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As E-Mail Open Rates Plunge, Social Media Marketing Makes Even More Sense

Jim Tobin.
By: Jim Tobin  |   November 24, 2008  |   View Comments

I was speaking with a friend the other day, as she had the opportunity to take a new job in social media marketing at the large company she worked for. The job was only funded for one year, however, so she was going to sit tight, feeling it was too risky.  She currently works in email marketing for that company.

The only thing I could say was, “I’ve got to think that staying in email marketing for the next year is the riskier move.” I said it politely, but I’m personally unsubscribing from just about every email list I’m on. New data from eMarketer (one of the few emails I always open) shows that I’m not alone, as email open rates are falling off a cliff recently.

Email open rates plunge

These are pretty significant declines given how quick it is. This means email marketing is 18.75% less effective than it was a year ago.

Email marketing (like TV advertising, billboards, even press releases) is interruption marketing. “Let’s get people when they don’t expect it.” Nothing wrong with that, but consumers are doing everything they can to stop being interrupted (using DVRs, opting out of direct mail lists, getting on no-call lists, and unsubscribing or deleting emails).

Isn’t it better then to decide why your company matters to people? Then you can contribute to that conversation online in some sort of meaningful way. Ironically, if you do that well, you might just make your email campaigns more effective.

But I think generally speaking, email will continue to be less effective, while good social media marketing will become more effective.


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