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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 involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations. Email marketing strategies commonly seek to achieve one or more of three primary objectives, to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. 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 has evolved rapidly alongside the technological growth of the 21st century. Prior to this growth, when emails were novelties to the majority of customers, email marketing was not as effective. In 1978, Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) sent out the first mass emailto approximately 400 potential clients via the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). He claims that this resulted in $13 million worth of sales in DEC products, and highlighted the potential of marketing through mass emails.
However, as email marketing developed as an effective means of direct communication, in the 1990s, users increasingly began referring to it as "spam", and began blocking out content from emails with filters and blocking programs. In order to effectively communicate a message through email, marketers had to develop a way of pushing content through to the end user, without being cut out by automatic filters and spam removing software.
Historically, it has been difficult to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns because target markets cannot be adequately defined. Email marketing carries the benefit of allowing marketers to identify returns on investment and measure and improve efficiency.[ citation needed ] Email marketing allows marketers to see feedback from users in real time, and to monitor how effective their campaign is in achieving market penetration, revealing a communication channel's scope. At the same time, however, it also means that the more personal nature of certain advertising methods, such as television advertisements, cannot be captured.
Email marketing can be carried out through different types of emails:
Transactional emails are usually triggered based on a customer's action with a company. To be qualified as transactional or relationship messages, these communications' primary purpose must be "to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender" along with a few other narrow definitions of transactional messaging.Triggered transactional messages include dropped basket messages, password reset emails, purchase or order confirmation emails, order status emails, reorder emails, and email receipts.
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.
Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns (such as customer referral programs). [ citation needed ]
Direct email involves sending an email solely to communicate a promotional message (for example, a special offer or a product catalog). Companies usually collect a list of customer or prospect email addresses to send direct promotional messages to, or they rent a list of email addresses from service companies. [ citation needed ]
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using email marketing in comparison to traditional advertising mail.
Email marketing is popular with companies for several reasons:
Opt-in email advertising, or permission marketing, is advertising via email whereby the recipient of the advertisement has consented to receive it.
A common example of permission marketing is a newsletter sent to an advertising firm's customers. Such newsletters inform customers of upcoming events or promotions, or new products.In this type of advertising, a company that wants to send a newsletter to their customers may ask them at the point of purchase if they would like to receive the newsletter.
With a foundation of opted-in contact information stored in their database, marketers can send out promotional materials automatically using autoresponders—known as drip marketing. They can also segment their promotions to specific market segments.
The Australian Spam Act 2003 is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, widely known as "ACMA". The act defines the term unsolicited electronic messages, states how unsubscribe functions must work for commercial messages, and gives other key information. Fines range with three fines of AU$110,000 being issued to Virgin Blue Airlines (2011), Tiger Airways Holdings Limited (2012) and Cellar master Wines Pty Limited (2013).
The "Canada Anti-Spam Law" (CASL) went into effect on July 1, 2014.CASL requires an explicit or implicit opt-in from users, and the maximum fines for noncompliance are CA$1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.
In 2002 the European Union (EU) introduced the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. Article 13 of the Directive prohibits the use of personal email addresses for marketing purposes. The Directive establishes the opt-in regime, where unsolicited emails may be sent only with prior agreement of the recipient; this does not apply to business email addresses.
The directive has since been incorporated into the laws of member states. In the UK it is covered under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003and applies to all organizations that send out marketing by some form of electronic communication.
The GDPR in 2018 imposed "a number of new requirements on companies that collect, store and process personal data from EU users, which impacts email marketers"- in particular, users' right to access information held about them; and the right to have all such information deleted at their request.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was passed by Congress as a direct response to the growing number of complaints over spam emails.[ citation needed ] Congress determined that the US government was showing an increased interest in the regulation of commercial electronic mail nationally, that those who send commercial emails should not mislead recipients over the source or content of them, and that all recipients of such emails have a right to decline them. The act authorizes a US$16,000 penalty per violation for spamming each individual recipient. However, it does not ban spam emailing outright, but imposes laws on using deceptive marketing methods through headings which are "materially false or misleading". In addition there are conditions which email marketers must meet in terms of their format, their content and labeling. As a result, many commercial email marketers within the United States utilize a service or special software to ensure compliance with the act. A variety of older systems exist that do not ensure compliance with the act. To comply with the act's regulation of commercial email, services also typically require users to authenticate their return address and include a valid physical address, provide a one-click unsubscribe feature, and prohibit importing lists of purchased addresses that may not have given valid permission.[ citation needed ]
In addition to satisfying legal requirements, email service providers (ESPs) began to help customers establish and manage their own email marketing campaigns. The service providers supply email templates and general best practices, as well as methods for handling subscriptions and cancellations automatically. Some ESPs will provide insight and assistance with deliverability issues for major email providers. They also provide statistics pertaining to the number of messages received and opened, and whether the recipients clicked on any links within the messages.
The CAN-SPAM Act was updated with some new regulations including a no-fee provision for opting out, further definition of "sender", post office or private mail boxes count as a "valid physical postal address" and definition of "person". These new provisions went into effect on July 7, 2008.
