On Tuesday night I attended the Digital Marketing Bistro, which, isn't held at a bistro, but rather at the Sonesta Hotel in downtown Orlando. The restaurant menu is available and everyone availed themselves to a few drinks and a light dinner. It was a cordial atmosphere where everyone's opinion was valued and solicited. Nice stuff when it comes to small group behavior.
Digital Marketing Bistro is hosted by Shawn Vincent who has written a noteworthy digital marketing revolution manifesto. DMBistro is a small group of people, from all backgrounds and levels of experience, who meet regularly to discuss digital marketing strategies, trends, and tactics. It's 100% open to the public, just RSVP on Facebook.
This meeting was titled "Unfortunately, Email Still Works" and discussion centered around email marketing, a subject dear to my wallet as it's currently about one-third of my work. One of the major points was how a particuarly email message can become a social object, just like a blog post, facebook status, or tweet. The more an email speaks directly to the recipient the more likely they are to share it in social media space. Shawn has some pretty good thoughts on Email as a Social Object over on his blog.
Someone also pointed out, I believe it was me, that anyone under 21 rarely even thinks about email as a communication tool. It's no where near as immediate as IM, Texting, Twitter, or Facebook (and even Twitter and Facebook can be too slow sometimes). It becomes even more important to develop an e-flow that lets your customer decide, either through direct subscription or just by following one of your social media channels, where, when, and how they want to interact with you. I'm currently investigating a few of the tools on the market that allow a marketing process like this to work while still tracking customers and results.
That's enough about email marketing, there are many expert bloggers on the matter if you want to explore a little more.
I really enjoyed my first encounter with Digital Marketing Bistro and will be sure to attend their events in the future. It's exciting to see Orlando developing its talent base in a groundswell manner via groups like DMBistro and Social Media Club Orlando. The next scheduled meeting is Oct 7th and the subject is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing. Which is a great tool, but you have to watch your conversion and ROI. I'm sure they'll also be discussing Re-Targeting, which is the latest fad in the PPC arena, and one that shows real potential to increase conversions.
I recommend signing up for a FREE MailChimp Account for all of your email marketing needs. They are one of the few service providers that have begun to integrate the social graph into email marketing. I use them. Plus, I'll get a small reward if you convert to a paying MailChimp customer down the line. So thanks in advance.