Email Marketing—Spam Practice or Essential Marketing Tool?


Nearly everyone gets some kind of email marketing, whether they remember signing up for it or not is another question. Often times the first thing that comes to peoples minds when they hear the phrase “email marketing” is spam and shadiness. However, according to research done by Smart Insights and GetResponse, email marketing is still rated as one of the most effective digital marketing channels right alongside social media marketing.


So why is email marketing still rated so successful today? Well it’s largely thanks to the powerful features offered by email automation software from companies like MailChimp and Constant Contact. With many companies utilizing these rather affordable tools for their email marketing, it allows them to intelligently personalize email, segment effectively, and optimize emails for maximum engagement and conversion. This all contributes to a generally successful ROI when it comes to email marketing.

But how about me? How do I interact with email marketing? Well I find that I will only stick to receiving marketing emails from my favorite companies and brands, ones I trust. Their emails also will need to have a compelling subject, usually promising something of value to me, like a coupon or significant savings on a product I’m interested in. Only if the offer is compelling will I open the email and take action. Many times I have found that if the company says the included offer is an “email exclusive” or is available early for me, it will cause me to take action and convert. However, everyone treats email differently and this is just my experience. What about others?

I asked three friends of mine what makes emails compelling to them. Here’s what they had to say:

What makes emails interesting and worth your time to open and read?

A: They usually need to be about sales or new things that I care personally about, like concerts in the area or a good sale on one of my favorite brands.

B: The subject of the email usually has to reveal some type of new information or discount for me to be interested. Otherwise, general emails that don’t offer me a discount often don’t get opened.

C: If I see a good discount in the subject it usually will make me look, especially when the product is something I use or want. Or if the subject line states some kind of factoid on a subject that interests me.

Do you ever take any action as a result of the emails? Why or why not?

A: The only time I’ll take action will be if it’s a good sale or a great band I’ve been wanting to see. If I know there’s a better offer coming soon, I’ll usually wait for that.

B: Yeah, I will take action when I see a discount is offered and I want to see how good it is or how much money I would be saving. Or if the subject matter is really interesting to me and there is additional information on a website or blog, I’ll usually click to read more.

C: Yes, I have taken action on emails, usually only if I feel strongly about the cause or if the good discount is being offered on something I need.

What about the CAN-SPAM act? What is it and how does it affect me?

CAN-SPAM stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing. It was an act passed in 2003 in order to establish rules for commercial email and messages, forcing businesses to give users the right to stop receiving emails should they desire and outlining the penalties that can be incurred should businesses violate these regulations.

This act effectively prevented email users from being spammed with unwanted emails. It also enacted several common practices for sent emails, like including a way for users to easily unsubscribe from unwanted content.

In the end, due to the level of customization and targeting offered with email marketing today, it still remains a valuable tool for marketers to use up to this day. Email marketing can provide businesses with valuable leads, help drive conversions, and increase revenues, even during this age of social media focused marketing.

Email Marketing—Spam Practice or Essential Marketing Tool?

Importance of Email Marketing

    Many of us like myself have once subscribe to an email list and have received never ending emails from these businesses/ brands. In my case, I only open emails from online retailers that I have purchased from before or brands that I know. These emails usually offer exclusive discounts or keep me updated with ongoing sales. This is what makes emails effective. Emails give a chance for businesses to contact their customers and build relationships that lead to customer loyalty. As a consumer I find email marketing essential to build relationships. Also I feel like it’s worthwhile being subscribed to email list that have valuable content.

I was curious about how others feel about getting emails from brands/businesses so I interviewed three of my friends about their thoughts on email marketing practices.

What makes them interesting and worth your time to open and read?

S: If one catches my eye I’ll open it to see what it’s about. I don’t like reading emails, the images are usually what get me.

A: I love getting emails about current sales! I like being updated on the brands i’m really interested in.

B: I shop online a lot and they always have things that I want and are out of stock so I subscribe to their email waiting list. I like being aware as soon as their back on stock so I can purchase them a soon as possible.

Do you ever take any action as a result of the emails? Why or why not?

S: Yes, if I get sent discounts or promotional emails I usually purchase something on their website.

A: If the email is appealing I look I click on the link but I don’t always have the intention to buy anything.