Spamming is the use of messaging systems to send multiple unsolicited messages (spam) to large numbers of recipients for the purpose of commercial advertising, for the purpose of non-commercial proselytizing, for any prohibited purpose, or simply sending the same message over and over to the same user. While the most widely recognized form of spam is email spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social spam, spam mobile apps, television advertising and file sharing spam. It is named after Spam, a luncheon meat, by way of a Monty Python sketch about a restaurant that has Spam in almost every dish in which vikings annoyingly sing "Spam" repeatedly.
A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is referred to as "the mailing list", or simply "the list".
Various anti-spam techniques are used to prevent email spam.
The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. CAN-SPAM established the United States' first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail. The law requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions.
Mobile phone spam is a form of spam, directed at the text messaging or other communications services of mobile phones or smartphones. As the popularity of mobile phones surged in the early 2000s, frequent users of text messaging began to see an increase in the number of unsolicited commercial advertisements being sent to their telephones through text messaging. This can be particularly annoying for the recipient because, unlike in email, some recipients may be charged a fee for every message received, including spam. Mobile phone spam is generally less pervasive than email spam, where in 2010 around 90% of email is spam. The amount of mobile spam varies widely from region to region. In North America, mobile spam has steadily increased from 2008 ed 2012 and is projected to account for half of all mobile phone traffic in 2019. In parts of Asia up to 30% of messages were spam in 2012.
Email spam, also referred to as junk email or simply SPAM, is unsolicited messages sent in bulk by email (spamming).
Direct marketing is a form of communicating an offer, where organizations communicate directly to a pre-selected customer and supply a method for a direct response. Among practitioners, it is also known as direct response marketing. By contrast, advertising is of a mass-message nature.
Junk faxes are a form of telemarketing where unsolicited advertisements are sent via fax transmission. Junk faxes are the faxed equivalent of spam or junk mail. Proponents of this advertising medium often use the terms broadcast fax or fax advertising to avoid the negative connotation of the term junk fax. Junk faxes are generally considered to be a nuisance since they waste toner, ink and paper in fax machines.
Online advertising, also known as online marketing, Internet advertising, digital advertising or web advertising, is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. Many consumers find online advertising disruptive and have increasingly turned to ad blocking for a variety of reasons.
The term opt-out refers to several methods by which individuals can avoid receiving unsolicited product or service information. This ability is usually associated with direct marketing campaigns such as, e-mail marketing, or direct mail. A list of those who have opted out is called a Robinson list.
Email harvesting or scraping is the process of obtaining lists of email addresses using various methods. Typically these are then used for bulk email or spam.
Opt-in email is a term used when someone is not initially added to an emailing list and is instead given the option to join the emailing list. Typically, this is some sort of mailing list, newsletter, or advertising. Opt-out emails do not ask for permission to send emails, these emails are typically criticized as unsolicited bulk emails, better known as spam.
Mobile marketing is a multi-channel online marketing technique focused at reaching a specific audience on their smartphones, feature phones, tablets, or any other related devices through websites, E-mail, SMS and MMS, social media, or mobile applications. Mobile marketing can provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services, appointment reminders and ideas. In a more theoretical manner, academic Andreas Kaplan defines mobile marketing as "any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device".
Slamming Bill was a bill proposed in the United States Senate in 1998. It never passed. This bill is often mentioned by spammers in order to make a false impression that their spam is legal.
Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive 2002/58/EC on Privacy and Electronic Communications, otherwise known as ePrivacy Directive (ePD), is an EU directive on data protection and privacy in the digital age. It presents a continuation of earlier efforts, most directly the Data Protection Directive. It deals with the regulation of a number of important issues such as confidentiality of information, treatment of traffic data, spam and cookies. This Directive has been amended by Directive 2009/136, which introduces several changes, especially in what concerns cookies, that are now subject to prior consent.
Yesmail Interactive, is now known as Data Axle. The email marketing provider was previously headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Data Axle is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Omaha, Toronto, London and Singapore.
A feedback loop (FBL), sometimes called a complaint feedback loop, is an inter-organizational form of feedback by which a mailbox provider (MP) forwards the complaints originating from their users to the sender's organizations. MPs can receive users' complaints by placing report spam buttons on their webmail pages, or in their email client, or via help desks. The message sender's organization, often an email service provider, has to come to an agreement with each MP from which they want to collect users' complaints.
The Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act, is Canada's anti-spam legislation that received Royal Assent on December 15, 2010. The Act replaced Bill C-27, the Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA), which was passed by the House of Commons, but died due to the prorogation of the second session of the 40th Canadian Parliament on December 30, 2009. The Act went into effect July 1, 2014.
Omega World Travel, Inc. v. Mummagraphics, Inc., 469 F.3d 348, is a case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in which Mummagraphics, Inc. is sued by Omega World Travel, Inc. (Omega) and Cruise.com after Mummagraphic alleged that they received 11 commercial e-mail messages in violation of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 as well as Oklahoma state law. In the initial filing, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia had awarded summary judgment to Omega on all of Mummagraphics' claims finding that the commercial emails from Omega did not violate the CAN-SPAM Act, and that the CAN-SPAM Act preempted Oklahoma state law. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
A cold email is an unsolicited e-mail that is sent to a receiver without prior contact. It could also be defined as the email equivalent of cold calling. Cold emailing is a subset of email marketing and differs from transactional and warm emailing.