Today’s fast paced world creates a competitive advertising environment for companies large and small. In an age of swiftly changing technology, email marketing has surfaced as an efficient, economical, and personalized method for companies to reach their most valuable asset—their customers.

Email marketing is the electronic version of the traditional mailer ad, with a computerized twist and numerous perks. As internet usage climbs steadily worldwide, companies are taking advantage of consumers who have willingly given up purchasing tangible items from a store for the comfort of shopping at home with a mouse and keyboard.

Companies using email marketing strategies have successfully morphed the common electronic mail format into an advertiser’s playground, adding color and dazzling effects, intermingled with superb deals and offers specifically created for the recipient.

This high-tech form of mass communication enables marketers to cater to the needs of their audience: customers who purchased goods or services willing to receive promotions with special offers on related items. Email marketing saves time and resources for retailers by sending electronic messages in a timely fashion, targeted to their in-house customers.

Advertisers using this format help decrease the amount of junk mail clogging mailboxes around the country; however, there is the risk of legitimate, permission-based ads being mistaken for email spam, which can quickly dispel any customer from opening their message. Email marketers must implement techniques such as avoiding spam-related key terms in their email subject title, and consistently generating appealing, personalized email offers.

Email marketing has quickly evolved to become a popular advertising outlet for companies of all sizes. According to a study completed by Forrester Research, email marketing services are projected to create a $4.8 billion industry for 2003, $3.2 billion of which will be spent by companies to help their marketers retain customers by mailing to clients on their in-house lists. The remaining $1.6 billion will be spent on acquiring new customers via email.

These numbers prove corporations have switched playing fields in their advertisement distribution—dumping much of their resources from printed ads to email marketing strategies. Permission email marketing provides a solid foundation for establishing and maintaining quality business-to-consumer (b-to-c) relationships; it also provides an opt-in option for the client to receive ads, a choice many shoppers value after constant inundation of annoying junk mail and spam.

A survey conducted by NFO WorldGroup in 2001 found 37 percent of its respondents purchased an item immediately after a click-through in email advertisements in 2001, up from 20 percent the previous year. Those who found information and purchased later after a click through increased slightly from 43 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2001.

This fierce change is a wonderful example of how quickly consumers are acclimating to gathering product information and special offers in electronic form. This is welcoming news for companies expanding their ecommerce plans, as email marketing provides cost-effective avenues to reach out to their current patrons, as well as any prospective clients.

Email marketing is likely to remain the preferred method of advertising for those who have already added this technique to their advertising formula. Those who are still unfamiliar with this concept will quickly find themselves lagging in the competitive world of permission-based email marketing.

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