Still Email?

email-envelope“Sir,” I began, ensuring I would start this week’s conversation. “I know that we discuss email frequently as the marketing vehicle of choice, so to clarify, are you saying that it is really the only choice?”

The Effective Detective looked at me for a second or two, raised an eyebrow, and replied, “Watson, I sometimes think you are trying to provoke me with what I could consider to be inane questions.”

“Perish the thought sir,” I returned smiling. “I merely wish to start a conversation.”

“Very well,” he began, still giving me a dour look. “I shall address your question and perhaps we can move on to more interesting discussions. The short answer is yes.”

That was not the answer I expected and I imagine the look on my face betrayed my astonishment. “Sir??” I sputtered.

The Detective sighed. “I see by your reaction that my hopes have been dashed.” The Detective regarded me with a slight grin that informed me that I had been had, but he continued on. “Actually, the complete answer is yes, but,” at which point he paused slightly, waiting for me to regain my composure, and encourage him.

“Yes, but what, sir?” I asked, knowing this was the only way he was going to give me a straight answer to my inquiry.

“I’m glad you asked Watson,” The Detective replied, taking control of the conversation. “Yes, but that doesn’t mean you cannot use other vehicles as budget and preference allow, however you will find that in terms of cost effectiveness, reach, contact, and consistency of contact that email is surpassed by none.”

“But sir, all of the talk about low open rates and Gmail issues, it sounds like email is not as effective as it once was,” I interjected.

“As to Gmail issues, we shall discuss that at a later date, as to low open rates, consider a list of 250 people with an open rate of 20 percent. How often do you gain the attention of 50 people at once to something you are saying? Let us take a broader example and look at a list of 6,000 with an open rate of 15 percent. That translates to an audience of 900 for your opinions. I would say that is a pretty good percentage. Concerning email not being as effective at it once was, that may be true, but I feel that is due to the misuse of the tool rather than the tool itself. Television is no longer as effective as it once was in entertaining the public, but there are high quality shows produced that provoke discussion such as “Breaking Bad”, or “Homeland”. So should television writers be looking for new lines of work, or should they be trying to overcome the general mediocrity of the medium?” The Detective now paused at his more characteristic time, giving me a cue to ask another, perhaps inane, question.

“But the other vehicles?” I asked tentatively.

“Are for another discussion, Watson, however, each of them have their place. But if you want to discuss things that are not as effective as they once were, direct mail should be exhibit A. Social Media? Well there is a lot to discuss there,” The Detective’s reply was succinct, indicating it was time to end this conversation.

“So, if I were to summarize, email is a highly cost-effective tool for small businesses, but one that requires focus on quality to use well.”

“Ah Watson, I do believe you have redeemed yourself for the day. Let us move on.” The Detective finished.

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