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With 1000% + growth each month of 2009, Twitter becomes more and more relevant and powerful with each passing day- in fact, by the second. Twitter users have long gone beyond the Twitter status prompt of “What are you doing?” Social connections, professional connections, blog promotion, targeted affiliate marketing and real-time customer service are just a few of the ways that Twitter is utilized by the business world.

But what if you are in email marketing? How does Twitter change email marketing? How can and will email marketing adapt to Twitter? Do Twitter and email overlap at all and if so, how?
Here are a few thoughts on how Twitter and Email Marketing crossover:

List Building: Adding someone to your email list means a chance to communicate, promote a product, build a lead or convert a sale. In Twitter, when someone becomes a “Follower” of your tweets, they are basically signing up for a more informal version of your email list. While sending 5 emails to the same person in one day is totally unacceptable for an email marketing campaign, 5 tweets per day is perfectly acceptable. Of course, Twitter updates can’t all be self- or product promotion, but they are communication and give you a consistent, visible opportunity to build your reputation in the eyes of customers. For building lists, advantage Twitter.

Targeted Versions: With Email marketing it is easier to differentiate contacts and customers from each other. You can write multiple versions of an announcement or launch, enabling you to target a large list of people with a particular message. On Twitter this is more difficult. Because your tweets go out to all of your Followers, you must broadcast the same message to all of your Followers. There is the Direct Message (DM) option, but this works only for one Follower at a time. For targeted versions of communication or an announcement, advantage Email marketing.

Resources Required: To create a quality Email marketing campaign you need graphics, copywriting and drafts of everything. Unless you have all of those skills and the time to do them right, that probably means paying someone to help create your email marketing campaign. With Twitter, you don’t need graphics or intense copywriting or editing. After all, Twitter updates are only 140 characters. And, they can link to web pages you have already invested in building. To launch a campaign to a large market with minimal resources, advantage Twitter.

Consistency: Twitter requires a consistent time commitment. You will not get very far on Twitter if you don’t use it every day, or at least every other day. Showing up once per week with a sales message on Twitter will get you ignored. Showing up everyday and ReTweeting, adding value and taking part in conversations will get you clicks when you do tweet something about a new product or blog post.  But all of that takes time and creativity on a consistent basis. With Email marketing, you still need to commit time, creativity and resources but you can do it in waves, when you have that time, that creativity and those resources. If you craft a quality campaign you will get results, even if your audience hasn’t heard from you in a while. For this reasons, advantage Email marketing.

In the end, both are still relevant and necessary in the Ecommerce and online marketing world- each fills a necessary way to reach and cultivate an audience. The trick is knowing how and when to use each.