From the Influencers

Using Email for Shaping Influence

July 28, 2017

While there’s been a unprecedented push towards social media marketing – and for good reason, given the growth of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other social applications as business tools – email, the tried and tested medium remains a crucial component to any influencer strategy.

In fact, Hubspot reported earlier this year that, despite the rise of social media, email remains, by far, the preferred business communication medium, as indicated by 86 percent of survey respondents.  In fact, because of the nature of email and eNewsletters – they don’t have the restrictions inherent to social media posts – they tend to be a highly influential tool. 

Old school email?  Really?  Consider that email marketing generates a massive $38 return on every $1 spent. 

It’s true, most people feel they have to sort through far too much email on a daily basis.  Still, anyone in that position also knows there are many that command attention.  It might be because of topical subject matter, or it may be a well-crafted headline.  In many instances, it’s simply a case of the sender having become a valuable source of information or thought leadership.  And the fact is that working through a deep email inbox takes time, but it’s a very different process than scanning through a Twitter feed that moves faster across the screen than Jimmy Johnson at The Brickyard – both are nearly impossible to follow.

Because of its nature and design, email lends itself well to building thought leadership.  It doesn’t disappear once you’ve opened it.  It is easy to move and save in a specific location for future access.  It is easy to share with colleagues and associates.  It’s self-contained in your email application and doesn’t have to require additional apps, registrations, and other frustrating and time-consuming actions to generate interest.  Sure, you may have to click to go to a full article, but the initial engagement is within the well-designed email.

Importantly, email is much more likely to be saved and read at a convenient time, when readers can give them appropriate attention.  If you’ve caught your audience’s attention, while they may not have the time immediately to read what you’ve delivered, there’s a very good chance they’ll come back to it.  According to a study by Adobe in 2015, Americans spend significant time in their email outside the workplace: while watching TV (70 percent), in bed (52 percent), on vacation (50 percent), to name a few.  While the specific percentages may have changed since the survey, they trend certainly holds true today – once you’ve caught your audience’s attention, the chances are very good your content will be read.

Furthermore, once you’ve engaged your audience, recurring interactions become much easier, and emails are easy to make cyclical.   Once your audience knows your information comes to them daily, weekly, monthly, whatever time frame you choose, you are able to build a relationship with them and increase the level of interest, even reaching anticipation at times.

That’s not to say you should ignore social media – to the contrary, you should most certainly not.  But you also don’t want to cast aside an easy way to communicate and engage with your audience on a regular basis and build your credibility as a thought leader. 

There’s no substitute for great content, regardless of which distribution mechanisms you prefer, but once you have your content, your path to becoming an influencer has to include a stop in the email inbox.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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