There used to be a time when you used the term email marketing and most people had a picture in their head of a marketing process that was simple.
screen_shot_2010-05-24_at_2-03-15_pmSimple, in the sense that you had a Constant Contact account.  You selected your favorite template, and you sent a newsletter (usually monthly).  Then you put in some information about your company events, products, news, and people and hit the send button.

Most companies would send their newsletter out to say, 500 to 1000 customers and prospects and call it a day.

They would be thrilled to receive some feedback from readers that saw their newsletter and made mention of it in a conversation.

Usually that was about as far as email marketing went.  Then, in 2008 the world changed.  Customers disappeared or got frugal, very frugal.  Competition heated up and competitors got more aggressive.  Do more with less was the norm for those businesses that were able to weather the storm.

And something interesting started to happen.  A marketing divide started to happen.

Some companies cut back on everything (marketing included!) to adapt.  Others saw this environment as an opportunity to INVEST in marketing and at the same time expect more from the marketing they were doing.

This was a great trend (which is being repeated, but I’ll get to that in a second).  Suddenly it was no longer good enough for your email marketing newsletter to get a few mentions from customers.  Suddenly, it was expected that all of your marketing dollars showed a return!  And email was no exception.

This was about the time that ZinMarketing entered the market, delivering email marketing services for small business.  It was a great time to do email campaigns because even though the expectation for results was high, our prospect’s email ROI at the time was low.

At about the same time, studies done by the Direct Marketing Association started claiming that the top ROI was being delivered by email marketing… ahead of PPC, SEO, and other online marketing strategies.

Remember this was in 2008.  In August of that year, Facebook claimed over 100 million users.  And Pinterest… not even a site back then.

So fast forward to today.  Social media has overwhelmed online marketing strategies and process.  In some areas, very effectively and in others, very ineffectively.

And the DMA is still reporting BIG ROI numbers but here is the thing:  email marketing is not defined the same way any longer.  I met with a colleague recently talking about how companies could grow their email list.  We were talking about how to grow your list using Facebook paid advertising.

And in her mind we weren’t talking about email marketing, we were talking about social media marketing!  It just happened this Facebook tactic resulted in a much larger email list!

The moral of the story.

it’s not what you call it that matters, it’s the results you get from it.

Now, instead of talking about email marketing tactics, I’ll start talking more about the uses of email marketing as a tool to generate more leads, create more revenue, build your audiences, and increase your customer loyalty levels.

Those are the types of benefits you should be looking for in your use of email marketing!  And we love it because that’s what we’ve quietly been doing the past 6 years.