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E-mail Marketing: A Quick Guide

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing in which customers, existing or potential, are informed of products or services from a specific company via email message. These emails can include special offers and promotions, announcements of new products and services, or a specific call to action.

Email marketers track which emails result in the most conversions in order to continually improve their marketing campaigns over time.

According to The Radicati Group’s Email Statistics Report, 2011-2015, “The number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase… to nearly 4.1 billion by year-end 2015.” The typical email user sends and receives about 105 email messages each day; using email marketing effectively, you can gain access to an enormous pool of potential clients and customers.

Why E-mail Marketing Is Effective

Email Marketing is an inexpensive way to send a message a large group of people instantly. More importantly, email analytics track how that group reacts to the message – whether they open the message, unsubscribe to the mailing list, or make a purchase or conversion as a result of that message.

E-Mail Marketing Terms – read more in the Buyer’s Guide.

By reaching out to a large number of customers at once, a company can then track how those customers responded to the message. Most email marketing software enables businesses to track and compare multiple metrics within their email campaigns, including bounce rates, open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Companies can purchase mailing lists, compile their own email list of current and past customers, or reach out to new subscribers through advertisements and social media.

Email marketing can be very cost-effective, because a single action – an email message – can potentially generate  a large increase in revenue.  Although conversion rates are typically low with e-mail marketing campaigns, the low cost of implementing and managing the campaign keeps the cost per acquisition can be very low – oftentimes much lower than most other marketing activities.

  • Travelocity increased its net revenue by 12.3% by targeting a customized email marketing campaign to lapsed customers (Forrester).
  • Mint.com generated 8,500 new leads – at a per-lead cost of  50 cents each – via a single email campaign. They asked existing subscribers to forward a referral to friends through email and social media (Forrester).

Check out our buyer’s guide for even more Benefits of Email Marketing.

E-Mail Marekting Costs

Forrester’s Interactive Marketing Forecast 2011-2016 predicts that the amount advertisers spend on email marketing will increase from $1.5 billion in 2011 to nearly $2.5 billion in 2016. Many times companies will hire an email marketing firm to handle the campaign on their behalf. By doing so, a company can literally outsource a potentially very profitable marketing endeavor in a short amount of time. 

Whether you manage your campaign on your own with email marketing software or hire a specialty firm to handle it for you, use caution. Make sure that the email list you use is legitimate and current, and that you adhere to any local and federal regulations regarding spam and email marketing – such as the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. 

If you're interested in email marketing, consider online marketing or direct mail marketing