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Email Marketing is Dead! (Says Frank Kern)

Frank Kern's State of the Internet Address

Email marketing, a long-time darling of many Internet marketers, may be coming to an end. And it’s not just me saying that, it’s Frank Kern!

Actually, he didn’t say that at all, but something he said sparked this idea.

Let’s start at the beginning: I just recently watched Kern’s State of the Internet Address. It’s an almost 40-minute long video in which Kern talks about the past year in Internet marketing and makes some predictions as to what he thinks the coming years will have in store for us. It’s a great video and I absolutely recommend you go and watch it. There are some really simple and at the same time profound nuggets of information in this clip.

Fairly early on in the video, Kern talks about how the Internet is still very much in the process of going mainstream and how many companies, small and large, are basically clueless when it comes to building relationships with their customers online and marketing their businesses online. This can be a great opportunity for Internet marketers, who specialize in just that.

But here’s the kicker: As an example, Kern says he was working with some band or other and says how their website didn’t even have a value proposition or an opt-in.
He then goes on to say that every baker, every hair salon and generally every business is going to be going online soon (if they aren’t already) and they will need help from people like you (assuming you’re in online marketing).

And it’s this combination of the explicit mention of opt-ins together with the notion of every business going online that got me thinking.

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The problem is, quite simply, that I don’t want to be on my baker’s mailing list. Neither do I want to be on the mailing list of the electronics store down the road, the cinema I go to from time to time, the local groceries store or any other one of the businesses I come in contact with during a typical week.

Even as it already is, the amount of places where you need to plug in an e-Mail address and your name to get something is ridiculous. Sure, as an Internet marketer you are more likely to be exposed to this kind of thing, but seriously: Nowadays every other blog has an opt-in for a free report of some kind or another.

Just recently, I saw a topic on the Warrior Forum, where someone asked if anyone was using their main e-mail address for opt-ins. The unsurprising result: Most people have dedicated spam-addresses for opt-ins. Sure, those are all Internet marketers, but I can say two things from personal experience: First, I have always used a secondary address for opt-ins and second, I have had a ridiculous amount of member accounts all over the Internet for a long time. Since long before I started this whole online marketing thing, in fact.

Quo Vadis, Email Marketing?

All of this makes me wonder how email-marketing is going to develop in the future. The more people make use of opt-ins, the smaller the value becomes, because soon enough, everyone will use expiring e-mail addresses or spam-addresses for that kind of thing.

Many websites have been addressing the account-creation issue by offering OpenID, twitter or facebook logins. This makes a lot of sense, since we like to make use of many online-platforms but no-one wants to have dozens of different accounts and passwords.

Apart from that, e-mail is already showing it’s age. I’m seeing a lot of communication shift away from e-mail and towards instant messaging, VoIP, twittering and other social media type communication devices.

I wonder how list-marketing will adapt and change over the years. Or maybe it won’t? I’m just pretty sure that it will either evolve or dwindle and die.

All the best,

P.S.: Just as a disclaimer: No, Frank Kern didn’t actually say list-marketing is dead and yes: I’m aware that list-marketing works very well. It’s a great way to make money and I’m sure it will remain so for at least another couple of years. There’s no doubt that as time goes on, being truly unique and interesting will become more and more important for email marketers.

Here’s my video on the same subject:


Shane
 

I'm Shane Melaugh and I'm the guy writing most of the posts on this blog. My goal is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights on how to grow your business by creating compelling offers, driving traffic and increasing conversions.

G Allan Roberts - January 2, 2010

Shane,

You are right about the value of emails. I think you will see a shift from emails to the use of facebook or twitter as a way to optin to local business.

Here’s a list of my favorite businesses and you can share that with your facebook friends.

I think you see a lot more of social marketing or referral marketing and small businesses rewarding people when that share online.

Like tell ten friends on facebook and get free meal and stuff like that.

But, the internet is much more then email. Get you local baker to share some video of him making a cake is very powerful content to a person in that town or city.

Coming from print media, I see the internet as just a digital form of that.

You make some great videos can feature them on my web site at internetmarketingsecrets2.com/blog ?

    Shane - January 2, 2010

    Interesting thoughts, Allan.

    I agree that the Internet and social media hold huge potential, even for local businesses like your baker or hair salon. When you think about it, personal branding is difficult to accomplish when you’re trying to do it globally (become globally recognizable), but on a local level, it’s very easy to still get in and really get personal brand recognition going for your town or region.

    About the videos: I’ll send you a mail to discuss further. :)

    Cheers,
    Shane

Bill - January 2, 2010

Great advice, good unbiased reviews are hard to come by in this biz.

us art galleries - October 3, 2010

Shane,

You are right about the value of emails. I think you will see a shift from emails to the use of facebook or twitter as a way to optin to local business.

Here’s a list of my favorite businesses and you can share that with your facebook friends.

I think you see a lot more of social marketing or referral marketing and small businesses rewarding people when that share online.

Like tell ten friends on facebook and get free meal and stuff like that.

But, the internet is much more then email. Get you local baker to share some video of him making a cake is very powerful content to a person in that town or city.

Coming from print media, I see the internet as just a digital form of that.

Comments are closed