The 7 Types of Email Marketing You Should Know About

Published: 18th September 2009
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Email marketing has become such a generic term that it conjures up different things to different people. Some people might imagine a catalog of new products from their favorite hobby store, while others might think of a cool postcard they received from a local nightclub announcing the season's entertainment lineup. Regardless of what type of email marketing you use, the one thing you must avoid is being perceived as spam. You do this by making sure your message always offers value -- something that informs, entertains or educates the reader -- and leaves them feeling satisfied. Following are seven popular types of email marketing.

1.) Email Postcards -- These are short email announcements, usually with a graphic or two, that get right to the point. The layout is simple and the message is clear. They are commonly used to inform subscribers of special offers, new products and upcoming events. An example would be a "just listed' postcard from a realtor informing potential buyers of a home that just came on the market.

2.) Email Catalogs -- As the name implies, catalog emails are electronic versions of print catalogs, though it will usually only list or promote a small sampling of the products available. There are usually dozens of pictures with short descriptions and links underneath encouraging the reader to click the link to learn more and purchase. A common example of catalog marketing is a computer retailer showcasing an inventory of their hottest products.

3.) Email Press Releases -- While this email marketing format generally targets media contacts, it is still widely used by businesses and organizations to reach other subscribers as well. If an organization has grown a sizeable emailing list, email press releases are a natural way to get the word out. A good example of this would be an animal shelter in an urban area that emails announcements regarding "pets available for adoption." With a little writing and one click, the marketer can instantly deliver the release to hundreds, even thousands, of media contacts and pet lovers.

4.) Email Newsletters -- Also known as an eNewsletter, this form of email marketing is very popular. The goal of an email newsletter campaign is to help a business or organization build a stronger relationship with its clients, prospects or membership group. The idea behind a good email newsletter is to deliver relevant content that subscribers will find informative, educational, or entertaining. A popular example would be a travel agency that provides a monthly eNewsletter to its clientele with a feature article on a hot travel spot, a sidebar with some travel tips, a testimonial with lots of pictures from a happy customer who just returned from a dream trip, and possibly some short narratives and pictures promoting the company's featured vacation packages.

5.) Email Surveys -- This format is newer than the others, but it works well for many purposes. It is exactly what it sounds like -- a questionnaire where the recipient answers some questions and submits it. An example would be a city science center or local gym that wants to learn more about its member's needs and desires. They send a survey, learn more about their members, and maybe offer a prize or free admission in return.

6.) Email Invitations -- Similar to an email postcard, however, the theme is all about "inviting" you to some special event. It usually has a festive theme. For example, a restaurant might invite you to a special Italian night dinner to introduce you to some of its newest Italian dishes.

7.) Coupons -- Simply a discount or special offer by email in an effort to garner new business, increase sales or encourage repeat business. Need I say more?

Each of these email marketing formats has its own unique advantages (and disadvantages), and it will take some experimenting to find out which ones your recipients respond well to. The best marketers will continuously test their campaigns to determine what their subscribers like and dislike, whether they want to receive daily, weekly or monthly emails and their preferences regarding format. Some will like short postcards, while others will soak up a lengthier newsletter. Some will still want plain text emails. It's up to you to find out what they want -- and then give it to them.


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