What is email marketing? Definition and examples

Email marketing involves using emails to promote a company’s goods or services. The term also refers to using emails to develop relationships with customers, prospects, and consumers. A prospect is somebody a business believes could turn into a paying customer.

What is email marketing image image for article 444m4Email marketing is part of digital marketing, which we also refer to as online marketing or Internet marketing. Every email people send to a customer is a type of email marketing.

The messages typically contain advertising, promotional material, a request for donations, or an invitation to join a political group or other type of organization.

Marketing-Schools.org says the following regarding the term:

“Email marketing is, quite simply, using the tools of email to deliver advertising messages. The vast majority of Internet users have email accounts which allow them to receive an almost unlimited number of messages instantly.”

“According to a survey conducted by Pew Internet, 82% of U.S. adults use the Internet, and email is one of the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways for marketers to connect with customers.”

How effective is email marketing?

Since the advent of the Internet near the end of the last century, how we work, play, study, communicate, do business, shop, and watch our favorite movies and shows has changed significantly. Face-to-face communications have declined while contact through social media, texting, telephoning, and emailing has increased dramatically.

Marketing strategies have also undergone similar changes. Traditional approaches such as surface post mail shots, personal visits, radio and TV publicity campaigns have declined, while digital marketing, including effective marketing channels, has grown exponentially.

Let’s look at some of email marketing’s benefits:

Mass coverage

With this type of marketing approach, you can reach many thousands of customers or consumers in one go. Unlike traditional surface mail, there is no postage to pay. You can communicate with people locally, nationally, or globally.


Email marketing is an effective way of grabbing people’s attention at lightning speed.

Receivers already engaged

Receivers of these emails had some time in the past asked to receive them. When they purchased an item or joined an association, they ticked the box which asked whether they wanted to hear about new products, services, or developments.

Ideally, the people you write to should be those who don’t mind being approached, otherwise you may become known as a spammer.


There are email lists for virtually every sector of the economy. If your target consumer is aged 40 to 55, earning more than a certain amount, and loves gardening, there are email lists that focus just on that socioeconomic age group.

With this type of marketing approach, you can communicate specifically with people who are most likely to become your customers.

Easy to do

All you need is an email list, good copy, and attractive images. Copy, in this context, refers to written promotional material.

Easy to gauge success

With email marketing, you can quickly find out what your conversion rates are, which type of message is the most effective, and which ones need to be improved.

Return on investment

According to CampaignMonitor.com, email marketing ROI is $44 for every $1 you spend, i.e., an ROI of 4400%. The letters ROI stand for return on investment.

In an article published by Market Business News in November 2019, Veronica Cruz wrote:

“Email remains to be one of the most reliable ways to communicate – and to market your products or services. Not everyone owns a social media account, but everyone who’s in social media owns an email. After all, they need an email address to register for an account!”


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