Email marketing is the sending of commercial email messages to "email subscribers" –these are the contacts who have registered with your email list and have given express permission to receive your email communications.
Email marketing is used to inform, increase sales, and build a community around your brand (for example, through a newsletter).
Modern email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all bulk emails and rather focuses on segmentation, approval, and personalization with the use of email marketing software.
Examples of different types of marketing emails
Emails can be either informational or promotional and serve a specific purpose in the buyer's journey.
Email marketing campaigns are used for promotion, whether it is to promote a special offer, an e-book, a new product launch, or a webinar. A campaign can contain about 3 to 10 emails delivered over a couple of days or weeks.
A short call to action or a clear call to action (CTA) is contained in promotional emails. The CTA implies the particular action you want your reader to take, when they are visiting a web page or making a purchase.
This type of marketing email is sent when needed, at your own pace.
Newsletters - As the name suggests, a newsletter, shares news about your business (new product capabilities, new milestones achieved) or to highlight a use case for a product. Newsletters that are sent on a set schedule (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly) help you keep in touch with your subscribers.
Newsletters don't have to contain just "news". As email expert Ann Handley says, focus on what the message looks like. Imagine you are writing an individual letter to your subscribers about something of interests to them.
Put it this way, a newsletter is an opportunity to share ideas, insights, tips, anything that brings the most value to your audience.
Announcements - Email is the perfect way to notify customers of company announcements, service changes, new launches, etc.
As a channel, email has the formalities needed to deliver important messages. This would explain why email is the preferred channel for brands that have sent out crisis communications during COVID-19.
Is Email Marketing Still Important in 2020?
Email is not a new technology. In fact, in 1971, it was one of the first digital media to arrive. But get this: email marketing, which is almost 50 years old, is more widely used today than ever before.
The phrase "email is dead" recurs in the marketing echo chamber from time to time. But do not believe it. Email is only getting bigger. Just look at these stats:
In 2019, there were 3.9 billion email users worldwide (Source: Statista)
80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention
80% of Americans check their email at least once a day, and nearly a quarter check their personal email multiple times a day.
Given the numbers, it's no surprise that email is hailed as the most effective channel for business-to-business marketing.
Not having an email marketing strategy implies losing sales opportunities and potentially strengthening relationships with customers.