The use of email to send messages across the globe has been growing tremendously since the inception of email systems. Research shows that about 1.9 billion people worldwide use email services, with the number projected to rise to 2.5 billion in the next two years (Clark, 2004). A growing number of electronic message subscribers have attracted marketers who view the move as an opportunity to reach many people with their products. The action has led to the birth of email marketing, which currently dominates most online activities. Email marketing is defined as a way to convey commercial messages to an assemblage of people via electronic mail.
Electronic mail marketing can take various approaches, such as advertisements, requests for business, sales, or even donations. Its major aim is to build customer loyalty and enhance a company or brand recognition. The promotion offers a link that enables the company to stay connected with its clients while endorsing its business and products. It also saves the company from needing expensive print space, television ads, radio time, and attractive banners. Moreover, effective email marketing programs grant users the capacity to maintain an email list that has been segmented to serve clients of varied needs (Clark, 2004).
Currently, there are two major ways of conducting email marketing. Foremost is the transactional email. It emerged as an email category in the late 1990s, but it was legally approved in 2003 when the CAN-SPAM act exempted transactional messages from the rules and regulations of traditional marketing or commercial emails. Transaction email facilitates an already agreed-upon deal or updates a customer about an ongoing business (Wohlfarth 2013). It contains information about the users’ wants and has the highest open rates across all email categories. The second means of carrying out email advertising is via direct communication. According to Rouse (2014), direct message promotion is a format for email-based campaigns in which advertisements are sent to a targeted list of recipients. They take the formation of the text, HTML, and rich media and resemble web-based ads rather than typical email messages.
Even though this form of marketing is cheap and easy to use, the input of an expert is vital. In this light, an email marketer ought to seek the services of an electronic message marketing consultant. The roles of the email advertising specialist include strategizing, leading, and executing any work related to email marketing (Fulcrum Tech, 2014). Further, the expert manages and guides customer meetings, on-site work sessions, presentations, and correspondence. The advisor should also give intellectual ideas on the best email practices and subscriber acquisition tactics to integrate with emerging marketing channels like SEO, social media, and mobile phones, among others. He or she should also conduct regular research to understand the internet trend and advice the business accordingly (Fulcrum Tech, 2014).
Lastly, the consultant is responsible for the accuracy, consistency, and timeliness of all online campaigns done on behalf of the business. In brief, professional assistance raises the company’s investment returns, creates a first-class image of the business, and increases awareness of the product and services. Consultants have the aptitude to formulate decipherable sender information for the company and subject lines guaranteed to intrigue email recipients’ interest. They clearly understand how often transmission should be done and how to structure purchasing incentives.
Advantages of E-mail Marketing
- Low-cost. Email marketing does not incur postal, printing, television ads, magazine ads, and billboard exposure charges. Sometimes email marketers may decide to invest a small amount in whiz software to evaluate, track, and automate their emails. However, the cost is low compared to other marketing channels (Gao, 2014).
- Targets aficionados of the product. Emailing marketing entails sending the message to subscribers interested in the brand, thus augmenting chances of trade. Even though it is probably to send unsolicited marketing messages, it might annoy the recipient, who may tarnish the brand’s name (Pure 360, 2014).
- Easy to create. It does not require technical skills or a huge team to succeed. Even though videos, templates, and logos often characterize some marketing emails, having plain simple text is equally effective as people concentrate more on the content (Gao, 2014).
- Segmentation. Email marketing can send messages to those subscribers who satisfy certain conditions. For instance, a franchise can organize and send mail to a portion of the country where a given product is offered. Likewise, it can send emails to subscribers interested in fashion only whenever there is a new stock (Pure 360, 2014).
- Easy to track. Most software in email marketing can allow one to track the adverts and detect where there is a problem. Furthermore, the software permits almost immediate changes to any mistake. The process is different from broadcast or print advertising, where changes require a lot of time and effort to effect (Gao, 2014).
- Global. The service allows prompt and reliable sending of messages to all subscribers worldwide. Even though social media can offer the same services, they lack the privacy that is in email marketing (Pure 360, 2014).
