Email marketing is the simple act of sending out a commercial message to a targeted group of individuals, using electronic mail. In its most broad sense, every email sent out to a customer, prospect, or existing client can be considered email marketing. However, it also includes using email as a means to solicit sales, request client, or advertise a product or service. In fact, some email marketing campaigns are so effective that they often outlast the actual advertisement by many months and even years.
One reason that email marketing is so successful is that it’s inexpensive to do. Unlike direct mail, which cost a great deal of money, and television advertising, which can be expensive even with high quality equipment, promotional emails can be sent for little or no cost at all. This is one reason that newsletters and other pre-written web content are so popular. They can be easily sent out for free to an entire audience with little effort on the part of the promoter. Internet users are accustomed to clicking links in pop-up ads or on image thumbnails, so recipients of promotional emails are usually aware of what they’re going to see within the body of the email itself.
Another advantage is that this type of marketing doesn’t require the expensive use of postage, costly list-building efforts, or the purchase of large volumes of paper products or glossy brochures. Instead, marketers can purchase a high-quality template from a provider like Mailchimp and install it on their website. Then, each subscriber only needs to provide the web address of the intended recipient. Once this information is submitted, the system automatically generates a series of emails that are appropriate to the topic of the promotional email and sent to the recipients on schedule.
Email marketing allows marketers to directly engage their subscribers using real people instead of impersonal advertising. A common complaint about most forms of advertising is that customers don’t receive enough of the promotional messages they’ve paid for. In addition, some forms of email advertisements use highly personal or embarrassing content, such as photographs or jokes. In contrast, social media members generally identify with the individuals behind the messages they receive. As a result, the social media environment provides a highly valuable content resource for marketers who use it to connect with their subscribers on a more personal level.
A major disadvantage of most forms of email marketing software is that marketers often have to spend significant amounts of time correcting the distribution lists used by the system. Most mailing lists are manually adjusted according to the preferences of the email marketing company, which can make things more complicated and take longer for the marketers. The mailing list process also requires that marketers learn the appropriate techniques to build customer relationships. This is one of the reasons that many marketers choose to outsource this task instead of tackling it themselves.
Finally, there are several drawbacks that all email marketing automation systems should not have. Although most recipients of an automated campaign will recognize the sender based on the subject line, there are still some circumstances in which it would be inappropriate to use esp as the sender’s name. The main problem is when the emails contain sensitive information, such as a bank’s account number or a credit card number. Esp sends the emails automatically, but if the contents are encrypted it could compromise the security of someone’s account. Another problem is that it’s difficult to plan ahead for targeted campaigns if the list contains names or telephone numbers that are commonly used by recipients.