What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel, a form of direct marketing as well as digital marketing, that uses email to promote your business’s products or services. It can help make your customers aware of your latest items or offers by integrating them into your marketing automation efforts. It can also play a pivotal role in your marketing strategy with lead generation, brand awareness, building relationships, or keeping customers engaged between purchases through different types of marketing emails.
A brief history of email
The very first email was sent in 1971 by a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson. The message he sent was just a string of numbers and letters, but it was the beginning of a new era of communication. Tomlinson was also the person who introduced the usage of the “@” symbol in email addresses.
In 1978, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp named Gary Thuerk used this new method of direct communication to send out the first commercial email to let people know about a new product. His email list only had 400 addresses, but the emails he sent resulted in about $13 million in sales.
By the ‘90s, the internet had become commercially available to the masses. The way people communicated with one another began to change dramatically, and marketers discovered that email could be an effective way to advertise. The emergence of marketing emails also ushered in the need for regulatory updates; the U.K.’s Data Protection Act, for example, was adjusted to require an “opt-out” option for all marketing emails.
Advantages of email marketing
An email has become such a popular marketing tool for businesses partly because it forces the user to take some kind of action; an email will sit in the inbox until it’s read, deleted, or archived. But email is also one of the most cost-effective tools available, too. In fact, a 2015 study by the U.K.-based Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that for every $1 spent, email has an average return on investment (ROI) of $38. For more on the power of email marketing, check out our email marketing statistics by industry.
Email marketing can help you build a relationship with your audience while also driving traffic to your blog, social media, or anywhere else you’d like folks to visit. You can even segment your emails and target users by demographic so you’re only sending people the messages they want to see most. Here are some email marketing campaign tips to get started.
Email marketing also allows you to run A/B tests of a subject line or call to action to identify the best-performing message by using email marketing software that can also be configured to easily send out emails. Check out Mailchimp’s email templates to see more of what you can do with email marketing.