The Changes to Email Marketing will Not End with Facebook.
Jay Baer proposed in a blog post on Monday that Facebook for Business is Email Marketing 2.0, and that email can then be used to value marketing efforts on Facebook. It is an excellent approach, and I think most comments missed the point. Facebook marketing and email marketing are both about developing an audience that allows you to engage over time.
Facebook is (part of) Email Marketing 2.0.
The most important part of the heading isn’t Facebook, it is Email 2.0. Both Facebook and email are used by companies to distribute information. But email marketing is a one-way blast channel.
Email Marketing 2.0 should look vastly different from today’s email marketing. With all due respect to the email providers integrating social sharing into email, that does not make email marketing a platform for sharing and discussing. It continues to be a one-way channel, at times simply promoting discussion or sharing elsewhere.
Here are some of the key differences in Email Marketing 2.0
- Email will be easy to share. Today, email chain letters are annoying. However, sharing content or a link on Facebook or Twitter is not only appropriate, it is welcomed.
- We would be able to respond in public or private. Many email newsletters are from a email@example.com address. They are intended to be one way communications. In Email 2.0, two way communication is the standard. At best, email marketing today allows a one-to-one communication to develop, with no group communication or network benefits.
- We could be able to create and publish too. In Email 2.0, everyone has the potential to reach a large audience. A large budget is still an advantage, but it is an advantage that can be overcome. Individuals and small companies can create and reach large audiences.
Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter, LinkedIn and vertical social networks, allow companies to distribute content, create discussion, receive feedback and give us a platform to publish alongside marketers and media powerhouses. In short, social media platforms meet the core functional purpose of email marketing – distributing content to your audience – while adding the collaboration and publishing features expected in Email Marketing 2.0.
Email Marketing and Facebook Marketing are About Developing Audiences
Marketers are developing audiences. The first major digital platform for developing audiences was email. Now, digital audience development extends to social platforms, platforms that empower the audience and enable two way dialog. Marketers are stuck thinking about the channel, but the key is developing an audience. Email will just be one more channel in which marketers have developed an audience they can reach. It will not be the only one, and it likely will not be the most important one.
I believe Jay’s key point was that marketers need to value audiences. In marketing, the ability to reach, impact and engage our audience is tremendously valuable. Sure, we may want to adjust a specific valuation of an impression for the amount of competing clutter or how engaged our audience is. However, fundamentally, the ability to reach our audience, without paying rent (for advertising real estate), makes having an audience incredibly valuable to marketers.
Today, despite all of the corporate buzz created by social media, it is still a nascent activity for many marketers. For those developing social media initiatives, valuing your ability to reach your audience makes it easier to value growing your audience also. As your audience grows, reach increases, impressions increase and value to the business increases.
Marketers need to begin developing audiences, across all channels. Marketing 101 tells us the first touch does not convert, so ascribe value to your audience, not merely to the activity. Starting with the primary audience platform, email, as a basis for that valuation makes more sense than any other proposal I have seen to date.
Jay, thanks for the inspiration this week.