Businesses using Gmail now have access to a whole new contact base, as Google allows Gmail users to directly email any of their Google+ connections.
Google lets users opt out of the function, however, the new default setting lets individuals or businesses email “anyone on Google+”.
However, it doesn’t provide businesses with endless opportunities to spam consumers. Businesses or individuals can only email strangers once using the new feature, unless the person then replies, or adds them to their circles.
This said, Seedling Strategy director Shu Yap told SmartCompany it does provide businesses with new opportunities.
“Google+ is basically Google’s version of Facebook, which also really helps businesses with their search engine optimisation… I still see Facebook as being more predominant, but it will have some additional benefits,” she says.
“I’m always amazed by how clever email marketing is these days when it’s done well. It can get very annoying… but when done well it’s a really clever form of communication.”
Yap says if emails are targeted and displayed well, people like receiving useful information.
“People actually want to receive information which is relevant to them, even if it is uncanvassed or from someone who they didn’t opt-in to receive emails from,” she says.
“Lots of platforms now exist which help businesses be relevant and helps them integrate information into emails for time poor people.”
If businesses can perfect their email marketing strategy, the new Gmail feature could help them expand their customer base, especially as the social network’s user numbers continue to grow.
Yap says it can be difficult for small businesses to “get their head around” the number of social media sites now in existence.
“In some regards I feel the social media world is getting so saturated …I think it will be the widgets which will be more popular than the actual channels themselves,” she says.
“As more platforms come on board it gets more confusing for small business owners, there will be more of a market for tools which can integrate and streamline this information for the time poor.”
Yap says social media is challenging for small business owners because many don’t have the resources to employ someone full-time to manage it.
“They’re their own IT, marketing and finance departments. Unless they’re very savvy it’s challenging. But the ones which are adopting it in an industry conducive to their product and services have found great results… although it does depend on the business and its audience,” she says.
“One consideration is how the legal system and spam legislation is going to change to account for social media. How it’s controlled and policed will be something to consider in the future.”
This article first appeared on SmartCompany.