The recent "E-Mail and Word-of-Mouth" report from eMarketer noted how e-mail's ubiquity, both among marketers and Internet users, creates a take-it-for-granted attitude that detracts from its actual power. With about 90% of Internet users -- and over 55% of all Americans -- as regular e-mail users, according to eMarketer estimates, the audience has clearly attained critical mass. The fundamental purpose of e-mail marketing is to enhance a company's relationship with its customers and to draw in new prospects. While that might mean direct response sales messages or service announcements, it increasingly includes some form of word-of-mouth communications. Marketers are looking to join the conversation with consumers, or, to put it another way, word-of-mouth advertising via e-mail as a primary delivery vehicle, means reaching satisfied customers. This can be measured by new e-mail opt-ins, the prime metric cited in a MarketingSherpa survey.
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