Before we discuss why email marketing strategies are important and how you can implement one, let’s go over a brief history and evolution of email marketing over the decades.
A Brief History of Email Marketing
In 1971 Ray Tomlinson sent the first ever email and opened the gates for a fast, efficient and cost effective method to send mail. It was not long after that Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager, sent out the first mass email to 400 users promoting his company’s machines in 1978. He has since been considered the ‘father of spam’.
Although not a very large mailing list compared to today’s standards, Thuerk’s mass emailing resulted in sales worth $13 million for his company. Consequently, the ROI and benefits of email marketing quickly became apparent and email became an effective channel for direct marketing.
When the internet was introduced in 1991, Hotmail became the first ever free web based email service for the public. This provided marketers around the world with a channel for mass communication and they could reach customers in a new and exciting way.
Before this, business to customer (B2C) direct marketing relied on slow, expensive and time consuming methods like telephone marketing and postal mail services. Even though email was not that common among the general public at the time, once more and more marketers started sending out mass unsolicited emails, ‘spamming’ became a nuisance and restrictions were put in place.
Close to the end of the decade, governments around the world including in the UK, US and Europe introduced laws like the Can-Spam Act and The Data Protection Act to set regulations on email marketing and allow users to opt out of commercial mailing lists. By the mid 2000s, rules were introduced to prevent spamming by verifying the sender’s IP address to provide email validation.
Later, the introduction of smart phones with email capabilities further broadened the email marketing landscape. Users could now access emails in the palm of their hands and marketers started becoming creative with their emails in order to accommodate the new mobile users. Soon after, social media became popular and businesses and users started using social media platforms to connect and interact with one another.
This had a slight effect on email marketing because users now had higher expectations. Email marketing was still a lucrative and an effective way of digital marketing so marketers adapted to the higher expectations of users. Instead of emailing traditional generic and static emails, marketers started to personalize emails and cater to the specific needs of customers.
Email marketing has since advanced from a simple mass marketing strategy to a highly targeted and personalized marketing strategy for brand development. It has been around for a long time and will continue to do so.
Today, email marketing is more sophisticated and lucrative than ever. Let’s discuss the importance of a solid email marketing strategy and why you need one for your brand or business.