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I’m struggling to resolve the following observations:

Many, if not all of the folks I work with say they are “busy”. That’s not unusual, like the hard drive that always fills up regardless of its size, so the work day fills up with “stuff” regardless of how many hours we put into it.  When breaking down the components of “busy” it seems that working on getting the in-box down – or clear – is the main drain on time and energy. Emails arrive at a faster rate that they appear to be dealt with.

However, statistics appear to be showing that there is a decline in overall email use. This is more marked the younger you are. In fact the only age group where email use is growing is the 55+ age group. This is explained by many connecting and communicating via text, social media and phone messenger services. For those under 35 there is a drop (year-on-year) of around 40% in email usage: now that’s a lot! My take on this is that younger folks are not using email to communicate outside of work – older folks are carrying on as normal and still keep sending lots of information to lots of people (often ‘just in case’ or ‘FYI’ so they can “CYA”).

Direct mail shots are dying away… email shots (unless highly targeted and relevant) are treated with the CTL+D key. Social Networks have the advantage that you can communicate in an open space (so everyone sees the conversation – great for customer service) or in private (for those 1-2-1 messages) – this seems to me a much better way to communicate within and outside of the office. Some have responded to this with a company Facebook page. Great if you are in a B2C market, but many organisations IT departments block access to Facebook during office hours. So for the B2B market – what do you do? Linkedin?

So, how long before company websites are more like a social networking site; shared by the staff and customers? This open, honest and transparent way of doing business is the future, I think. Website content will be less the company saying how great it is and what it does for the customer – but more about the customer telling the company what it thinks about them (positive and negative) and what it needs to do to grow. That’s the kind of organisation I’d like to do business with – how about you?

Scary or liberating?

10 Responses to “The death of email and the company website”

  • Very interesting how you see the potential for company website evolution. Many thanks.

  • Trevor Lever:

    Thanks Patrick – just looking in the crystal ball here :)

  • I’ve just completed a website review for a client project and whilst they have bought the website domain, all their social spaces have been taken by other people. Is this important? Not if your branding and marketing budget can reach all your customers and inform them of the correct account to visit – but I’ll guess that many will not be reached by that budget. Confusion will set in, visitors will be lost and maybe, just maybe, some business will be missed too.

    I advise, in the brain storming sessions for services, products or company names, people check http://namechk.com as well as a domain registry site – however I am of the view that for a lot of people (not all) building and maintaining a mywebsitedomain.com is an expense that many could do without (quite successfully), at least until the product/service/company starts paying for itself.

    But then, what do I know? I think I, like you, are a little unconventional in the way we think.

    Good post – Mark

  • Trevor Lever:

    Hi Mark – very good point on using namechk.com to see if your company / product name is taken. I did some work last year in helping a company decide on a name with the companies house website and namechk.com open at the same time and seeing what was available during the brainstorming session.

    I’m not sure I need a companyname.com website anymore. It has the usual list of things that I do and ‘happy quotes’ from people that I have worked with. But I see more value in this blog and my Linkedin profile for folks who want to understand me and the value I can offer.

    This blog gets x20 the amount of traffic that my website does. My Linkedin profile get more views in a month than my website does in a year. Perhaps these are clues to those who aren’t thinking differently yet?

    Cheers, Trevor.

  • Judith Honeybun:

    Well done, Trevor. Will pass this to one of my clients. I don’t normally read this stuff, but this caught my imagination.

    You and Mark come up with great lines of thinking.

    J

  • Trevor Lever:

    Thanks Judith – glad this one struck a chord. Hope your client thinks so too :)

    Trevor.

  • Can’t disagree with any suggestions there Trevor…
    This article might make for good additional reading and ideas on the topic:
    http://www.newfangled.com/the_future_of_web_development

    Which ever way you look at it, the landscape of digital communications are definitely changing… for the better in my opinion. Less smoke and mirrors, more transparency and authenticity, which has got to benefit the customer. Big companies will find it harder to just punt out a big corporate message and hide behind company policies… they’re actually have to work for the customer relationship!

  • Trevor Lever:

    Thanks Ryan – yes, I agree – it is changing for the better.

  • Hi Trevor

    I cannot get my head around twitter ,facebook or blogs etc. I guess thats cus I’m old but nevertheless from what you,ve said I need to give it some serious consideration. Another thing that appears to me that how can you run a business and spend all the time on writing all these things.

    Cheers

    Trevor

  • Trevor Lever:

    Hi Trevor,

    I’m not sure it’s a question of age :) maybe more to do with attitude?
    Having said that, where on earth did all the time come from when email was first introduced to us all in the business world? If I was told back then that I could be spending 2-3 hours a day sometimes doing email I would have told my boss that I didn’t have the time! Clearly, in order to spend time doing any new thing – you have to decrease the time you spend on doing one of the old things. Otherwise if you just increase the time spent ‘on work’ you decrease time for ‘non work’ and that is rarely a good thing. I could go on a lot on this topic – or you could check out the ramblings I have on my other blog regarding personal effectiveness: http://www.168hours.co.uk

    Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and leave a comment – it’s appreciated.

    Trevor.

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