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I recently read an interesting article about the “death” of email. As someone who was in her 20s when she first heard her oversized and overpriced computer say, “You’ve got mail,” the idea of email being headed toward extinction was an overwhelming concept when I saw the headline. I, quite frankly, did not believe it and initially thought it was a ploy to get readers. It has been quite the technological controversy in the last year. I’m still on the fence, but I have been considering the concept in regard to automotive marketing and it’s not far-fetched at all!
The Email Conundrum
Like many of you, my company’s email communication is what keeps me in the loop, keeps me in touch with my team, keeps me up to date with tasks and so on. I don’t see that changing drastically in the near future. However, I only check my personal email account once a day at most. I don’t even have email notifications set up on my personal mobile phone, because the “ding” every 5 minutes makes me crazy! This account is full of spam and sales-based email from companies I may have purchased from long ago and surveys from airlines on which I have flown and restaurants I have visited once.
Sure, there is the rare “important” email about renewing my insurance or even an occasional coupon for something I really need. The problem? I usually miss these emails for several days. It just spiraled into a mess of communications blended aimlessly with important and pertinent information and crap that means nothing to me. It’s not unlike what has happened to many people’s mailbox in front of their homes. They are full of pizza coupons, advertisements for things you don’t need or want, and statements for bills that you have already paid and have access to online – again, with the occasional important piece of mail that you will not read in a timely fashion because of all of the junk that has swallowed it whole.
The Pavlovian Effect of Text
When I am asked for my email address at a business these days, I politely decline on most occasions. But I do ask (if it is a business to which I plan on returning regularly) if I can opt in for text message notifications for coupons, sales, events, etc. Again, I tend to be selective about this practice, but I open these text messages almost 100 percent of the time and usually within minutes. It’s like Pavlov’s Dog! When I hear a buzz or a ding, I check my phone – regardless of which direction it’s coming from. Don’t lie – you know exactly what I mean!
I still remember the first time I sent a customer a text message from my Razor flip phone on a whim when I was selling cars years ago. I had been frustrated about not getting return phone calls or replies to emails and decided to give it a shot. He responded within seconds! [Cue heavenly harp sound effect] The remainder of our communication, prior to him returning and buying a new car from me, was almost completely via text message. It was the solution to the constant struggle between being communicative but not overbearing - between never hearing back from the customer and getting immediate response most of the time. Voila!
What We Know Now
What was once sent to your customer’s mailbox, then to their inbox, should now be a TEXT! What do you think? Gotta go. I’m getting a text!