Facebook, as you may have heard, recently bought the messaging app WhatsApp. Shortly after making this $16 billion deal, Facebook announced it was discontinuing its email service. This is, according to the pundits, the death knell for email marketing.
We’d like to say not so fast. First of all, it’s fair to state that the vast majority of people didn’t even know that Facebook offered an email service. (In case you’re part of the crowd, once upon a time, you had the power to set up a dedicated email address that ended with @facebook.com. Now you don’t. We’re sorry.) The fact that people weren’t using Facebook’s email service doesn’t mean they’re not using email!
The research shows that text messages are supplanting email for casual conversation, especially among younger audiences. However, the open and conversion rates for marketing emails remain as robust as they ever were. As we learn more and more about what makes an effective email, and target our campaigns to be more personally relevant and compelling, those open and conversion rates are actually going up, not down.
It’s hard not to look a little sideways at Facebook’s proclamation. After all, a major investment in an alternate technology would lead anyone to decry the merits of this established platform. When you’re hitching your company’s future to text messages, after failed attempts to make email a profit stream, an announcement that email is yesterday’s news arrives wearing the unmistakable scent of sour grapes.
That being said, it’s not too soon to think about how your business will best use text messaging to promote itself. The thinking here is evolving. Having concrete knowledge of your customer base is key. An audience that’s receptive to text messages may only want to receive them in certain circumstances, such as an announcement of a flash sale. Now is the time to begin the research to take advantages of those opportunities down the road.
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