In 1998, Internet users sent over 6 billion email messages. TOTAL. Today, the human race sends over 205 billion emails PER DAY. It’s the most-used electronic medium for communication, outpacing every social media outlet by miles.
With numbers like that, email marketing should be a no-brainer gold mine. And yet we’re still surprised that it isn’t a top part of every brand’s marketing strategy. But to get a good understanding of why email marketing is so pivotal these days, we first need to learn what exactly we’re talking about here.
Fortunately for you, we’ve put together this handy guide so that you’ll be able to wow all your friends at your next dinner party. Or bore them because they’re a bunch inerudite philistines.
You can thank Gary Thuerk, who is known as the father of spam, for sending the first ever mass email message in 1978. Gary was a marketer who worked for DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation). Instead of sending it to one person at a time, he emailed a groundbreaking 393 recipients simultaneously. While it was met with some criticism, DEC also made sales through the promotion.
Fast forward to the 1990s and you have most email being popularized by ISPs like AOL, Mindspring and Earthlink, who began packaging it as an Internet service. It didn’t take long for email marketers to take advantage of this, and even universities were getting on board by sending out mass emails to students and faculty.
In 2000 WhatCounts was born (technically Mansell Group back then). We totally get bragging rights here. We weren’t the only ones though — there was and has continued to be a huge rise in email marketing companies (ESPs), whose main offering, essentially, is to send mass emails.
Also during this time, the first introduction of major anti-spam legislation is introduced and leads to better governance of people’s inboxes. Better protection and more marketers entering the space has lead us to a highly lucrative industry. So, then exactly …
When marketers talk about growing their list, they are talking primarily about their subscribers or customers email list (we’ll get into that shortly). In either case, email has become a preferred method of communication between brand and recipient in the 21st century. Because of this, and the fact that it’s easy to access and sent immediately, folks prefer to use email over snail mail. Improving, maintaining, and discovering relationships with new subscribers and customers is one its primary uses.
Those considering email marketing often don’t realize the sophistication this medium has reached.
There are campaign types which further lead to questioning the data and traditional uses for email. Campaigns like welcome series, re-engagement series, and deal emails use intricate data integrations and segmentation to personalize messages in order to boost the engagement.
The future of email will continue to grow as a preferred method of communication. And though we can’t really confirm that because the Magic 8-Ball we use to validate our statements has gone missing, we can for sure say that in the short-term it’s here to stay.
Transactional are usually a completely automated, receipt-like email that delivers information promised to you from a checkout screen or thank you page. Stores like Target will offer to send you your receipt even while you stand there at the checkout.
Opt-in email is actually just a form of direct email where people subscribe to out of their own free will. It’s a virtual handshake of sorts, where the subscriber agrees to receive the emails. Examples of this would be a weekly newsletter which promises to keep you up-to-date on certain information about an industry, it was forwarded you to you by a friend, you saw a subscribe-here link and signed up. Confirming your subscription to this list
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 marked an important regulatory intervention by congress which makes a breach of the law a punishable by certain number of criteria.
European Union Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications was introduced in 2002 which enforces the use of marketing to businesses only.
The Canada Anti-Spam Law (otherwise known as CASL) became law in 2014 and imposes an opt-in requirement as part of the law.