In his book “How to Become a Marketing Superstar”, Jeffrey J. Fox defines marketing as the “profitable identification, attraction, getting and keeping of good customers”…
In short, it is getting and keeping a good customer, which we may look at it as carrying out these functions by the use of emails.
We see then that there is the need for communication between the business owner and the prospect if any marketing is to take place.
The traditional routes for this communication is through newspaper, radio, television, billboards, flyers, posters and direct mail. Email is a latecomer in this arsenal and is still going through its own evolution.
What must not be lost sight of is that – email is only a means of communication.
The closest predecessor to email marketing will be direct mail marketing. Why? It is because in reality, they are both direct response marketing.
By this I mean that you, the marketer or the person who is in charge of a company’s marketing department, are looking for a direct response (eg. to buy a product) from the receiver of the marketing message. An example of a non-direct response will be a billboard ad, which normally is used for branding purposes. No one is expected to pull over and fill out a form on the billboard and send it in, or make a purchase while going 55 mph.
As you know, an email is an electronic mail and therefore you’ll expect that there will be a lot of similarities between email marketing and direct mail marketing. But of course there are also significant differences as well.
For example, in direct mail marketing businesses often risk thousands of dollars and have to wait for weeks before they can determine a campaign’s success or failure.
With email marketing you can have the results within just a few hours for a single promotion!
Marketing through email is one of the most effective and essential online promotional strategies for SMEs to use because of a number of factors.
Some of these are:
1. It is cheap – It costs almost nothing to send out 10,000 emails or 100,000. This is an incredible advantage over postal mail that can run into the thousands of dollars in postage.
2. It is immediate – You may have to wait a couple weeks before you can judge the response from a direct mail campaign but you can get response from emails within minutes of sending them out.
3. It has worldwide reach – An email can easily go to from Thailand to Canada as it can go to South America. The world is really your market so your reach is much greater. Of course a mail can go anywhere but it’s much easier to get an email address than to get a foreign postal address.
In direct mail marketing, you will create a marketing piece and then buy a list from a list broker. You will then carry out a test of the sales letter before you do any mass mailing. Normally you are only allowed to use this list once. So mistakes can be very costly.
With email marketing you also need a list of emails to mail to and you are expected to manage this list instead of a list broker. In most cases you’ll build this list for yourself so you have more control, and ultimately more profits at the end of the day.
Now what’s the place of email marketing in Internet marketing?
There are a number of ways in which you can communicate with people online. You can publish a website, send email or use instant messaging services. The latter two methods are more direct. Just publishing a website doesn’t mean that anyone would visit your website.
Email marketing is therefore fundamental to online marketing as a whole.
Why? A main reason is that one of the first technologies that new Internet users learn is emailing, even web surfers who have little other computer skills know how to send and receive emails. This may therefore be your first point of contact with your prospects. It may also be your most effective and accessible contact point with your visitors.
A very simple example, like my mom, she knows nothing about computer, my 11 years old nephew spent quite few days teach her how to use email to contact and keep in touch with others (you can image the pic of grandson taught grandmother..). After that, every once she will brought back home some of the latest new stuff, some of the products are even not come to the market yet. You know what she did? She give away her email address to the shops, to the restaurants, to the sales person etc. Every time if there are promotion or new product released, she received the email from those firms, that’s why she always on the ‘shopping’ mode.
Now read my next sentence very carefully…
Your primary business asset is not your product or service. Your primary sellable asset is your customer list.
This list will determine the difference between just breaking even and making a sizeable income online.
In fact if you noticed the matter of email marketing and list building is just so important, that’s why some companies only goal is to build a list, which we call it “lead generation”. These companies then rent out their list to other companies.
Most people don’t realize that when a company runs a TV ad – it’s not uncommon for them to lose money on that ad, because they made their profit is from follow up sales or back-end sales. The cost to run the ad exceeds the direct sales that they receive from those customers, that’s why company willing to lose upfront in order to make profit later on.
This is the approach that marketers must often take as well. No matter how big or small size your company is, your currency is in your leads.