Multichannel e-mail emerges as the newest trend

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Jeanniey Mullen
Jeanniey Mullen

Anyone trying to send an electronic message to another person right now must make a very important decision: Through which vehicle do I want to use to send my message?

For electronic messaging alone we are faced with more than a dozen different basic choices: an instant message from a Blackberry, an IM from a desktop, e-mail from Facebook, wall posting, a MySpace message, a LinkedIn Inmail message, a Twitter message, a regular old corporate e-mail, a personal free e-mail such as Yahoo or Gmail, an SMS, an MMS and now even e-mails from different applications like newsreaders and kiosks.

Today, e-mail marketing means much more than sending a message out to a list. We are now challenged with merging an increasingly on-demand and digital consumer's daily media consumption habits into our strategic approaches.

Less than 60% of people who read their e-mail messages read them exclusively on a laptop or PC screen. Digital devices like the BlackBerry and iPhone provide immediate access around the clock for consumers. Scanning, accessing and taking action on e-mail marketing messages has never been easier or faster.This means that the conversation surrounding electronic messages we receive has increased, challenging us to capture the focus and attention of the reader.

Instead of being able to present your company's message to a person who is focused on nothing else except your content, mobility often means that e-mails are scanned, glanced at and processed with less than 35% of a recipient's full attention. Your message must stand out and engage within milliseconds.

Your single channel e-mail marketing efforts must evolve. No longer can you rely on your e-mail message carrying your product offering the entire way. E-mail is part of a multi-channel digital communication. The effectiveness of a single e-mail as a sales vehicle and lead generator is reducing as it gives way to other forms of mass influence. Still, the effectiveness of e-mail as a key influencer is increasing and we must adjust to this reality.

There are four actions inside e-mail marketing that you take to ensure you are on the right track. These include: identifying social influencers on your e-mail marketing list, designing e-mails that work in all screens, creating integrated messages to maximize response, and preparing for mobility of e-mail access.

As e-mail experts, it is our responsibility to define the future of our medium in a manner that respects the medium and take full advantage of innovative ways for using it. When integrated with other digital channels effectively, results go through the roof.

Jeanniey Mullen is co-founder of the Email Experience Council and CMO of Zinio. Reach her at jmullen@zinio.com.

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