Email marketing is directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness.
Email marketing can be done to either sold lists or a current customer database. Broadly, the term is usually used to refer to sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately, and adding advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers.
Types of email marketing
Transactional emails are usually triggered based on a customer’s action with a company. To be qualified as transactional or relationship messages, these communications’ primary purpose must be “to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender”, along with a few other narrow definitions of transactional messaging. Triggered transactional messages include dropped basket messages, password reset emails, purchase or order confirmation emails, order status emails, reorder emails and email receipts.
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to its high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to engage customers: to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers, to anticipate and answer questions or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.
Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns.
Direct email or interruption based marketing involves sending an email solely to communicate a promotional message (for example, an announcement of a special offer or a catalog of products). Companies usually collect a list of customer or prospect email addresses to send direct promotional messages to, or they can also rent a list of email addresses from service companies, but safe mail marketing is also used.
Mobile email marketing
Email marketing now develops large amounts of traffic through smartphones and tablets. Marketers are researching ways to capture the attention of users, in both span and volume. This is because the rate of delivery still relatively low due to strengthened filters and also because certain users have multiple email accounts that serve unique purposes. Because emails are generated according to the tracked behavior of consumers, it is possible to tailor promotional material to their needs and to present relevant details to potential buyers. Because of this, modern email marketing is perceived more often as a pull strategy rather than a push strategy.
Email marketing is popular with companies for several reasons:
- An exact return on oivestment can be tracked (“track to basket”) and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
- Email marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail, mainly because of high cost and time required in a traditional mail campaign for producing the artwork, printing, addressing and mailing.
- Businesses and organizations who send a high volume of emails, utilize an ESP (email service provider) to send, track and utilize information garnered from behaviors related to these emails. Understanding and leveraging consumer behavior through the insights provided by consumer response to email marketing has become an integral facet of the digital marketing landscape.
- Email provides a cost-effective method to test different marketing content, including visual creative, marketing copy and multimedia assets. The data gathered by testing in the email channel can then be use across all channels of marketing campaigns, both print and digital.
- Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
- Almost half of American Internet users check or send email on a typical day, with email blasts that are delivered between 1 am and 5 am local time outperforming those sent at other times in open and click rates.
- Email is popular with digital marketers, rising an estimated 15% in 2009 to £292 m in the UK.
- If compared to standard email, direct email marketing produces higher response rate and higher average order value for e-comrce businesses.