What Is Email Marketing . Useful Historical Background

In the past, traditional mail service was one of the most effective ways to promote a product or keep in touch with your customers. Therefore, the marketers found a massive opportunity in marketing through e-mails. In addition, it costs much less than a traditional mail campaign and is much easier. In this article, I will explain to you What Is Email Marketing in details.

Before The Invention of Internet

The story of the e-mail started earlier than you think. In the beginning of Emails and Marketing, the early name of the e-mail was an electronic mail message. It existed decades before the invention of the internet, which we know nowadays. Yes, this is true. The first e-mail was sent in 1971 by a computer programmer called Ray Tomlinson. Still, it was tough to send the e-mail directly without software to manage and receive the e-mails. 

Therefore, one year after sending the first e-mail in 1972, Larry Roberts developed software allowing the users to list, forward and read the e-mail. He used a database primarily designed to manage the e-mails.

What Is Email Marketing -

The Use of E-mails in Marketing

To understand What Is Email Marketing, we need to know how it started. The marketers have taken seven years after sending the first e-mail to realize the benefits of using e-mails in marketing their products. In 1978 a man called Gary Thuerk, who was working as a marketing manager in Digital Equipment Corporation, has sent around 400 e-mails to market machines made by his company.

According to Digital Equipment Corporation, this creative brand new way resulted in $ 13 million in sales. In addition, this was the first e-mail marketing campaign in marketing history.

The term electronic mail message kept being used until 1982. In 1982 the name was shortened to be e-mail to make it easier.

The Beginning of Emails and Marketing Misuse

Some marketers misused the great opportunity of using the e-mails in marketing and showered e-mail users with marketing e-mails regardless of the relevance of the marketed products to receivers’ interest. The result was annoying the receivers, and they started to use paid software programs to filter the e-mails that show in their e-mails’ inboxes. 

These e-mail filtering software programs identify the marketing e-mails and send them a separate folder called “junk e-mails”. This action distinguished marketing e-mails from the other ordinary e-mails. In 1988, the phrase “junk e-mail” was inserted into the English language dictionary. It became widely used to refer to unwanted e-mails. And junk emails are What Is Email Marketing suffering from now days.

All these developments were happening while the computers were communicating in a very primitive way compared to today’s communication technologies. The technical knowledge required to use e-mails and the slow speed of communication between computers reduced the popularity of e-mail marketing. 

The Born of Internet

But a drastic change happened in 1991 after the born of the internet. It resulted in massive development in general communication and e-mail marketing in particular.

What Is Email Marketing and Free E-mail Services

Many software development companies found that investing in e-mail marketing is a great opportunity. The race among these companies started in 1998 to provide internet e-mail services, which provided these services for free. The most prominent investors in this technology were Microsoft and Hotmail. Until this time, e-mails were still a boring chunk of text without any means to help the reader get the message quickly, like multimedia and font size and color. 

User Friendly E-mails

But, in the early 2000s, e-mail THML appeared, which allowed the marketers to add photos, insert buttons and change the format of the fonts in their marketing e-mails. This type of e-mail allowed the customer to receive more appealing e-mails. The result is a better understanding of the marketed product or service and (most importantly) ultimately increased the sales.


While e-mail popularity is increasing, resulting in increased sales on the internet, the junk e-mail problem also increased. The situation necessitated the governments intervene by imposing some e-mail marketing rules and limiting unsolicited e-mails. As a result, in 2003, a law called the CAN-SPAM act was signed off. The main conditions required to be in any marketing e-mail are sender details and unsubscribe link.


The readability of the e-mail is one of the basic requirements to get the required response from the reader. However, the introduction of different terminal devices like laptops, mobile phones and tablets created a new challenge. This challenge is due to the fact that the display resolution of these devices differs from each other. This need deep understanding what is email marketing is to deal with this issue.

Therefore, the series marketer should consider these devices when planning his e-mail marketing campaign. Therefore, it results in a distorted appearance for the same message on different devices. According to a recent market study done by Return Path, more than half of the opened e-mails happened using mobile phones. 

What Is Email Marketing: The Need for Responsive E-mails

Also, they found that 75% of mobile users delete any e-mail that is not convenient to read and compatible with their device used to open the e-mail. This action gives the e-mail service provider indicates that the receiver is not comfortable receiving e-mails from this sender, which will consider the sender as a spammer and damage the marketer’s reputation. 

This issue guided the programmers in 2009 to develop an e-mail service that is accessible using a standard web browser. As a result, these e-mail service providers recognize the e-mail device used to open the e-mail and display is compatible with the receiver’s device. 

This issue guided the programmers in 2009 to develop an e-mail service that is accessible using a standard web browser. As a result, these e-mail service providers recognize the e-mail device used to open the e-mail and display is compatible with the receiver’s device. Understanding this concept answers the questing what is email marketing is more easier.

Future of Email Marketing

The report issued by The Redirect Group expects that 247.3 billion e-mails will be sent and received by 2023, with a growth of 4.2% more than 2019. This growth and e-mail marketing has the highest return on investment ROI. Other marketing techniques like organic search, content marketing, paid search, and affiliate marketing, make e-mail marketing the most preferred marketing strategy. 

For instance, previous research showed that every $1 spent on e-mail marketing returns $51 profit, which increased by $12 than last year. However, e-mail marketing needs the marketer to do it appropriately to gain this much profit. 

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