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BY 

SUSAN WARD

Email marketing is the use of email to promote products or services while developing relationships with potential customers or clients. It is essentially direct mail done electronically instead of through the postal service.

Anytime a company sends out an email, aside from order confirmations and direct responses to customer questions, it could be considered a form of email marketing. Email marketing is one segment of digital marketing, which encompasses online marketing via websites, social media, blogs, and more.

At its best, email marketing allows businesses to keep their customers informed and tailor their marketing messages to their audience. At its worst, this kind of marketing can drive customers away with persistently annoying spam emails.

How does it work? 

It’s easy to set up and track an email marketing campaign, which makes it accessible for small businesses. You can add a newsletter sign-up option to your website, for instance. As people sign up, you can send newsletters to a growing audience. You can also direct customers to the newsletter from your social media profiles.

The two biggest advantages of email marketing are price and ease. Compared to other types of marketing, emailing is an inexpensive way to advertise your company and its products or services.

A regular newsletter is a simple and effective way to send updates about your company, upcoming events, and special offers. Email software also makes it easy to schedule automated promotional emails for customers who haven’t purchased recently.

Email marketing allows you to target groups of customers or even specific individuals. Offering individual customers special birthday deals on merchandise or services is one way to do this.

A restaurant, for instance, might send an email to customers on their birthdays offering 50% off an entree. This kind of personalization helps a business develop and maintain a relationship with a customer—and that can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.

Email Marketing Remains Relevant

In the age of social media, it’s tempting to write off email. However, there is statistical evidence that it remains an important aspect of marketing efforts. For instance:

  • Experts with the email marketing company Litmus estimate that email marketing returns an average of $42 for every $1 spent.1
  • One survey found that 59% of respondents were influenced by email when it came to purchasing decisions.2
  • A study of more than 1 billion shopping sessions in 2019 found that email marketing has a conversion rate of 2.3%, compared to 1% for social media.3

One huge  advantage of email over social media is that customers are more likely to see an email than social media. Just posting something on social media doesn’t mean that everyone you want to see your message will see it. However, an email will sit in an inbox until it’s read (or deleted). 

Ideally, email marketing should go hand in hand with social media. Adding social media “Like” or “Share” buttons to your marketing emails gives an additional way for customers to connect with your brand. Snippets of positive reviews from social media fans can be included in emails, and social media posts can drive customers to your email newsletters.

Email marketing can substantially increase your income if you do it correctly. It’s a great way to get people to visit (and revisit) your website or blog. More traffic usually equates to more income.

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