Boris Dzhingarov
Boris Dzhingarov 19 October 2017

The Threat to Email in a Changing Internet Technology Landscape

The old rule in digital marketing about email is that “the money is in the list.” It’s a familiar refrain that is trotted out by some of the most well-known marketers like Frank Kern, who has even sold video training courses on how to maximize what you can get out of your customer list. However, things are changing and not necessarily for the better.

There are several forces at play that are threatening to derail the value of the email list for digital marketers and we’re going to examine that now.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are fairly new. They’ve come about from some clever coders, such as the likes of the Push Crew (cool name!) and One Signal who developed plug-ins for websites to run their push notifications. The push notification is a type of modified pop-up that’s browser friendly and offers to notify the website visitor about updates to the site when they’re discovered. The idea is you no longer need to subscribe to an email list and wait to be sent an email when there’s a new blog post published or product released. No, no. We just tell you while you’re browsing the web. Immediately.

Of course, it’s a great idea because of its immediacy making it more effective in some ways than trusty email. Site visitors are still contactable when they’re away from the site. On the flip side, only some of the push notification plug-ins for WordPress (and other CMS platforms) are free, which means there may be two subscriptions to pay for now. Some people also wish to universally turn them off because they find push notifications as annoying as web browser pop-ups once were.

Facebook Threat

The sheer number of users on Facebook has been threatening other platforms like email for some time. There are people who spend so much time on the Facebook and Messenger apps that the Messenger system has become their pseudo inbox in place of email. For these people, they ask contacts to contact them there and often no longer even bother to check their email.

The degree to which this is a problem depends on the demographic and geographic location of the target group you wish to reach. It’s worth noting too that some millennials are beginning to move away from Facebook onto other platforms that look more carefully at issues like privacy and information sharing.

Gmail Email Segmentation

Changes to the way Gmail organizes the inbox for most users has created fresh issues for digital marketers too. There’s now not only one inbox but several. One of the new ones was created by the search engine giant to contain all types of marketing messages that are sent to the Gmail account. In this way, messages from businesses aren’t necessarily noticed right away, if they’re opened at all. The change has had a noticeable effect on open rates for businesses that regularly send out newsletters to subscribers who’ve already opted in.

What does all this mean for digital marketers who are worried about email retention and response rates? It seems that focusing on quality content and effective link building is still the principal strategy to be employed to maintain the push for an increasing number of visitors. In this way, it helps to offset any losses from technological changes outlined above.

Apply the right strategies and email marketing can still work for your business.

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