Why email and SMS are still the most effective forms of marketing in 2021

Jonathan Redford
by Jonathan Redford
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The modern world of technology has moved so rapidly over the past couple of decades that it’s easier than ever to move from having an idea to creating a working application or digital service. One of the problems with this? Option overload.

Don’t get me wrong - many of the productivity, communication and project management tools that have risen to popularity over the past few years are amazing time-savers, truly shifting the way I work on a daily basis and creating increased productivity and output. However, it’s more important than ever to identify the tools that will truly move the needle for your business, rather than jumping onto every new app and ending up in a sea of them.

When it comes to customer communication, there are a ton of great tools that allow businesses to connect with end users, such as live chat and chat bots embedded on a website in an app. These tools have made it easier to engage with customers, or potential customers, at the right time in their buying journey, leading to increased conversions. In addition to that, businesses have access to richer analytics to understand user behaviour and trends, with greater data insight than ever before. This data allows marketing managers to make better decisions and sell products and services specific to the customer’s wants and needs.

So with all of these new options, why hasn’t email and SMS marketing died off and succumbed to the rise of 21st century technology?

It comes down to three core reasons: their open framework, mass adoption and direct access to the end user.

Open Framework

When it comes to adopting marketing tools, decision makers are not only looking at the features and abilities of the technology, but also who creates and sells the product. You want to ensure your investment of both time and money is going to a) a company that shares similar values and b) one who will be around for years to come providing updates and support.

Additionally, in the case that the company behind the product goes under, or your marketing needs change, it’s equally important to be able to pivot and migrate your data to an alternative platform. Unfortunately with proprietary products, this is not always easy - or even possible.

This is where technology like email and SMS wins out - they are built entirely on open protocols and technology, much like the internet itself. There’s no monopoly power that can change the rules or underlying architecture of email.

But how about companies like Google, or Microsoft? At the core of these email services, it’s still as simple as it was 30 years ago - these industry juggernauts have simply built features and user interfaces, created strong security protocols and provide a rich network of product add-ons to keep its customers using their platform. At the end of the day, there’s nothing special about how they send an email from one server to another.

With an open framework behind email and SMS services, there’s no risk of your data - and your communication channels - suddenly disappearing into the night. Your data is your own, and remains a powerful tool in growing and sustaining your core business.

Mass Adoption

Remember the first email address you ever made?

If you were a kid in the 90s, it was probably littered with cultural references or slang that now make you cringe a little - there’s a reason we moved on to more ‘grown-up’ email addresses as the years passed.

The beauty of email and SMS communication lies in its mass adoption power. Every kid and their dog has signed up for an email account, with many of us using multiple emails for work, home and specific services. This provides ample opportunity to communicate directly with your customer base on a regular basis.

As tides continue to change around the ubiquity and popularity of various social media platforms, and algorithms change overnight with substantial impact on advertising strategy success, the mass adoption nature of email and SMS means email lines of communication remain open with the people you need to be connected with - your customers.

Direct access to end users

It’s no fun building an entire social media strategy, only for your platform of choice to pivot in how they treat your content overnight. Entire empires have risen and fallen thanks to small but crucial changes in Instagram or Facebook’s algorithm. There’s a reason digital marketers talk about the importance of an owned audience - if your audience, and your customer base, is only accessible to you via someone else’s social media platform, what happens if they pull the rug out on you overnight?

Email and SMS communication holds its value within a sea of change thanks to the fact that it is direct and owned - once a user gives you their email address, they’ve given you permission to knock directly on their door, not to try and send them messages from the town square miles away. This form of communication is a powerful way to build direct and trusted relationships with your customers, on your terms, built on your strategy.

If you’re yet to build your own email list or communicate to your customers via the industry-leading tools of email and SMS, you’re leaving huge value on the table in terms of how you can work your existing and future customer base.

Fletcher Digital works with small businesses to achieve growth through identifying, building and implementing digital tools and automations. If you’re looking to increase productivity and efficiency in your business, book a free 15 minute consultation to get started. We’d love to hear from you!

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