Disadvantages of E-mail Marketing
- Branded a spammer. Sending unsolicited emails often lists the marketer as a spammer. Moreover, some subscribers simply delete the emails without reading the content, thus reducing the chances of selling to them (Vukuf, 2009).
- Breaking the law. Sending spam messages results in a violation of the laws in some countries and can lead to massive fines. In some instances, it leads to the website’s closure (Huang, 2012).
- Burning out the emailing list. Many subscribers may opt to unsubscribe from the mailing list, which can affect the chances of selling the products. One should often ask the subscribers to state the reasons for unsubscribing to correct the mistakes stated (Vukuf, 2009).
- Delivery issues. Spam filters may often block emails from entering the inbox, making it hard for potential clients to know about the products. Similarly, some subscribers may change their email addresses, making it impossible to reach them with the product’s information (Huang, 2012).
Even though email marketing has challenges, it is feasible to avoid them through learning and planning.
Regulations Regarding Emailing Marketing under Canadian Law
The increase in internet fraud and user rights violations has prompted many countries to rules that govern communication via the internet. One such country is Canada which has a law overseeing email marketing the country. According to Mochrie (2014), this law stipulates that any organization that wishes to send an email for commercial purposes should get approval from the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) before emailing the recipient. Further, the law mandates that each email contain ingenious and clear headers to avoid misleading the recipient. The mail must also entail the time frame together with proper identification. The law was enacted on the 1st of July 2014 and has since been operational (Elite Email, 2013).
According to the government of Canada (2013), all emails that emanate from or are received in a computer within Canadian boundaries automatically fall under the jurisdiction of the CASL. With the introduction of this legislation by the CASL, businesses that wish to connect with their potential customers over digital platforms such as emails and social media will encounter new challenges. For instance, a digital message that is sent to one or many electronic addresses that advertising promotes a product or advocates a certain individual is a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM). All the CEM messages must satisfy the rules and regulations set by the CASL. This act’s objective is to prohibit many illegal activities that are rampant on the internet.
Jennings (2014) explains that these unlawful practices include modification of transmission data in any electronic communication to send information to the unusual destination minus the direct consent of the receiver. The act as well prohibits the installation of computer software without the owner’s approval. Further, the regulation forbids the use of a computer program to collect and use electronic addresses without the owner’s approval. It also outlaws the use of misleading or false online representation while promoting a company’s services or products (Government of Canada, 2013).
For organizations to continue using email and other digital platforms in Canada, they must meet the requirements stipulated in the legislation. The first requirement is the consent of the recipient. Before any marketer can send CMEs, he or she needs to get the assent of the consumers to add them to their email list. Secondly, the senders must clearly identify themselves and include relevant information like valid postal and email addresses. Thirdly, each organization must include a visible means of unsubscribing from the CEMs (Government of Canada, 2013). Once an individual sends a request to unsubscribe from the mailing list, the process should not take more than ten business days. In this case, the recipient should only provide their email address and nothing more (Nanji, 2014).
According to Jennings (2014), any person who fails to adhere to the stipulated regulations concerning CEMs faces heavy penalties. For individuals, a violation of the act attracts a penalty of about one million dollars. On the other hand, organizations that go against the law pay a fine of up to ten million dollars. Therefore, one ought to observe the CASL laws to be safe.
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Elite Email (2013). Canada’s anti-spam legislation survival guide. Retrieved from http://www.eliteemail.com/learning-center/casl/
Fulcrum Tech. (2014). How to choose an email-marketing consultant: 10 questions everyone should ask. Retrieved from http://www.fulcrumtech.net/resources/how-to-choose-an-email-marketing-consultant/
Gao. K. (2014). The top 10 benefits of email marketing. Comm 100. Retrieved from http://emailmarketing.comm100.com/email-marketing-ebook/email-marketing-benefits.aspx
Government of Canada. (2013). Fast Facts, retrieved from http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/h_00039.html
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Vukuf. (2009). What is email marketing, advantages and disadvantages? Retrieved from http://www.vukuf.com/email-marketing/
Wohlfarth, J. (2013). What is transactional email? Sendgrid. www.sendgrid.com/blog/what-is-transactional-email