Email marketing is, quite simply, using the tools of email to deliver advertising messages. The vast majority of Internet users have email accounts that allow them to receive an almost unlimited number of messages instantly.
Email has become one of the most popular forms of communication. In 2010, there were an estimated 90 trillion emails sent out worldwide. That breaks down to 2.8 million emails sent every second. These numbers are gigantic, but not surprising when you consider how important the mail in all forms has been throughout history.
But as the cost of postage and printing has risen, the effectiveness of marketing through the mail has declined. Businesses now have to pay more while seeing smaller returns. This is exacerbated by the fact that new communication tools provide many of the same services that standard mail does. Although direct mail marketing has not disappeared by any means, it has been on the decline for years.
As advertisers have shifted more and more of their efforts online, they have tried to find ways to use the strategies developed in print advertising in new online environments. Most of the traffic once handled by the postal service now happens over email, creating a new method of direct marketing. Today, the average marketer sends 64 emails to their customers every year.
What is E-mail marketing
Email marketing is, quite simply, using the tools of email to deliver advertising messages. The vast majority of Internet users have email accounts that allow them to receive an almost unlimited number of messages instantly. According to a survey conducted by Pew Internet, 82% of U.S. adults use the Internet, and email is one of the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways for marketers to connect with customers.
Email is a remarkably flexible tool that can accommodate a wide range of messages. Ads can be quite simple, or they can be flashy multimedia packages. The aesthetic of the ad will depend on the company and the product for sale. Some ads are only text while others include images, videos, and long lists of links.
Email can accommodate almost any message a marketer wants to send. For instance, UrbanDaddy.com, a nightlife website, ran a highly successful email marketing campaign by including large, eye-catching images in the header of the email. The images were geared toward a young male demographic and gave the email context. They encouraged the reader to scroll down and engage with the sales messages contained in the body of the email.
One of the greatest advantages of email marketing is that it allows marketers to send targeted messages. Print, radio and television ads are broadcast indiscriminately and frequently reach consumers who have no interest in the product offered. But email marketing allows companies to tailor certain ads to certain customers. If a customer has shopped for a brand of shoes in the past, companies can email them coupons for that same brand knowing that they have already expressed an interest.
Companies can elect to manage their own email marketing campaigns or they can choose from over 100 different companies who offer email marketing services. These services provide easy software tools that allow companies to manage their email lists, design ads, and track how often they are accessed. Larger companies that send out dozens of daily emails to tens of thousands of different customers often use email marketing services to manage the process.
Types of E-mail marketing
- Email Newsletters – These are regular emails that are sent to a list of subscribers who have chosen to receive updates from a company. Newsletters usually don’t have explicit sales messages, but try instead to build a relationship between a customer and a brand. They often have a conversational tone and contain news and information that will be of interest to the customer. The goal is to keep a customer connected to a company even when they are not buying anything.
- Transactional Emails – These are emails that are sent out after certain actions trigger them. When a customer buys a product or makes a reservation, emails are sent out confirming that transaction. They legitimize online commerce by giving customers a way to prove they have bought something. Transactional emails often also contain new sales messages. Studies have shown that transactional emails are opened 51.3% of the time, while newsletters are only opened 36.6% of the time. Knowing that they have a captive audience, marketers will often try to insert new sales pitches into emails that are not explicitly for selling. For example, airline reservation emails often ask if you would like to upgrade your seat for a fee.
- Direct Emails – These are used to inform customers about new products, sales, and special offers. They provide customers with direct information about products and usually provide a link or another easy way for customers to access the product. They are similar to the coupons, catalogs, and sales fliers that used to be sent through the post office.
Who employs E-mail marketing
Email marketing is used most often by organizations with a strong online presence. Competition amongst e-commerce sites is fierce, and email marketing is a proven way to engage with customers and differentiate your company. Online businesses prefer to use email marketing because it makes it easy for customers to link directly from an email to a product page.
However, email marketing isn’t used only for selling products online. Nonprofits organizations and political campaigns make use of email to connect with supporters and donors. They have as much to benefit from email marketing as anyone else. It is now standard to ask for an email address when collecting information from interested parties.
The low cost and relative ease of carrying out an email marketing campaign means that it is a tool that is accessible to almost any business. A small mechanic’s shop can put together an email list and then send out coupons for oil changes or brake jobs. The scope and sophistication of these campaigns may not be as great as larger businesses, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be effective.
How is an email Marketing program Developed and implemented?
Email marketing is an inexpensive and easy way to connect with customers, but campaigns must be carried out systematically. A poorly planned email campaign can quickly lead to annoyed customers and disappointing sales.
The first step is to collect a comprehensive list of email addresses. The only significant disadvantage of email marketing is that many countries have laws against sending spam. Companies that send out unsolicited emails can face significant fines. It is crucial to only send emails to customers who want to receive them. It is important to make the process easy for customers to sign up for email updates.