So has social media put an end to email? I doubt that we're going to see email go away completely, but there are changes happening. Check your own communications to see what shifts you're seeing. Based on what I've observed in my own business, I've come to these conclusions.
1. Open rates. Check your newsletter open rates to get a picture over time of what's being looked at. From texts, to emails, telemarketer calls, ads, thousands of cable channels, etc. We're constantly bombarded with messages from every direction.
There are televisions in elevators these days and ads on shopping carts. Information overload has created an environment where open rates are falling and people are thinking twice before giving up their email addresses.
2. Spam vs. information. It's seems lately that some people think nothing of sending out three to four emails a day, seemingly in an effort to break down your resistance. If I'm not interested, sending me more emails isn't going to change my mind.
Yes, I know that you're supposed to touch your prospects multiple times, and some people will always wait until the last minute to sign up. However, it's likely that those prospects are also being repeatedly contacted by others as well. There are ways to touch them without being intrusive (which is why relationship building is so important). Otherwise they're just going to become overwhelmed and tune out completely.
3. Blogs are alive and well. For a while I wasn't doing much posting on my blog, especially after I opened a Twitter account. However, after I tried to get on Twitter a few times and couldn't due to it being "over capacity" I realized that one should not depend on any one tool. If for some reason your social media account gets closed or isn't working, your blog will still be there.
4. Does a "free gift" lead to a paying client? It's been common practice to give some free report or other item to entice people to sign up for your list. Then you market to them in an effort to get some of them to move through your funnel. Social media (and blog subscriptions) has changed all of that.
When people subscribe to your blog, they want to get your content. They didn't have to be given a gift to do it. They've opted in because they're interested. Similarly with social media you can join groups with members in your target market. You don't have to sift though subscribers who may not have any interest in you (other than the free gift).
Frankly I think it's better to have people opt in who have already been "pre-qualified" through your social media (and in-person) channels. They already know, like and trust you and have opted in to get more.
You may look at your own communications and come to different conclusions, and that's fine. In the end you have to make your decisions based on what's working for you, and what isn't. Look at your statistics and decide if it's time to make some changes in how you're contacting your clients and prospects.
Copyright © 2009 Deborah A. Bailey
Deborah A. Bailey is author of two non-fiction books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life .” She's also the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio, a weekly internet talk show. Her fiction work includes a short story collection and a novel, available on Amazon.com.
For more information, visit http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com.