By Ian Brodie

“To me, the hottest and sexiest social network right now is your inbox”. Chris Brogan, Author of Social Media 101 and Google+ for Business

Just a few short years ago many were proclaiming the death of Email Marketing.
But the truth (as Merkle reported in their report The View from the Digital Inbox) is that email is still by far our preferred method of business communication. Over 65 percent of respondents (depending on age group) rated email as their preferred method over commercial communication vs less than 4 percent for social media.

Think about it in terms of your own communication. You may chat on social media. You may initiate connections there. But when you want to get down to business, you use email.
Email works because it’s perceived as a 1-1 communication. Even if you’re sending your email to a big list of subscribers, if you do it right, they’ll read it like it was written just for them.

And email is proactive. Once you have permission to email someone you can reach their inbox when you have something important to say. You’re not reliant on them logging in to Twitter or Facebook at the right time to see your message.

And more important than anything: email is about regular, consistent follow up.

Think about the way you win high value customers and clients in the real world. You meet someone or they contact you, but the overwhelming chances are that they’re not ready to buy from you right now.

So you follow up. You keep in touch to keep building the relationship and establishing credibility and trust over time. So that when they’re ready to buy, you’re the first person they turn to.

It’s exactly the same online. People don’t buy high value products and services the first time they visit a website. You need to build credibility and trust over time.
And the very best way to do that is with high value, personal email marketing.
Does it work: you bet.

A recent 18-month study by Social Twist into referrals by brand advocates showed that the number one channel, and the one that generated twice as many new customers as any social media was email.

And a 4-year study just completed by Custora looking at the value of online customers by source showed that customers buying products after clicking a link in an email were 11% more valuable long term that customers from Facebook and 46% more valuable that customers from Twitter.

Email’s not sexy. But it works.

Of course, you’ve got to do it right. And in the next articles in this series I’ll be showing you how to get high value email subscribers, how to get your emails opened and read, and how to turn subscribers into paying customers.

Ian Brodie is a marketing specialist and blogger who helps consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win more clients. To get a free copy of his report on The Art Of Email: 7 Success Strategies for Effective Email Marketing click here >>. Follow Ian at @ianbrodie.