Twitter, Go Back to Email Marketing

Ian McCollum RazorfishIan McCollum, the technical manager | eCRM Solutions with Razorfish, writes in the Email Insider blog that Twitter is an overrated fad, and that smart marketers are returning to good old email marketing:

Everywhere you turn there is Twitter -- CNN, NASA, operating rooms, corporate home pages, and even the toilet ( Twitter has been deemed the next revolution in one-to-one communication, giving the customer a voice and making the corporation "human," enabling real-time interaction.

Let's look at some numbers:

So the majority of Twitter activity is 5% of its users, that is 910,000 users, tweeting less than once a day. I don't think that constitutes a revolution in real-time dialogue. I don't think it even justifies more than a casual mention in social media strategy. Yet it is the basis of many marketers' social media conversation.

Twitter's usage numbers are not putting a dent in numbers like the usage statistics for email - 90% of Internet users spend 87% of their time online reading email! The interesting phenomenon is that billion-dollar corporations are jumping through hoops to respond to tweets -- yet they are still OK auto-responding to emails with, "we will get back to you in 48 hours," or not responding at all. Responding to email should be your first social media strategy.

There is a lesson to be learned here. There is limitless opportunity for real interaction with your customers sitting right there in your email database. What strategy do you have in place to react to responses to your email campaigns? Is it the "" reply-to address or the auto-responder stating "this address does not accept incoming messages?" Imagine seeing that reply coming back to every @bigcompany tweet!

If you have jumped on the bandwagon and developed a strategy to react to Twitter, you can take that strategy and apply it to email. You can route email campaign replies to a real inbox with a real person monitoring it and taking appropriate action. They can actually respond to the emails received. Granted, this won't be a public interaction, so no one but you and the customer will see it happening, but you can be sure that people will tweet about actually getting a human response to an email sent to your company.

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