By John Houle


I have heard the drum beat from the younger masses that email is dead, but if you’re serious about reaching business people in new media, then email marketing is still King.

Email has 2.9 billion users worldwide. That is nearly three times as many users as Facebook and Twitter, which combined make up 0.2% of the number of emails sent out each day. And it’s not just social media that email marketing trounces. Web searches made on every search engine every day equal only 1/100th of daily email traffic.  It could be the reason why business investment in email marketing in 2012 increased by 60 percent, since it had a proven Return on Investment of 4,000 percent.

It’s completely understandable, when you think about social media today. Most business-minded people are not using Facebook for private, one-on-one conversations. But, business people and consumers are opening their email and connecting with their customers and friends every hour, and sometimes every minute during the business day.

Put simply, email is the first, best social media channel. It is the most cost effective mechanism to deliver a message directly into a customer’s mailbox. A tweet or Facebook update may never be seen, since it may be part of a much larger timeline featuring hundreds of other people.

This does not mean that you should eliminate social media in your new marketing strategy. But, your first focus should be email marketing. You, of course, need to say things worth reading, and if you do, your customers will pay attention to you. They also expect to receive email offers and already have a high tolerance for them. It’s because most of them are already doing business through email.

So, if you have been focusing all of your energy on social media and Web rankings, you may want to take a step back and look at the number one tool in new media – email marketing.

Here are some tips for your email marketing campaign:

  • Update your email lists. You need to go through them and make sure the names are accurate and the emails are current.
  • Personalize your lists. Most blast email programs allow you to include a personalized greeting. If a person you email is named Alison, but she goes by Ali, then this should be the name you send to. Set up a field in your contact list of “preferred name,” and use this field for your personalized greeting.
  • Segment your lists. The best email blasts are targeted. Whenever you can segment your lists into categories, the more tailored you can make your message.
  • Use professional software. Please don’t send a mass email and blind cc everyone. Use email software such as Constant Contact or MailChimp, but understand that like with any marketing initiative, it is not 100 percent. Some of the larger companies may block email blast software, but the vast number of your emails will get through.
  • Keep your message clear and concise. Your eblast should have one primary message that is to the point. People don’t read emails with flowing text that continuously makes you scroll down. We’re all too busy, and we simply won’t invest that much time.
  • For e-newsletters, link articles to a blog. If you opt to move from a printed newsletter to an electronic edition, keep your articles short and only to a few lines, and house your full articles on your blog. This will ultimately drive people back to your blog and website, where you have the opportunity to sell them your product or service.

Remember it’s best to focus your marketing activities on where your customers are. Today, they’re on their email all day long, and when that paradigm shifts we’ll then reach out to them in another way. Is text messaging next?

John Houle is the president of JH Communications and can be reached at 401.831.6123 or at