The Shifting Inbox and its Potential Effects on Email Marketing

My email habits are changing and I’ll bet yours are too. My desktop email client was the sole place I would go to check, read and send email. Unlike many, I never adopted Hot Mail and although I have a Gmail account I rarely use it. That was then, This is now, I’m fully embedded in online social community and the email functionality that goes with it.

I find myself using the facebook email feature exclusively with some people. And why not. I’m on my page more often than my main email account and it allows me the ability to do lots more activities while I’m there. When I’m on traditional email, I’m on email and nothing else. Not as efficient. My connections are on their pages more frequently, so they are more likely to see my message sooner. And the best part is no spam!

All of us hate spam and no matter what we do, it gets through. I have full challenge-response filtering on my Earthlink account and still I see it occasionally. On facebook I’m protected by their security and my privacy settings. This could have major implications for commercial email programs in the future. As more consumers shift their email habits to social networking sites, the power and value of marketing emails to a primary email client will suffer. So the question arises, what should email marketers do?

There is no way to really know how many of your customers are making their social networking email primary. Certainly it’s the younger population, so it’s only an immediate threat for marketers who target this demographic. Here are some things to consider if you send commercial email and rely on it to drive business objectives.

  • Watch the performance of your list closely. Open rates, click-throughs, etc. If you see downturns investigate further.
  • If you send email through a vendor, ask them for their thinking about this issue and press them for help.
  • Listen for any signs of this from your voice of the customer reports. Better yet, run a simple poll on your web site or in your email communications to get it first hand.
  • Accelerate your social media efforts. The more you establish yourself in the “hood” the better chance you will have to establish inbox preference there.

Adding this aspect to your email strategy is smart and will help you preserve this valuable asset.

Please take a moment to vote the poll and chime in if you have other thoughts.

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