B: Yeah, I purchase items that are back on stock or similar ones, that the company recommends.

The fact is that most receive marketing emails. And everyone may have different opinions about them. But email marketing has shown to be effective in increasing revenue. The image below shows how Email Marketing has 13% effective rate in all digital marketing in 2018.

Image result for email marketing effectiveness 2018


CAN SPAM stands for Controlling the Assault of Non- Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act. It was put in place to protect consumers and avoid email spamming. The act basically allows people to unsubscribe from marketing emails. The video above provides more information about the CAN SPAM act and the consequences that companies could suffer if they do not obey this Act.


Marketing Emails are Effective

Businesses can build consumer loyalty through Marketing Emails. So it’s recommended that they have an email list. Although they should be aware about the CAN SPAM act to avoid penalties.  Also the consumer should be aware of this as well as it’s important to knowledgeable about the rights they hold.

Importance of Email Marketing

Email and the Marketing Mix

Is it spam? What if it’s a virus!? Maybe it’s a coupon code!


I don’t know about you, but most of the marketing emails I receive go straight to “trash”. I don’t recall signing up for emails from “Freedom Debt Relief”. Even though freedom from debt would be a dream come true! And, I know I don’t qualify for the “Senior Citizen Discount”, so why does Kohl’s keep sending me reminder emails?! I know, I know, I can open the email, scroll to the bottom and hit the tiny “unsubscribe” link. Sometimes I don’t have the extra time, but most times the “delete” button is just handier.

I don’t trash every marketing email I get. I open the good one’s. Like the ones from “The Packer Pro Shop”, “Under Armour”, “Nike”, etc. Most times they have a catchy subject line that gets me to click on it. Who doesn’t want to see the 2018-19 apparel line for the Pack!? How about 40% off at UA?? I would say I open those types of emails 90% of the time. As far as clicking through to the site, however, that’s about 45% of the time. I like filling a “shopping cart” with all the items I want, but can’t afford, just like everyone else! But, with not much down time these days, cart filling only happens when it’s for something needed.

Enough about me. Today I asked 3 friends what their views are, as far as email marketing and what they do with the ones they get:

What makes them interesting and worth your time to open and read? 

A: I only look at the “sale” emails. This mama is on a budget!

B: I like opening the ones I get from places I’ve never heard of. I don’t know why I get them, but since they’re there I may as well check them out.

C: I only open the ones I signed up for. That way I know it’s going to be something I want to see.

Do you ever take any action as a result of the emails?

A: Only if it’s something we need and it’s on sale.

B: Sometimes I’ll come across the craziest things, or little gadgets that could come in handy, so I check out the site. Sometimes I buy, most times I browse.

C: I do a lot of online shopping. Generally the emails I’m looking for come just in time to click through them and order what I need.

Quite the wide array of answers, but none really surprised me. Also not surprising was their lack of knowledge regarding CAN-SPAM. I had never heard of it either, before starting a marketing class. Did you know there’s an actual law, governed and punishable with some pretty hefty fines, regarding ‘commercial emails’? And SPAM is illegal! According to, FTC.GOV’s list, in my opinion, the rules/laws shouldn’t be that hard to follow. Yet, I’m pretty sure some of the ones I get are in violation of at least 1 of the rules. I’ll be paying more attention from now on! Be sure to click the link to see if any of your’s are in violation.

Unfortunately, even if you’re getting bombarded with ‘illegal’ emails there’s not much that can/will be done to stop them from being sent. Wiki says that the Act “fails to prohibit many types of email spam”. And, “has been largely unenforced”. What’s the point of having it then!? Want to see what else Wiki has to say? Click the blue link below.


Enough about the negative aspects of email marketing. If you want to know what good email marketing looks like, check out, Courtney, from HubSpot Academy. It will only take 1 minute of your time!



In closing, I’d like to point out that not all marketing emails go to the “trash”; not all are illegal; most aren’t secret viruses, and there are excellent ways to use email marketing to your advantage! Just make sure you aren’t in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. No one looks good in an orange jumpsuit. 😉


Email and the Marketing Mix

How Brenna Earned Money by Opening Emails

Receive up to $25 each month from opening Pacsun’s promotional emails!


