Faster mobile web will change it all

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]Could internet speeds decide the future of on-line communication,
from email marketing to social status to SMS.

There has been a lot of new studies about email client usage going more mobile from sites like Litmus, the big 3 ISPs are doing more passive analytics to decide reputation and message priority and Facebook messaging looks to break personal communication messages away from commercials and put them in with all other personal communications in a social inbox.

All of this is fine to discuss but as soon as mobile internet is as fast as wifi it will all change.

Software is pushing hardware, sparking ideas out of inconvenience then new hardware is made to fill the gaps & it all starts again.

Medium Comparison

The New York Times recently mentioned that the youth of today thinks email is ‘wack’ because it takes too long and you have to write a subject line. Apparently the most common subject lines for one to one emails are ‘Hi’, ‘Yo’ and ‘Hey’ after of course a blank subject line and ‘Re:’ when people just hit reply on the last email between them so they don’t have to find or type the address.

Facebook’s messaging is all about the one stop spot to communication, rather than choosing your medium then going to the right place to send, just go to Facebook pick a friend and send your message, they will get it in the best way possible based on their own habits and preferences.

From a Litmus study and other ’email is dead’ articles it is said that Hotmail and Yahoo’s pages hits are declining. That doesn’t mean that email is dead , it just means that people are not using  the web interface but still, like Litmus said, it’s all going mobile and it’s easier to text than it is to write an email.

One factor in this is the transmission method.

SMS vs Email

From some angles SMS, plain text emails & social status are the same & email with images & MMS are the same with the main difference being the transmission method?

While sending an SMS or MMS is quick and easy on a mobile sending . Sending an email or updating your status usually requires an internet connection, so it takes longer through 3g, although an MMS is normally more expensive, you might wait until you are near a wifi point and email it.

So people on the go want the quick, instant type interaction. Short statements that are manageable while you are on the move or in the middle of something else – like a computer game J

Speed of Interaction

The future of on-line communication could lie in how quickly mobile internet comes around. Once using the internet on a mobile for email & VOIP is as quick and easy as sending an SMS or a phone call, something might have to give.

Subject lines might just vanish or be just the snippet of the text and all mobiles will have the a one stop app for all comms, some how.

Could SMS vanish? or will email and SMS merge into something new along with social status updates; this could then cause the nature of places like twitter to change due to the character count no longer being sufficient.

One big Blog

Everything could just end up being one big blog per person and access rights to each post dependant on who it was addresses to.Tweets will be public, emails will only be viewable by the recipient(s) etc etc.

Has Facebook’s early step to centralise the inbox got them a head start or will they make the mistakes to let the next generation provide the solution?

Strangers to Fans, Search to Subscriber

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Converting Strangers
Most digital marketing budget is focussed on getting new business: like getting high in search rankings and appearing in ads on the right sites (& never buy an email list!). All of these result in directing people to your web-site, preferably dedicated landing pages based on the source and reason for the traffic. So basically converting strangers through their own activities.

This takes me to a couple of questions which I believe all marketers should ask them selves:

  • At what point do they convert from a stranger and what to?
  • If they click through, take one look at the site and go back to their search results, would categorising them as a prospect be a bit of a stretch?
  • If they purchase something, of course they are then a customer, but for how long for?
  • Then how would you rely on them to come back? search again, hope that they bookmark you and never Google again?
  • If you do the numbers, no matter how hard you try with testing and optimisation, much less than half of them will actually generate you revenue on that first visit, what about the rest?

The answer to all of this is Email Marketing.

Get the Sign-up
Of course make it as easy as possible for people to convert and spend straight away from your SEO and PPC efforts but make sure those who aren’t quite ready to commit can see relevance and easily sign-up for your emails.

You will then have a list of people who are interested in your brand and what you have to offer, but aren’t quite ready to commit and more importantly: you have the chance to win them over.

Your web analytics and landing page software will be able to tell you where they came from so already you know how they got to you and you may even know what they were after.

You can then target your prospects with content to support the reason why they came to you in the first place, build a greater rapport, earn the trust and when they are ready to spend they will spend it with you. Each new email can easily have one or more calls to action to help them ‘gently’ convert and you can again create custom landing pages to ensure the conversion experience is as smooth and convenient as possible.

Then once they are a customer, you target them differently. Instead of your plan to convert them from a prospect to a customer, you need to keep them a customer and make them a fan. Fans will rarely go elsewhere  and they are far more likely to recommend you to others and help convert more strangers to prospects and customers. May of these people are also likely to interact with you on social networks too, so target them separately and  make sure your content is easily shareable.