Earlier this year, AWeber offered a scholarship to the high school or undergraduate college student who best described what they think will happen to email now that social media is demanding so much attention.
We wanted to know where email marketing may be headed, and what better way to find out than asking the up-and-coming generation?
Some of their thoughts may surprise you; others just make sense. Overall, 44% believe email has its place and will stick around, 41% are more inclined to think social media will overtake email and 15% just aren't sure yet.
Students that believe email will stay say it's because email is good for business and formal communication. Many also pointed out that an email address is required for many sites, and that social media and email pair well together to cover informal and formal communications.
Those that said email will be replaced believe it's because email is not fast enough, some even going as far as calling it digital snail mail. This indicates that while many students use mobile devices to update their social media sites, they aren't aware they can log in to their email account as well.
Many of the students only took their current use of email into account when responding, which may be why they're inclined to believe email will die or they're uncertain about its future.
What the future generation taught us
Email marketing may not be dead, but it's important to incorporate social media marketing in your plans as well. It's also important to know your audience. We see that a lot of young people don't use email as frequently, and if that's your target audience then you may need to beef up your social media presence.
Even as these students get older and maybe do start using email more frequently, you also need to consider the fact that 72% of adults are on some social network.
Here are the top 3 takeaway points from this study:
1. You can keep on emailing, the majority are still checking. 95% of teens who follow companies on Facebook also subscribe to their email. And what are most of them looking for? Coupons and deals.
2. Students think email tends to be professional while social media tends to be more casual, but it's not set in stone. You can make your emails more casual by including links to videos, comics, or anything that you find amusing that's relevant to your industry. You can also announce more business related information on social media, such as sales or company news.
3. Social media is supposed to be fun, so don't overdue the business stuff. Students made it clear they like spending time on social media because they enjoy it. You can keep yourself on their radar by interacting with them, but remember they are expecting most business communications in their email.
So we know this: email marketing is effective and here to stay awhile, and social media is popular among students and adults alike. The students pointed out they even work well together.
This is what you should do to make this dream team work:
Include time-sensitive information on social media. Most students mentioned they check their social media networks more often than email, so cover your bases and update your social media networks when you send that important email.
Put up a sign up form on Facebook. With over 750 million users, and most students subscribing to lists they become fans on, you want to make it easy for potential subscribers to join.
Start discussions on social media and carry them over to your emails. Ask for feedback and listen to what people are saying. You can learn what needs to be improved in your emails and also get some content ideas based on what people are talking about.
Communication evolution: will one take over the other?
A good number of students alluded to a communication evolution, some with the opinion that email will be ousted and more with the opinion that email will continue to grow with the times and with them. It impressed us that so many of the students were able to think beyond their current social outlooks and see email's place. Do you see email's place?