Marketers have never had more options, means, or methods of communicating with customers and prospects than they do now. They are empowered to create all types of content in every format imaginable, and they can do it on their own, without the help of advertisers and traditional advertising. If advertising is out, what is the most effective way to reach customers and create more sales opportunities?
To find the answer, marketers must identify their target audience, glean its information needs, and discover how it likes to consume information. Often times, the answers can be found via existing research, surveys of current customers, or even anecdotal evidence. Understanding a target audience's unmet information needs will determine what type of content marketers should create and which platforms are best for delivery.
Nielsen's just-released study, "What Americans Do Online," is an excellent guide to how consumers get information and content. Not surprisingly, social media now has the largest share -- 23 percent -- of overall time spent online, up 43 percent from a year ago. Online games have a 10 percent share of time, up 10 percent from last year. Which platforms lost share? Email is down 28 percent to an 8 percent share. Also losing share are portals, down 19 percent, and instant messaging, down 15 percent. These decreases highlight the fact that Facebook's built-in email and IM functions have taken market share away from traditional email and messaging platforms.
That said, the above trends don't mean it's time to declare email dead and put all our eggs into a social media basket. Rather, it's all about knowing the strengths of each platform. So, back to our original question: What is the most effective way to reach customers and create more sales opportunities? By building a comprehensive media channel using multiple platforms and matching the content to the strengths and unique benefits of each platform.
In this article, we'll look at the strengths and weaknesses of five popular marketing media.
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'Matching the content to the correct media platform is critical to delivering measureable results' - Right On! This is also the case for specific social media channels - Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook... which each have unique styles, rules, demographics, cadence, etc.
"The key to a successful email campaign is an actionable offer to an opt-in recipient. Steer clear from "informational" emails that don't have a call-to-action. These self-serving missives do not provide any real value to the customer and give them no reason to click through."Interesting post and I agree with some of what you say. However: how did I hear about this post? Email. If the digest style email that alerted me isn't informational with no call to action then I am not sure what is. It would be interesting to see how many people checked your post out were it not for email marketing.My point is that email still has a lot more to offer than merely targetting with a very specific call to action and it is still a platform that is essential to any online engagement as any other platform. The key is how consistent you are across all platforms.
Good insights. How important is it to have content optimized and consistent for each platform? Are there any metrics today that reveal what the level of lost opportunity is when the content is not optimized and consistent?
"...not effective for generating new prospects or reactivating lapsed customers." - I disagree,Gordon. I think email marketing is a great tool for acquiring new prospects, such as through a sign up form on your website or blog. Alternatively, add your subscription form to your Facebook page, or share your newsletters socially - post them to Twitter or FB - or share them virally, through your email footer, which in turn you can link to a sign up form. But yes, you're quite right that open rates for an unknown sender are low, therefore it's imperative to use an opt-in process (as recommended by you), to clearly state the sender address and choose the right subject lines. All of this GraphicMail can show you how to do... cost-effectively!
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