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You’ve heard all the buzzwords about email marketing before. It’s cheap and it’s simple to use. It’s measurable and personal. But at its core, what is email marketing?

By definition, email marketing is a form of direct marketing a commercial message to a group of people, using email. Broadly, yes this can include every email sent to a potential or current customer, but for our purposes, email marketing is the bulk distribution of commercial emails to an existing customer base.

For some email marketers, the “commercial” part is what might be considered a stumbling block. See, these bulk email campaigns don’t necessarily have to be about sales. Any mass communication can be considered email marketing if it helps with brand recognition, or building your customer’s loyalty and trust. So, an email marketing campaign could include anything from advertisements and requests for business, to news and information, even solicitations for donations.

Yes, email marketing has been proven to have a higher return on investment than any other traditional marketing avenue (like print ads, flyers, television ads etc.), but sales doesn’t have to be your end goal. It’s more like a happy side-effect.

By using email marketing to send regular, personalised emails to your customers, you get to stay in touch with them. You’ll learn more about them, and they’ll learn more about you. Email marketing offers an incredible platform for communication with your customers, and builds loyalty like no other platform can. You’ll not only be constantly top of mind, but you’ll also prove that you’re open to communication. Opening that channel up leads to conversations, which leads to conversions.

Unlike other forms of digital marketing, email marketing is the one marketing platform that proactively seeks out to get your message to your customers when you want it. You don’t have to rely on them coming to your website, you don’t have to rely on them missing an important ad in the busyness of their Facebook feeds, you put your message straight into their hands.

At the end of the day, email marketing might have a simple definition, but it encompasses so much more. It’s a communication tool, a learning experience, a marketing platform and a relationship builder, all rolled into one.

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