Email marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fund-raising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:
- Sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business
- Sending email messages with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately
- Adding advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers, and
- Sending email messages over the Internet, as email did and does exist outside the Internet (e.g., network email).
Researchers estimate that United States firms alone spent US $400 million on email marketing in 2006.