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My 20-year old son rarely uses email. He prefers to text instead.  Does that mean that someday email will go the way of the fax machine?  I don't think so.

According to the marketing automation firm RedEye, who designed this cool infographic, the first email was sent 42 years ago. The 1990s was the era of spray and pray for email marketing. The word spam was added to the dictionary in 1998.

The next decade saw anti-spam and the rise of the email database. Now, says RedEye, we're in the age of people power with segmentation and targeted email.

What's next?  I'm not sure, but anyone who is promoting a product or service in the healthcare industry should paying close attention to email marketing. It's not going away. Here's 4 reasons why from the email marketing experts:

1. Brand Recognition

Email is incredible at keeping your brand and products in front of prospects and customers -- building loyalty and growing revenue (ClickZ Marketing News & Expert Advice). If you give 'em good content, your customers will reward you.

2. Beats Social Media

A recent study found that email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers (McKinsey & Company). Social media is good at creating buzz, but nobody buys anything from a tweet.

3. More Direct

Email focuses on the customer and allows you to communicate directly, sharing relevant information to a qualified, segmented audience (MarketingProfs). And, you can tailor your messages to different audiences.

4. Easy

2% of sales are made on the first contact; 3% on the second; 5% on the third; 10% on the fourth; and 80% on the fifth to twelfth. Yet, 48% of salespeople never follow up; 25% make second contact; and just 12% make more than three contacts (MarketingProfs). Email makes follow-up easy.

I've heard rumblings lately about a resurgence of direct mail.  But I'm not buying it -- especially for smaller companies with limited marketing budgets. Email, if done correctly, will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

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Sara Marberry_013-Retouched-New copy

What's my story? I'm a healthcare and senior living design knowledge expert who writes and speaks frequently about trends and issues affecting these two industries. I'm also a strategic marketing consultant and content creator, working with companies and organizations who want to improve the quality of healthcare and senior living through the design of the physical environment. You can reach me at .

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