An email marketing system is a software or service that allows the owner to send out mass emails to a list of opt-in subscribers. The difference between an email marketing service and spam is that all the subscribers have given consent to receive the emails and are free to opt-out at any time. An email marketing system is often used to market products of a specific niche to subscribers who’ve shown interest in that area in the past.
The reason that an email marketing system, often referred to as an email or eblast, is such a commonly used tool in online marketing is that it provides a way of interacting with customers on a regular basis. If the owner of the list can keep the recipients interested in his or her emails, then they are likely to be willing to purchase products from the site or visit it often in the future. Having an email list of subscribers that trust the list owner and value his or her opinion can be extremely lucrative.
To legally send emails of a commercial nature in bulk, the sender must have the permission of each person on the email list. Opt-in advertising usually uses the double opt-in method where a user must knowingly enter his or her email address and then confirm that they want to receive emails. Although this decreases the conversion rate of visitors to subscribers, it ensures that the owner of the email list cannot be accused of illegal spamming. A subscriber that has opted to receive emails is also generally more likely to be interested in the products and services that the owner is selling.
Due to the fact that a subscriber of a Can-Spam compliant email opt-in list can decide to stop receiving emails at any time, the owner of the list will usually go out of his or her way to ensure that the members are receiving useful information. This often means that the owner will send out free information, reports or advice in order to persuade the subscriber to continue to read the emails. A free gift will also often be used to get the subscriber to sign-up to the list in the first place.
The Can-Spam regulations provide a list of rules regarding email marketing. One of these rules is that the recipients of the emails must be able to opt-out of receiving future correspondence. For this reason an email marketing system will automatically include an opt-out link at the bottom of any email they send out.