WRITTEN BY: Joanna Track
Do you have a love/hate relationship with your inbox? I do.
My day typically starts (and ends) with a sweep of my email. I often vent and lament on feeling like a slave to my inbox, but like any good Stockholm syndrome victim, I’m also in love with my captor.
When I launched my first digital publication, Sweetspot, in the early 2000s, email as an editorial channel was a new concept. Those days, most emails were focused on B2B communication (the “stock up on printing paper and save!” variety). So sending something fun to people’s inboxes was a welcome distraction.
But the times, they are a-changin, as they say. And so are people’s media habits (and attention spans — wait, what was I saying?). And just like TV, newspapers and magazines, the death of email has been falsely forecasted.
Email is not dead. Let me repeat…email is NOT dead. Not only is it alive and well, I believe it is having a Renaissance moment. Like Goldilocks, what email is able to deliver is “just right” in today’s chaotic media jungle.
Social media sucks.
OK, I say that in jest (but not really). But it is certainly saturated, and noisy and for those with a very short attention span. Not only that but our feeds are filled with things we didn’t sign up for. (I know I’m in perimenopause but I don’t need Facebook to remind me every day.) With email, we only get what we want and we can read it when we want, whereas our social media feeds are there one minute and gone the next. And where social media is too short and newspapers are too long (and messy), what we get in an email can be just the fix we need.
Email is the new magazine.
In the old days (a.k.a. five years ago), we’d get a rush when our monthly periodicals showed up in our mailbox. These were typically based on our own personal interests and hobbies and had just enough meat to keep us satiated until the next one. Now that most magazines have either folded, reduced their frequency and/or have more ads than editorial, it’s just not the same. (I still love a good magazine. They are just few and far between.) Enter the email newsletter. Where you can find high-quality content on just about everything under the sun (and even about the sun if that’s what tickles your fancy).
Yes, please. No, thank you.
In an era where consent matters (amen), email is a much more private and respected channel. We invite people to send us stuff by opting into their newsletters. And we can break up just as quickly. It’s a more intimate, one-to-one permission-based relationship than what you get with social media. And you don’t even have that much control over your mailbox outside your front door! (In other words, I don’t want no stinking flyers.)
There are a few brands who seem to get it and have caught on to the power of email. Our own Bullet brand was born out of these very insights. And more companies are shifting their focus back to this valued channel. Ryan Holiday, Betches and Girls Night In are just a few of my current favourites.
Unfortunately there are others who give email a bad name. I don’t need five emails from the same retailer every day ramming promotions down my throat, thankyouverymuch. But I digress. I’ll save that for next week when I go into the downside of email and how you can fix it.