What Is Email Marketing?

As companies increasingly focus on reaching their audiences through social media platforms, it’s easy to forget about the humble email. This is a mistake because having a good email marketing campaign is one of the most effective messaging and engagement tools in digital marketing.

But what is email marketing? In the simplest terms it’s when you, as a business, send a current or potential customer an email directing them to your business. It could be to give them a special offer, or update them on new products in-store. It could also be a simple, regular newsletter with information on what’s going on in your business. Whether the purpose is to simply keep the customer aware of your brand and engaged with it, or to directly sell them something, if you do it through email you’re engaging in email marketing.

The three rules of email marketing

There are a number of unique rules to successful email marketing as people tend to view unsolicited emails (spam) or poor quality emails very negatively. The email inbox is seen as more personal than the Internet and social media, so you need to make sure you’re not being perceived as intrusive with your email marketing.

The first rule is to get a person’s permission before emailing them. This means asking them directly (either in person or through your website) for their email address, and gaining their active consent to use it. People will generally want something in return for sharing their personal information, so make sure you give them a good reason for giving you their email. It’s also important to send every new subscriber a “welcome” email.

The second rule is to deliver what you promise. If people sign up for a weekly email and you instead send daily or monthly emails, then your audience will become frustrated with you. You’ll be rewarded for establishing a reliable routine that allows people to know when to expect the email.

Thirdly, mass emails – where you collect the email addresses of everyone that you can and send them all the same email with the same special offers – aren’t particularly useful. In fact, they’re very easy to ignore. Look at the biggest retailers in the world. They collect data on what products you purchase in order to send you personalised emails with offers surrounding products of interest. If you sell books and one customer buys horror books, then your email to them should recommend other, new horror novels. And this email should be different the ones sent to other customers, such as one who prefers non-fiction biographies.

Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones

Head of Strategy + Growth at Web Profits
Duncan has been building websites and online businesses since the days of the 56k modem and made his first $1 online from annoying popup ads. With over 10 years experience, he leads Strategy + Growth at Web Profits and still loves the thrill of launching digital marketing campaigns, getting the first conversion and then rapidly optimising and scaling them for clients across the company.

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