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Social networks prove email is not dead

Forget what you might assume, or what you may have read about social networks signalling the demise of email as a communication method. Email is alive and well, and still proving to be a vital part of the marketer’s armoury. Even social networks are relying on it more.

In my marketing workshops, I devote a lot of attention to email and how companies should use it more frequently and more creatively. We cite Facebook as a prime example of how email helps a website grow. If Facebook had not set up so many auto-notification emails, would it have grown so huge, so fast?

Every time someone says something, likes something, comments on something or sends someone something on Facebook, Facebook sends out an email notification. You can turn off all or some of these, naturally, but the default is that you can easily end up with dozens, even hundreds of Facebook notifications in your email inbox each day.

All of those notification emails encourage people to click back to the site to interact more – hence generating more email notifications. While this (some might say) excessive use of email has been helping Facebook become the largest online brand in the world, few people seem to have commented on email’s role in the success story. Conversely, people have been talking about email as a dying medium.

If email is a dying medium, why is it now that Twitter has also started sending out an increased number of notification emails? Suddenly I am receiving notification emails when someone follows me, when someone re-tweets my tweets or when someone tweets something mentioning me. Twitter has gone to the trouble of setting all that up, which is not something you would do if email was a waste of time.

Also, I have started receiving emails from some of the games I play on Facebook, telling me when people beat my score. These companies are no longer relying on me finding this information for myself on Facebook, they are using email to tell me.

Email is still the most powerful web-based method of marketing communication. Push versus pull, and push wins every time.

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