Companies are constantly on the hunt to add new emails to their list. Us email recipients often think that being added to just one more email list won’t be noticeable in our inbox. However, it looks quite the opposite and makes our inbox feel bombarded. Just when you thought you cleared all the ‘junk’ out, 24 hours later, it’s back to where it started.

Beyond the necessary emails about our bank statements or our insurance; if an email received from a retailer is NOT about a confirmation order or including a number to track the shipment of a package, a great number of people will just ignore the email and delete it right away.

Knowing this was an opinion to many people besides myself, I was determined to interview someone who thought otherwise. This someone would be my cousin Brenna. To be completely honest; after interviewing Brenna, she may have changed my opinion about signing up for retailers email’s and convinced me to register for Pacsun’s.

After reading the interview, Brenna will have probably convinced you too.


  1. What makes emails from Marketers and Businesses interesting and worth your time to open and read?

Answer:  When the email titles announce about different sales and coupons, or say “Just In!” for new items or items back in stock, it makes me want to click on them. So that definitely grabs my attention!

2.  Do you ever take any action as a result of the emails? Why or why not?

Answer:  If there’s actually a really good sale or if I see something I really like from an email, I have definitely gone online and bought something!

The companies know me too well that they promote the things I want, and then I buy them. That’s basically why it works and it’s terrible. (laughs)

3.  What usually convinces you to sign up for regular emails from a retailer?

Answer:  Well actually, Pacsun does this thing where if you open their emails, they give you points that can then turn into money; so basically just opening their email gives you money. So yeah, that’s definitely a plus and it made me want to sign up for their emails.


PACSUN promotes multiple activities for their members to earn point converting cash. Every 1,250 points equals $5 for the store! That means, if a Reward Member is ONLY opening emails, it would take just over a month to earn $5! If you’re on-top of the game, PACSUN lets members earn up to $25 every month!


Aside from that, when I’m at a store and they ask me for my email to make an account, I will be like, “No, no thanks” but whenever they add to say something like, “Alrighty. You could save 20% off your purchase. Are you sure?” I’m always like, “Here’s my email!”

So to answer your question, pretty much anything that earns me a discount or will save me money.

4.  Off the top of your head, which businesses send you promotional emails most  regularly?

Answer:  Pura Vida does for sure! I don’t know about you, but I am always adding items to my cart and then never buying them. (laughs) Anytime that I am signed into my account on Pura Vida and add something to my cart, they track my visit and will always email me something saying “We will reserve these for you for the next 24 hours and here’s a coupon!”


If you need help and/or are wanting to be removed from a company’s email list, first contact the company for assistance. If a company refuses, refer to the Federal Trade Commission in reference to the CAN-SPAM Act.

The CAN-SPAM Act is a U.S. law governing a set of email laws and requirements. The CAN-SPAM Act pertains to e-commerces and businesses sending emails to promote commercial website content. The Act also discloses a set of clear and strict penalties if a company’s email does not conclude a recipient’s request. If e-commerces and businesses do not give email recipients the right to stop receiving emails or fail to abide any other requirements within the CAN-SPAM Act, the company is then liable for all CAN-SPAM violations.

For more information, click the links provided:

Federal Trade Commission

CAN-SPAM Rule | Business Guide

eCFR | Text of Rule

How Brenna Earned Money by Opening Emails

Email Marketing in a Digital World

What is email marketing?  According to Mailchimp, “email marketing helps you connect with your audience to promote your brand and increase sales.”

When I think about email marketing, the first thing I think of is campaign fundraising emails.  I’ve had previous political jobs and I am still politically active.  I subscribe to several political candidates who fill up my Gmail “Promotions” daily.  However, this is one of several types of marketing emails from marketers/businesses.  There are so many that most, if not all, are stigmatized as spam.  I think what makes the ones that I engage with interesting is if there is an influencer that I respect or a product that I have considered purchasing.  The easiest example of this is a fundraising email from Bryan Steil.  He is a candidate running for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.


This email appears to be sent by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  The marketer who sent this email is hoping that his influence is enough to peak the interest of the email recipients.  I understand that influencers are mainly used in social media marketing, but I think this is an example of an email using an influencer to boost opens and possibly conversions.

Usually, I do not take action as a result of the marketing emails I receive, and this example was no exception.  I think the main reason that I don’t is because I am so immune to them that I always ignore them.  I thought that I was in the majority on this opinion, but it turns out I’m not.  According to Forbes,

email marketing is still an extremely cost-effective way to generate leads and make sales for businesses.

