Email is down… now what?
6 AM at the office… still dark outside…
It was the time of day in Baltimore when the night workers and day workers pass each other in the streets…
I sat down with a steaming hot cup of coffee to send out this week’s issue. I opened my browser… and saw this…
And then I did this…
The future of email
Last week, the AIM and Threefold Systems teams held a conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. 80 marketers and developers from 12 countries around the globe gathered to tackle our common challenges and share ideas.
One of these challenges, one that grows each year, is email. It is still our largest channel in terms of revenue… generating more than 80% of our online sales. While the mainstream marketing gurus may be saying, email is dead, I can assure you it is alive and well. But there are two things in particular we need to keep tabs on.
What challenges are we facing?
Six years ago, I began testing to see what percentage of readers are opening our emails on mobile devices (Mobile, not Tablet). At the time, it was around 15%. I’ve run this test at least a dozen additional times since then. In Q4 of 2016, that number was around 70%! Mobile isn’t just here… the mobile tsunami swept right over us when we weren’t watching. Mobile doesn’t prevent us from communicating with our customers; if anything it increases the frequency of communication. But it does change how our customers consume our emailed content and, more importantly, how they engage with content and promotional material that exists one click away from the email.
Additionally, email deliverability is in constant decline. Slowly, subtly, it’s getting much harder to get into the inbox. Web based email systems are getting much more intelligent about what a customer really wants to read by looking at engagement factors such as clicks, read time, delete without reading, etc…
These two challenges incrementally degrade your ability to effectively communicate with your customers, but imagine a scenario where you couldn’t communicate with your subscribers at all. Unlikely, yes… impossible, no. One business I’ve worked with was flagged as a spammer by Spamhaus, the world’s largest spam vigilante organization. 60% of their email went into spam for over a month. In another instance, I received notification that Verizon was going to shut off our connection to the internet… in 24 hours! Imagine the catastrophic implications of 80% of your revenue disappearing overnight.
Project X… A way to communicate when you can’t communicate
What would you do if you couldn’t email your subscribers? Think about that… what would you do?
I have an answer. AIM has been working quietly for over 6 months on something we call, Project X. Though at one point it was named Project Pokemon (we’re no longer playing Pokemon Go).
At our conference in Florida last week, we revealed this project to the masses. It’s a communication channel with over 1 billion active monthly users… you likely use it every day… Facebook Messenger.
“My subscribers aren’t using Facebook Messenger”, I can hear you saying. Perhaps. But even if they aren’t using Facebook Messenger now… we know a large percentage are using Facebook. If they are using Facebook… Facebook Messenger is only one click on a red notification icon away.
AIM is currently working with Agora Health UK to adopt Facebook Messenger as an acquisition and communication channel.
Agora Health UK is running the following ad on Facebook… the response mechanism pushes people into a Messenger conversation which includes a link to sign up for the email newsletter on an external page.
1,800 people have clicked the ‘Send Message’ button to start the conversation at a cost of £750… 41 pence each to generate a list of interested prospects we can message. 100 people went on to give us their email addresses… £7 per email. That’s high, for sure, but we’re continuing to optimize that CPA down. The Messenger file is getting content twice a week and occasional adverts. It’s too early to see how they will trend in terms of monetization… but we’ll report back.
Back to my question, what would you do if you couldn’t email your subscribers? Agora Health UK knows… they will use Facebook Messenger.
We are just about to work with three new clients with additional Messenger functionality. We will continue to report back as this project progresses. Future plans include: customer service functionality, paid service fulfillment and payment. Yes, I said payment.
If you are interested in learning more about how Facebook Messenger can be used in your business, simply message Agora Integrated Marketing using the word Messenger. You can do this from your phone’s Messenger app or on the AIM Facebook page.
Managing Director, AIM