As is quite apparent from the term, email marketing is about using email as a marketing tool to advertise or promote a brand, service, or product. In other words, it's a type of direct marketing, utilizing electronic mail as a way of conveying commercial messages to people.
Although in its most comprehensive sense every email that is sent to an existing or potential customer can be regarded as email marketing, the term generally signifies the following:
- Emails sent to promote the loyalty of the customer and to enhance the relationship between existing customers and the merchandiser.
- Emails sent in order to get new customers or to convince current customers to purchase something again.
- Advertisements or marketing messages placed in the emails sent by other merchandisers.
Businesses generally depend on referrals from current customers, utilize a subscription service, or pay an email broker a fee to acquire the email addresses of the customers they want to target with their marketing messages. Most companies, as expected, make use of a combination of the these methods.
There are several reasons for the popularity of email marketing with businesses.
- One of the best advantages is the capability of distributing marketing messages to large databases of possible customers relatively affordably. For example, when compared to investments in other media, like printed newsletters or direct mail, it is much cheaper.
- Also, a marketing strategy can involve sending a number of emails successively, building on one another. For example, this method is often used to target specific dates that may be upcoming, like Christmas, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Valentine's Day, and so on.
- The Return On Investment, or ROI, can be tracked accurately, and when done properly, has proven to be highly effective. It is said that as an online marketing strategy, email marketing is second only to search engine marketing.
- Strategists have access to considerable numbers of email subscribers who have consented, or opted in, to get mail on subjects they are interested in.
- Business is generated affordably as well as automatically.
- One of the main disadvantages is spam, which is unsolicited email sent in bulk. This really hampers genuine efforts, since the sheer bulk of spam emails can be such a put-off that people can often mistake genuine commercial email, such as a mailing list that they may be subscribed to, for spam.
- Apart from spam, another drawback is the sheer volume of commercial email that people get in a day, so much so, it can often result in them deleting them without even a glance.
The advent of email marketing has transformed the way business is done. Sure, there are some disadvantages, even so, it must be said that the impact of this instantaneous marketing has had on business is largely positive, having a clear edge over other types of marketing communication. Hence, email marketing is here to stay for a long time indeed.