The Evolution of Email Marketing

When email marketing first started, it was a ponderous tool, frequently requiring multiple sendings or building mailing lists so all the addresses could be piled into the cc field and sent out in a gigantic blast. Today, email marketing not only comes across in presentations that appear as advanced as a Van Gogh versus caveman drawings, it is also highly automated and task-free in terms of manual work involved.

The Foundation

As most are aware, the basic purpose of email was to send text notes back and forth via the Internet quickly. The earliest emails were zipping around in the late 1980s and most people had an idea what an email was or how to use it by the mid-1990s. That said, it wasn’t much more than an electronic version of a typewritten letter with a complicated technology address.

The very first forms of email marketing soon began as businesses began to tinker with the idea of sending email messages to people advertising information or services with either a phone number or return email address attached to find out more information.

Thus the age of spam began, as people’s email inboxes were soon swarmed with messages for sales, pharmaceuticals and personal dating services. That said, the marketers themselves had to find a way to collect and build a database of email addresses to be effective. So trolling for email addresses through contact lists, mailing lists, or website information was quite common. As soon as someone posted his email address on a website, he was sure to get swarmed within days with unwanted emails.

Eventually, spam marketing to just anyone got so bad the government finally passed laws to squash the behavior and punish any business abusing the Internet in a related manner. When one major player was taken out by penalties, 85 percent of the world’s spam suddenly stopped.

Enter Automation

With advancement of website technology, field entry, and automated database and account creation through websites, email marketing jumped light years ahead. With these new tools business could now capture email addresses from interested parties who voluntarily provided their information, identify their targeted interest based on website interaction, and then send out webpage-style emails with graphics and professional presentation. Now, businesses could target potential customers with electronic brochures rather than silly text messages. Thus was born the age of automated marketing.

Today

Email marketing has now gone further with professional newsletters built into emails by using services from RedCappi. Interactive opt-in/opt-out features, mass communication, advanced HTML coding in email messages, survey capabilities, integration with social media, tracking tools and monitoring of consumer activity, click-through advances, and more. Again the key to these advances is automation, reducing the manual creation and boosting the automatic collection of data and input by readers. The one thing marketers still haven’t figured though is how to avoid the consumer’s delete button.

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