Read what Debbie Weil has to say about the future of blogs and ezines for 2005:
Question: I read that "blog" is 2004’s Word of the Year. What does this mean for our e-mail marketing in 2005?
Answer: In a nutshell, it means that you should continue your e-mail marketing efforts but consider adding a blog to your online marketing mix. Here are five things to think about as you head into 2005.
• E-mail is now in its mature phase as a killer app. There are best practices you can follow, from adhering to CAN-Spam laws to determining what subject lines prompt a click. If you’re not already employing best practices, now is the time to do so.
• E-newsletters aren’t dead yet. In fact, according to a recent study by MarketingSherpa, 90% of b-to-c and b-to-b marketers are publishing them. And 60% of these companies plan to increase spending on e-newsletters in the coming year. Don’t get left behind. An e-newsletter is a tried and proven online marketing tactic.
• Landing pages are more important than ever. Whether you’re sending e-mail promotions or publishing an e-newsletter, spend more time tweaking the landing page that your readers click through to. This is where conversion happens. Opens and clicks are nice. Conversions to a registration, download or sale are your goal.
• RSS is going mainstream. If that acronym (it stands for Really Simple Syndication) sounds too techie, take a deep breath and try it. First, download an RSS newsreader or subscribe to a Web-based RSS service such as Bloglines.com. There are dozens of RSS readers to choose from; NewsGator.com integrates seamlessly with Outlook. Next, subscribe to RSS news feeds. You’ll find little red RSS icons everywhere, on blogs and on news sites such as CNN.com. Your newsreader will automatically send you the latest entries or posts to whatever feeds you subscribe to. The news or information comes to you instantly and effortlessly. There’s no e-mail—so no spam filters—involved. Soon you’ll understand why lots of folks are excited about RSS.
• Once you’re comfortable with RSS, consider starting a blog as an adjunct to your e-newsletter. Think of a blog as an "always-on" e-newsletter. Blog software is simple and easy to use. It enables anyone to create and post fresh new content to the Web instantly.
• Finally, congratulations! You’re not hiding under a rock if you’ve heard about Merriam-Webster’s Top 10 Words for 2004 http://www.merriamwebster.com/info/04words.htm. "Blog" tops the list as the Word of the Year.