I know, it seems weird, right?

Email is supposed to be dead. These days it’s all about social networking, mobile marketing, and the latest and greatest hot new platform.

But here’s the thing. If you want to get your readers to take action (whether that’s buying a product or service, thinking in a new way, or changing a behavior), email is still the proven best way to make that happen.

In test after test, email comes out on top for influencing reader behavior. Ahead of social media, ahead of blogs.

There are a couple of reasons for that:

1. Email is intimate

Instead of being on a public (or semi-public) platform like Twitter or Facebook, email is by its nature private.

We’re used to getting messages from friends and colleagues via email. When used correctly, email can develop a relationship with your reader that feels more personal than a blog or even a social network.

When you craft your email correctly, email readers feel like they know you.

2. Email feels urgent

When we get in a hurry, we know we can let those Twitter and Facebook messages pass us by.

But it’s hard to ignore our email box. We try to at least glance at everything in there before we can feel we’ve “taken care of business.”

Email is great for time-sensitive messages, like a reminder to vote in a local election, or a notice about an expiring promotion.

3. Email is (increasingly) mobile

More and more people are adding email accounts to their smart phones.

With that change, email marketing became a critical component of mobile marketing. It follows your reader wherever her phone does, and it keeps pace with how she’s living her life.

4. Relatively few people are using email well

Yes, there’s lots of email marketing out there.

Most of it is pretty lame.

(And I’m not even counting the spammers. Most legitimate marketers out there look like spam, and that’s as bad as actually being spam.)

  • Smart email persuasion takes advantage of tools that can build reader trust over time.
  • Smart email persuasion educates and informs.
  • Smart email persuasion builds a relationship with the audience before you ever try to “make a sale” or ask for anything from your reader.

Yes, there’s a lot of email in your readers’ in-boxes. But most of it doesn’t build reader trust with great content. You can make yourself — and your project — stand out with a commitment to quality.

5. In the end, it doesn’t matter why

Maybe there’s some mysterious reason email works that none of us knows about.

That’s ok. Because the fact is, it’s been proven again and again — when you want to persuade an audience (to buy, to vote, to go green, or whatever your own goals may be), email works better than social channels and it works better than posts on your web site or blog.

So how do you build an email list?

Before you can harness the power of email, you’ve got to get those names.

Check out this related post to learn how to do that:

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