There was a time when I predicted that email would go the way of the albatross in terms of its usefulness as a marketing tool. After all, with the increasing prevalence of spam, spam filters that often catch valid emails and send them to the junk folder if not blocking the email altogether, and crowded inboxes, how could it continue to be effective as a marketing tool? Or, so I thought.
I’ve since moderated my stance. Email is not going anywhere. Despite its woes, email is too engrained in the psyche of the internet.
Enter blogs and another oddity called RSS. They promised to knock email off its perennial marketing throne. Have they? Not yet. I contend rather than blogs and RSS being at enmity with email, the protocols can work together in a very sympathetic fashion. Each has its own unique attributes after all.
Email has always trumped on the personalization card. RSS lacks that feature at present, but bypasses the spam problem altogether. Blogs sit squarely between the two as an information source.
For the savvy online marketer, using all three in concert has great attractibility. Here are some thoughts on how you can use them in a coordinated way:
- Use blog posts as “seedbed” content for a more formal email newsletter. I like the notion of quickly posting an idea as it crosses my mind. Blogs facilitate that quite well. The blog provides a place where that idea can roost until I’m ready to engage it more fully, then take the idea and flesh it out in an email. In fact, I can create my email completely from content archived on the blog.
- Blogs fill the gap between publication cycles. You send out an email newsletter monthly? Weekly? If you’ve adhered to best practices and allowed for confirmed opt-in, you can be assured your readers anticipate your communiques. However, what about the between times? With frequent updates, your blog will enable you to stay top-of-mind with consumers.
- Use RSS liberally. While still in infancy so far as mainstream use is concerned, RSS is a highly useful technology. Be sure and tie a variety of feeds to your blog. Feedburner is the mechanism I use for that purpose. It’s easy to do and gives me feeds for MyYahoo, MyMSN, NewsGator and others.
- Use FeedBlitz for those who prefer receiving notices via email. Some people prefer cream in their coffee, and some like it black. Point is, everyone has a preference about how they would like to receive information. The more techie among us like RSS. Don’t even talk to them about email. It’s old hat. Other blog readers prefer the option of getting notices about updates to your blog via email. FeedBlitz is a wonderful tool for facilitating that.
With blogs, RSS, and email it need not be either/or, but rather both/and. Using every technological means possible to reach consumers will help ensure you stay top-of-mind with them and increase the likelyhood they’ll do business with you rather than your competitor.