What is Email Marketing?

Let us answer the questions; What is email marketing? Who is email marketing for? What are the advantages of email marketing? And what challenges do you come across when you use this form of marketing?

Definition of email marketing

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing where a message is sent directly to the recipient. Think of a brochure that you would send to your contacts by post (direct mail) but instead of this brochure being delivered through your letterbox, email marketing allows you to send that brochure straight to your contacts inbox. Easily, quickly and efficiently getting your message across.

Email marketing is a really versatile channel

All types of organisations use email marketing to send emails to their leads or customers. These emails can contain several different messages, for example, you might find a traditional newsletter, event invitation, special offers, purchase confirmations or a satisfaction survey.

One of the best-known examples of email marketing is a newsletter, in which an organisation sends its latest news or offers in a styled and branded email.

The difference between email marketing and email marketing automation

It is good to know the differences between email and marketing automation, especially as we can see terms like email marketing automation used within the industry. But what exactly is the difference with email marketing?

Marketing automation is a more advanced way of doing email marketing. With email marketing automation, automated messages are sent with the right message, at the right time to the right person. This can be a message that is sent based on what you have been reading on a website, or maybe you get an event invitation to a webinar you have viewed on a page but not booked on.

You might want to congratulate someone on their birthday, send an email that your contract with a service provider needs to be renewed or let someone know that there is still a product in your shopping cart that hasn’t been checked out.

These types of emails you receive are based on data and behaviours that only apply to you. This is contrasts with a newsletter sent to 50,000 recipients. Marketing automation often makes emails much more relevant to the recipient.

Who should be interested in email marketing?

It is pretty safe to say that email marketing is of interest for almost every organisation; no matter how big or small your organisation is and whether you work for a B2C, B2B company, non-profit organisation or government agency. In all these cases you want to communicate with your target group and email marketing is ideal for that.

Email marketing – do it yourself!

You certainly do not need a marketing agency to use email marketing. There are many marketers and communication professionals who do it themselves. You have software for this such as Spotler’s email marketing automation software .

You can of course also have it carried out by an agency, but it is a lot cheaper if you do it yourself.

What are the benefits of email marketing?

Email and email marketing have many benefits and is reported to be the best channel for marketing ROI. Below we list nine major advantages.

Email is fast and widely used

You can send an e-mail whenever you want and it will reach the target group within seconds. Many recipients engaging with emails shortly after they have been sent.

Furthermore, almost everyone has an email address. Email still outperforms social media, whether you look at users, accounts or ROI. Not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter or any other social channel, but few people do not have an email address.

The costs of email marketing are low

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to send an emails to your audience. Compare it with direct mail, where you are dealing with printed material, envelopes and stamps – it can be quite expensive. With e-mail marketing you have much more control over the costs. Even with paid ads via Google Ads or Bing, the prices change continuously. Email is normally a fixed monthly price.

Email marketing has a high ROI

Not only are the costs low, email marketing also has a very good Return on Investment (ROI). There are so many stats out there that say for every £1 spent you get £40 in return.

If you listen to Litmus, the ratio is 1:42 from their latest figures. This means that for every dollar you spend on email marketing, you get 42 back in earnings (source: Litmus).

Email is an ‘owned’ channel and you are in charge of your data

Unlike social media platforms or paid ad platforms, the email channel is not controlled by just one company or 3rd party. There are many providers with which you can register an email address and with which you can receive and send emails. This is a big advantage compared to Facebook, for example.

Facebook has been reducing the visibility of branded content for years, so only a small part of your followers see your posts. This is not possible with email.

Another big advantage is that you are in charge of your mailing list. If, for example, Facebook adjusts its channel and no longer allows companies or even disappears in the long term (doesn’t look likely), this channel will also disappear with all your followers. This is not the case with email marketing. You are in control of the management and size of your mailing list. You are not dependent on other channels here.

Email still is and will remain popular

A number of large online channels have already disappeared throughout the years. Other channels also fluctuate greatly in terms of number of active users. What is very popular now may be gone in a few years. For email this is not the case. Email marketing has been around since the first commercial email in 1978 and has grown tremendously since then. Today it remains a hugely popular and effective channel!

Email marketing is easily measurable

Email is one of the easiest channels to measure. If you use email marketing software to send your emails, you will gain insight into many different metrics.

For example, the number of emails opened, the number of times a link has been clicked, who has unsubscribed, who has registered for your event, etc.

Do you also use Google Analytics? Then you can also track the behaviour of the recipient on the website after they have clicked through. This provides insight into whether clicks have also been converted. It is also possible for to see what the individuals are looking at on your website and then send them tailored email comms.

With all this data you can evaluate and improve your email marketing. You can see what works and what doesn’t.

Emails can be customised

What we mean by customised is you can make your target audience as big or small as you want. You can send your entire target group an email, but you can also send several emails to smaller target groups.

By simply segmenting on, for example, interests or geographical data, you split your target group and each ‘segment’ receives its ‘own’ message, meaning more personalised content and better engagement.

Email is scalable

Email is also an easily scalable channel. Whether you want to email 100 or 100,000 contacts, it doesn’t matter for your email marketing software. This also applies to automated emails. For example, you create a welcome campaign once and it can be activated automatically 2,000 times, but also 50,000 times. And you don’t have to worry about that.

Email is a personal channel

You can easily personalize an email with the information you have from a recipient. For example, by placing the recipients first name in the email, placing offers based on location or how far down the funnel they are, or content based on the interests of the recipient.

It is precisely these qualities that make email marketing such an effective marketing channel.

People prefer to receive advertising by e-mail

Email is the most popular channel to receive advertising. This is shown by the National Email Survey. No less than 69% indicate that they prefer to receive advertising via email. Whereas Facebook only scores 6% and Instagram 2%.

What are the disadvantages of email marketing?

With all the advantages of email marketing, it also has one disadvantage – that can be overcome of course.

Many people think of receiving unwanted emails when they hear the term email marketing. Also known as SPAM. Fortunately, there are regulations and good guidelines regarding email marketing.

But also as a marketer, we know that as long as we have useful and relevant content, our audiences will engage and interact with our email comms.

Why should you use email marketing?

As you’ve read, there are countless benefits to incorporating email marketing into your marketing mix. And of course it is not mandatory to use email marketing, but this channel should hardly be missing in your marketing mix.

Email is a powerful and very effective channel. Email is a good marketing and communication tool to stay in direct contact with your target audience. You can easily communicate very specifically with your target group and even adjust your message down to a personal level.

Interested in getting started with email marketing?

Read our guides:
Teach Yourself Email Marketing
Guide to Email Marketing
Dealing with the F in Email Marketing

Spotler makes software that makes it easier to use email marketing. Do you want more information about our software? Download our brochure or schedule an online demonstration .

You can also contact us. We love to chat about how you can best use email marketing.


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