Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Marketing emails can be sent to a purchased lead list or a current customer database. The term usually refers to sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing a merchant's relationship with current or previous customers, encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately, and sharing third-party ads.
Email marketing is popular with companies for several reasons:
An exact return on investment can be tracked ("track to basket") and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
Email marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail, mainly because of the high cost and time required in a traditional mail campaign for producing the artwork, printing, addressing, and mailing.
Businesses and organizations who send a high volume of emails can use an ESP (email service provider) to gather information about the behavior of the recipients. The insights provided by consumer response to email marketing help businesses and organizations understand and make use of consumer behavior.
Email provides a cost-effective method to test different marketing content, including visual, creative, marketing copy, and multimedia assets. The data gathered by testing in the email channel can then be used across all channels of marketing campaigns, both print and digital.
Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
Almost half of American Internet users check or send email on a typical day, with emails delivered between 1 am and 5 am local time outperforming those sent at other times in open and click rates.
Email is popular with digital marketers, rising an estimated 15% in 2009 to €292 m in the UK.
If compared to standard email, direct email marketing produces higher response rate and higher average order value for e-commerce businesses.