What is Email Marketing?

Summit Ghimire September 6, 2022 - 7 minutes to read
what is email marketing, guide to email marketing

What is email marketing? To start with, it is the most effective marketing channel out there. It performs better than social media, affiliate marketing, and even search engine optimization. 


Even though many people claim that email marketing is outdated and old, it has the highest return on investment. It is used by almost every big “business to business” and “business to consumer” company.  


So how does marketing through email continues to be one of the best places for digital marketers to invest their time and money? To answer that, we need to look at what email marketing is and what it has evolved over the years.


This article is just one of many from our email marketing series, which will help businesses understand the ins and outs of marketing with email and provide them with some tools and best strategies to help them succeed!


But before we get into the advanced practices and the best ways to automate your email marketing strategy, we need to know exactly what email marketing is.


What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the process of sending commercial-based messages directly to email subscribers in mass quantities. It is a marketing strategy that leverages a person’s prior interest in a company’s products and services to nurture them into buying something. More precisely, email marketing is a message that includes advertisements, a business request, or soliciting sales.


Email marketing is one component of the broader topic of internet marketing which includes marketing lines such as search engine optimization, content marketing, social media, search engine marketing, and pay-per-click advertising. These marketing lines all add up to your overall website traffic.


Since marketing through email is a permission-based technique – a user has trusted a business with their email and is allowing the company to send promotional, commercial-based, and sales emails to them. Moreover, by sending these emails, marketers can quickly evaluate the performance of their email marketing campaigns. The marketers can then see the return on investment (ROI), monitor the campaign’s effectiveness in real-time, and gather feedback on the performance and effectiveness of a certain email.

A History of Emails:

Emails have come a long way since their inception in 1971. The first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson, a computer engineer, and consisted of a string of numbers and letters. However, sending the first email was not enough for Ray, as he wanted to leave his mark on emails even more. Tomlinson also introduced the idea of using the ‘@’ symbol in email addresses.


Fast forward to May 1, 1978, when Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp, sent out the first mass email for marketing means. With a list of 400 subscribers, Gary proved how effective email marketing is in generating a great return on investment. Whereas, by sending out 400 marketing emails, Thuerk could generate $13 million in sales!


Well into the digital age, email has become available to everyone worldwide. With over 4 billion email users worldwide, it is estimated that 333.2 million emails are sent every day! However, improved direct communication mechanisms have resulted in the need for regulatory actions. Whereas marketers and automated email machines have generated billions of spam emails. This has provoked governments to take action and enforce spam laws such as the United States Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM) and the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.


That being said, spam laws should not detour businesses from engaging in email marketing. They should be careful, is all. A great way to avoid being considered spam is to send valuable information and do it periodically. Moreover, companies should avoid daily email blasts and only send transactional emails.


How Does Email Marketing Work?

Email marketing can be conducted by using different types of emails. Each type utilizes a different strategy to increase interest and nurture potential customers along their buying journey. Businesses will use customized and personalized messages to generate trust and credibility to facilitate this process. The two types of emails include:


1. Transactional emails: 

Transactional emails are typically triggered by a customer’s action. The email must have the primary purpose of facilitating, completing or confirming a sale. For example, a transactional email would be sent when a customer purchases a product on an e-commerce site. The email might include information such as confirmation of the purchase, shipping details and tracking information. 


In addition to sales-related transactions, transactional emails can also be used for password resets, account confirmation and other types of notifications. By definition, transactional emails are triggered by an action taken by the recipient. As such, they typically have high open and click-through rates. However, it is important to make sure that the content of the email is relevant and useful to the recipient, or else the message will be perceived as spam.


2. Direct emails: 

The email’s purpose is not to sell something to the receiver but to communicate with them to build trust, credibility, and brand awareness. In the world of business, relationships are key. Whether you’re trying to establish a new partnership or maintain an existing one, keeping the lines of communication open is essential. One way to do this is through direct emailing. By reaching out directly to your contact, you can keep them updated on your latest products or services, and remind them of your company’s existence. 


This keeps you top-of-mind, and increases the likelihood that they’ll think of you next time they need something in your area. Additionally, by taking the time to nurture your relationships, you show that you’re interested in more than just making a quick sale. This can help build trust and foster a lasting connection. So next time you’re looking to solidify a business relationship, don’t forget the power of a simple email.


Why is Email Marketing Important?

An email marketing strategy can be a cost-effective and easy way for businesses to engage with their existing customers and community. Targeted and personalized emails can foster interest and lead to future sales. One of the best reasons to use an email marketing campaign is to develop trust with the email subscribers. 


Email marketing is important because it allows businesses to reach their existing customers and community members cost-effectively. By sending targeted, personalized, and non spam emails, businesses can foster interest and develop trust with their subscribers. 


These email campaigns can lead to future sales and help businesses to build relationships with their customers. Additionally, email marketing can be a useful tool for customer retention. By regularly staying in touch with subscribers, businesses can keep them engaged and encourage them to continue doing business with the company. Email marketing is an essential part of any business’s marketing strategy.

How To Do Email Marketing?

Email marketing can seem like a challenging marketing channel to use if a business has never done it before. However, it can be a simple process if it is broken down into actionable steps. Below is a brief account of how to do email marketing. 


Step 1: Build an email list

To perform marketing with email, you need to have an email list. The easiest way to do this is by placing a banner on your website asking people to subscribe. Simply asking for it, will have a low conversion rate, however. Therefore, the best practice is to incentivize the transaction by providing something of value in return for the email. This could be an e-book, free audit, checklist, or template. 


By giving people something that they want or need, you increase the chances that they will give you their email address in exchange. Once you have a robust email list, you can begin planning your marketing campaigns. But remember, always get permission from people before adding them to your list and always provide a way for them to opt-out if they no longer wish to receive your emails.


Step 2: Provide great content

While sending emails, businesses need to provide their subscribers with valuable and unique content. Moreover, the content should meet the expectations of the email recipient, whereas if they expect timely updates and information, but the business misses this, trust and credibility will diminish.


Finally, make sure the emails are not all commercially and transactional based. If a company continues to spam its email list with ‘buy now’ and ‘buy this’ emails, it will quickly lose its subscribers. Focus on providing value and furthering the individual’s understanding of the topic.


Step 3: Email Marketing Analytics

After sending out emails to subscribers, it is important to monitor and evaluate the campaign’s performance. Using email analytics such as open and click-through rates can give valuable insights into how well the email strategy is working. 


If the open rates are low, it could be a sign that the subject line needs to be more appealing. If the click-through rates are low, it could be a sign that the call to action is not effective. By constantly monitoring and evaluating email analytics, a digital marketer can make necessary adjustments to improve the performance of future campaigns.

Key Takeaways 

Email marketing has evolved significantly since the first email of numbers and letters was sent in the early 1970s. Now, it is one of the best-performing marketing channels available to businesses. With a high return on investment, low-cost entry point, and easily scalable and automated, all companies should utilize email marketing.


Marketers and business owners can no longer claim to not know what email marketing is or to not understand why it is beneficial. 


It is a proven marketing mechanism that has produced tremendous monetary results, helped build substantial brand recognition, and generated new customers while increasing repeat customers. 


If you have a business and you’re not using email marketing, now is the best time to start!