It’s always important to understand the history of something in order to understand why it’s important! Learn about how Email Marketing
evolved as well as the challenges of offline direct-to-consumer or direct business-to-business marketing communications that Email Marketing
has provided a solution to.
Remember the Days of Postal Mail Marketing?
a minute and take a walk to your mailbox. No, we don’t mean walk to
your computer to check your inbox. We mean a walk to your actual,
physical mailbox where people mail you paper letters and packages. Now
take a moment to sort through the mail that you find there. Chances are
that you will find several promotional or marketing flyers which are
trying to sell you localized services. However, you may also find
catalogs and promotional postcards for global or larger brands.
Now, take a moment to consider what the
world would be like if postal mail to your physical mailbox were the
only way to send you customized communications to market products and
services. It would be a highly inefficient system. Because postal
mailings need to be printed in bulk to reduce costs, your message could
only be mildly customized to include your name. Then, whoever wanted to
advertise to you would have to pay for not only the printing of the
postcard, flyer or catalog to be mailed, but also for all of the stamps
or postal costs to send the mailing. Finally, the marketer who sent the
mailing would have to wait for a period of time for you to receive it.
It may be several weeks until the post office delivered it, and it may
be even longer until you removed the mailing from your mailbox and read
it. Because of that timing, the offer that the marketer was sending to
you couldn’t be specific and time relevant. Finally, the marketer had no
way of knowing if the postal mailing had had any impact on you unless
you then used a specific promotional code included on the mailing. There
was no way to know if you’d even looked at or received your mailing!
Does this sound like an ineffective way
to market your products or services to a mass consumer audience? Well,
until as recently as the 1990s, it was largely the only way to get a
marketing communication into the hands of a specific individual.
Marketers came up with many ways to attempt to make postal marketing
mailings more personalized and to better track their response rates, but
the truth was that once you sent a postal mailing, figuring out if it
worked or didn’t work was more guess-work than actual facts. The entire
process was, and is, expensive, time consuming and difficult to judge
the success of.
Fortunately for you and your consumer or business-to-business
marketing needs, the 1990’s happened and the internet was born. Soon
after, email began to become a primary form of both personal and
business communications. Not long after
the popularity of personal email exploded, email marketing became a
specialty area for those with marketing expertise because of its
improved capacity for customization, segmentation, frequency, relevancy
of communications and, most importantly, tracking capabilities.
1991: The “Birth” of the Internet
there are many people who “claim” to be the founder of the internet,
experts say that the internet as we know it began in 1991 when CERN (the
European Organization for Nuclear Research) publicized a paper known as
the New World Wide Web Project. Though a British scientist, Tim
Berners-Lee, had actually been creating html, http and the world’s very
first web pages at CERN as early as two years prior to the paper, the
publishing of the paper is considered the “birth” of the internet. Not
only did the internet change life as we know it, it also changed
marketing as we know it!
Over the next decade, many experts estimate that the internet grew as
much as one hundred percent per year in terms of bandwidth used. The
greatest spikes of growth were seen in 1996 and 1997. Today, of course,
you would have a hard time finding anybody who does not admit that the
internet plays a key role in their daily lives, from information
gathering to processing communications, primarily through the use of
email and, more recently, social media.
1996: Hotmail Becomes the First Web-Based Email Service
One of the greatest benefits of the rise of the internet was the
ability to use email, or electronic mail, to communicate with people. Email was fast, free and could speed up communications across the world in a way that most people had not previously imagined. However,
during the first years of the internet, email was only available to
people who fit into specific groups: college students using their
college email address or employees who were able to use corporate email
addresses. The second group typically had significant limitations on how
they could use their email and whom they could communicate with. While
some individuals could also get email services provided by their
Internet Service Provider (ISP), those services typically required that
you checked your email specifically from the computer that was supported
by your ISP. Email was not a “pick up and go anywhere” type of
Then, in 1996, Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith launched what was then
called HoTMaiL (with the letters being a reference to html). It was the
first web-based email system, and suddenly email was available to
anybody who had access to the internet. That didn’t just mean people who
had home computers that were internet wired. It also meant anybody who
could use a public computer at a library or business center.
Suddenly, email was no longer limited to just a small group of people
who needed to communicate primarily with each other. Email was out of
the bag to the public, and anybody who wanted to communicate with
anybody else could do so via HoTMaiL. Not surprisingly, people
loved the service and flocked to it. A year later in 1997, Microsoft
purchased HoTMaiL for four hundred million dollars and renamed it MSN
Just How Many People Use Email Today?
Today, Hotmail is still technically the largest web-based email
service in terms of raw users, according to the most recent comScore
data (August of 2010). Hotmail is reported to have three hundred and
sixty-four million users. Yahoo! mail is the second largest with a
reported two hundred and eighty million users, and Google’s Gmail is
third with one hundred and ninety-one million users.
The Birth of Email Marketing
email began as a communications tool for academic and business
purposes, it soon became a tool for personal communications among
friends, relatives and even people who had never met in real life! As
people began to spend more and more time using email as their primary
communications tool, smart marketers realized that email communications
were the future of marketing communications and began to make the shift
into using email as a way to effectively communicate with customers.
Email marketing, even in its earliest days, presented a number of
benefits over both postal marketing and telesales as a form of
direct-to-consumer or direct business-to-business communications.
We’ll look at those benefits in detail in the next section of this
book, but today email marketing is a robust portion of any complete
marketing plan and has entire industries built around helping businesses
of all sizes effectively email market.
would, of course, be an example of this. SMTPSERVER.in
works to develop email products that streamline the sending of email to
consumers or business contacts with customized messages and complete
tracking. In addition to companies that focus primarily on developing
email marketing solutions, individuals have become email marketing
experts as well. Most mid-sized or larger companies employ at least one
email marketing specialist and may have as many as several employees who
focus on nothing but creating effective email marketing strategies and
Of course, you may not need an entire
staff, but you do need to understand the basics of email marketing
strategy, benefits and tactics of email marketing. We’ll cover all of
those in this book to make you your own email marketing expert by the