Email to the World: “Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

With a marketing mix bursting at the seams with Web 2.0, social media and mobile technologies, email just isn’t as sexy as it once was. But as I’ve mentioned before, nothing is as sexy as results, and email continues to deliver on that front.

Email does have its challenges. There’s increasing competition for consumers’ attention and email offers no exception as inboxes are flooded with messages, both wanted and unwanted. The results: growing levels of email immunity causing lower open rates, increasingly aggressive spam filters resulting in lower delivery rates, and preview panes and image blocking that wreak havoc with your click-through rates and metrics.

Yet email is still one of the best technologies for reaching your target audiences. It has a reach that is unmatched for personal communications. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 89% of online Americans use email and 57% use it daily, making email the single most common online activity. Compare that to only 47% of online Americans who use social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Although social networking sites are growing in popularity and usage, they still don’t rival email… yet.

This certainly doesn’t mean that email is the same tool it once was. It’s different and we need to think of it in new ways.

  • With more emails arriving than ever before, you will need to work harder to get readers to open your messages. Emails should always be sent from the same person, and sending from an individual rather than a faceless organization often helps. Give thought to optimizing subject lines – remember that it’s the only thing recipients see when choosing to open the message.
  • Your messages need to be interesting. Not interesting in general, but interesting to the individual who receives it. Generic eNewsletters that offer information about what’s happening at your hospital will be a harder sale than focused, targeted, relevant subscription options.
  • There are a larger number of email programs available and they all look and act a little differently. More importantly, they all present your email a little differently, so don’t get too fancy (or if you do, then test, test, test!)
  • With email as the number one application for mobile Internet, email truly is a mobile solution. Just make certain that your subscribers can read the messages you send to their smartphones.

Email continues to be a vibrant part of the marketing mix, which is why organizations are continuing to invest in email with their limited marketing resources .

One final item to keep in mind as a healthcare organization – there are a lot of restrictions on what you can and can’t send by traditional email. Using secure messaging can be a way to make email work in a compliance-conscious world.

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Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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