Chapter 4. It's Not Your Father's E-Mail
What's in It for You?
Do you think you know e-mail? Probably—since most people have been e-mailing for about a decade and a half now. Even before there was e-mail, companies were sending messages asking others in their trusted networks to look at their web site or buy their products. And although spam (called by other names, such as "junk mail" or "rubbish") had existed in bulletin boards (see Chapter 6, The Internet Forum, and Chapter 5, The World of Web Pages), it—and other commercial marketing messages—came to fruition in an especially strong manner through the birth of e-mail. After all, there isn't any other form of advertising that has a more reliable return on investment (ROI) than e-mail. What other marketing medium allows you to reach 5,000 to 50,000 of your potential customers for (nearly) free or a very inexpensive price with the help of an e-mail service provider?
When e-mail is used correctly, its conversion rate—the rate at which it turns potential customers into actual customers—can be phenomenal. It has the power to exponentially exceed the results generated by conventional direct mail, newspaper, magazine, and cost-prohibitive radio and television advertising. The Internet is one of the very few media formats that actually allows advertisers to count how many impressions, responses, conversations, and pass-alongs their ads produce, and thereby determine exactly how many sales can be attributed to each e-mail campaign.