Save the trees – send an email

Al DiGuido writes in ClickZ this week about how traditional businesses could benefit from thinking about how ned media technologies can be used in their day-to-day business. DiGuido commutes into New York from the suburbs ad describes how, when there are train delays in the morning, the transit authority prints explanations of the delay and places them on train seats for the afternoon return. As DiGuido writes: “Here we are, in the media capital of the world. The year is 2008, not 1878. And the mass transit organization hasn’t figured out how to send breaking news alerts and apology notifications via e-mail? Can you imagine how many hours it took the department to format this printed notification, then put it on the seats in every car of every train leaving Grand Central Station during rush hour? It’s absurd! Especially in light of the fact that all this work was done for one day’s train delay.

“Trains are delayed all the time. This practice gets replayed hundreds of times a year. What part of the e-mail and Internet movement has the transit authority missed? If it started looking at the technology that its customers use each day, it would figure out that the best way to communicate – the essential way to communicate with customers – is real-time e-mail.”

This is a really practical example of how online technology can save serious money every day. Mind you, he doesn’t talk about the cost of obtaining email addresses for those thousands of commuters…

Does long copy work?

Karen Gedley writes in ClickZ that the accepted wisdom about using short, sharp copy in emails may not always ring true.

As a copywriter who normally writes longer emails than average (350 words), she conducted an admittedly unscientific study of her marketing clients and found that the most heavily clicked links of her emails were often the ones right down at the bottom of the copy.

She writes: “Don’t write short copy because everyone tells you it’s the only way to go. Instead, try testing long copy vs. short copy in a head-to-head test to find out what your audience responds to best.

“And be sure that the end of your message is as powerful as your lead-in. It turns out your best prospects are reading both.”

Web 1.0 still rules

With all the development of flashy new technologies to connect and do business over the past five years, the most popular online tool is – wait for it – email. eMarketer reports that a survey conducted last month for email management company Habeas revealed that 75% of adult email users said they used it every day. Nearly 70% prefer email for communicating with businesses, and the same amount said they expected to still prefer email five years from now.

OK, OK, so this report was commissioned by a company that has a vested interest in email marketing. But common sense still dictates that something as simple and effective as email is going to continue to have a crucial role in online communication, especially since the alternatives are getting increasingly sophisticated and complicated. While a few specialised people will live on the bleeding edge and undertake the work required to stay that way, many people will just go for the simple option.