is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fund-raising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered e-mail marketing.
However, the term is usually used to refer to:
• sending emails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business,
• sending emails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately,
• adding advertisements to emails sent by other companies to their customers, and
• sending e-ails over the Internet, as email did and does exist outside the Internet (e.g., network e-mail and FIDO).
Researchers estimate that United States firms alone spent US $400 million on email marketing in 2006.
Comparison to traditional mail
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using e-mail marketing in comparison to traditional advertising mail.
Advantages of Email Marketing
Email marketing (on the Internet) is popular with companies for several reasons:
• An exact return on investment 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.
• Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of e-mail subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive e-mail communications on subjects of interest to them.
• Over half of Internet users check or send e-mail on a typical day.
• Email is popular with digital marketers, rising an estimated 15% in 2009 to £292m in the UK.
• Email allows marketers to reach out to consumers with personalized, relevant, dynamic messages.
• Transactional emails allow businesses to respond automatically to important consumer events like purchases or shop-cart abandonment.
Disadvantages of Email Marketing
A report issued by the email services company Return Path, as of mid-2008 e-mail deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 56%; twenty percent of the messages were rejected, and eight percent were filtered.
Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States’ Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider’s…
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