After learning more about this topic, I decided to interview three people around me to dive a little deeper.  I interviewed my father, Jon – a small business owner who struggles with technology, my girlfriend Brittani – an avid online shopper, and my friend, Garrett – a graduate student.  Their results were surprising to me:

How often do you receive emails from marketers/businesses?

Jon: I think I receive multiple emails a day from different businesses and marketers.

Brittani: I definitely receive more marketing emails than I would like.

Garrett: Too many to count.

Do you ever open on the emails that you receive?  If so, do you ever take action?

J: Yes I open about half of them, but I take action at a far less rate.

B: Yes I open a decent amount of them, and I do take action.

G: I rarely ever open marketing emails, and I never take action.

What makes them interesting or worth your time to open/read and take action?

J: Sales interest me, as well as anything I think might potentially be able to help my business.

B: The biggest thing I look for are stores and brands that I like.  If either or having sales, I usually shop on their websites.

G: I don’t really open or act on any marketing emails.

I was surprised by how much Brittani interacted with marketing emails.  I was also surprised that my dad used them, even though he isn’t very tech-savvy.  I was not surprised that Garrett did not interact with them.  He and I are very similar, so it would make sense that both of us are not interested in email marketing.

As future digital marketers, it is important that we understand CAN-SPAM and why it is important to our industry.  CAN-SPAM is a law that establishes rules for commercial email messages and marketing practices.  According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you violate the following rules you could be subject to penalties up to $41,484:

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  • Identify the message as an ad.
  • Tell recipients where you’re located.
  • Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
  • Honor opt-out requests promptly.
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.

CAN-SPAM is very important to remember.  If you are ever tasked with email marketing for any kind of business or organization, it is vital that you remember and adhere to these rules.

Email Marketing in a Digital World

The Importance of Email Marketing & How to Hook Your Audience

More than 34% of the people worldwide use email, which is about 2.5 billion people, and it’s predicted to increase to about 2.8 billion email users in the next 2 years. Email reaches about 40% of more customers over Facebook and Twitter.


If you have the creativity in you or marketing capabilities, then email could be your best channel of communication. In order for you to be successful in email marketing, you must use effective strategies, so I made your life a little easier by listing 4 strategies I recommend:


  1. Email Personalization

Personalizing the emails with the help of the information available about the target customers goes a long way to boost the click-through rate of your email’s campaign. Prospects are more likely to click and read emails which they believe are tailored to be read by them.


  1. Analytics

Using a dedicated method to track the analytics of your email campaign gives decision making a whole new perspective. A marketing team can better determine what’s working and what’s not. Emails can then, be effectively tweaked to entice better responses from their readers.


  1. Automation

One of the latest top strategies available to reach out to prospects today is using automation to drive the sales. Automation platforms help companies access an extensive database of email addresses and send out automated personalized emails to them based on high-level tracking information available about them. Or just even, for example, having the name of the person throughout the email.


  1. Segmentation

Segmentation is the process of dividing the email list into groups so as to facilitate the implementation of personalization in emails. The right kind of segmentation can have a huge positive implication on the campaign’s revenue generation.


What Makes an Email Interesting Enough to Read


Content does matter, but the biggest way to hook the fish, A.K.A customer, is to start with a catchy subject line. For example, you always see thumbnails on YouTube that are like “She Almost Died,” well, people like a good subject to watch; same goes for anything written. Why do you think magazines have so much going on, on their front page? It’s because they use the many things as a hook to reel in an audience. This is what makes an email interesting, if you take the time to come up with something everyone could be like “hmmm… I wonder what that means?” Humans are curious, and if you feel them that they will go crazy for the content.


Now if you’re sending an email out to get people aware of let’s say, “The Dangers of Smoking.” Are you really going to want to send that email to a fifty-year-old male who loves dogs and fast cars? No! This is why you want to reach an audience that pertains to what you are talking about. This way, your targeting audience is sent to people who care about what your email consists of, which means people are more likely to click on your email. When you are ready to send your email out, segment your distribution list by target market to make sure the right audience is receiving the right message. You can segment by age, gender, location, education level, industry, job title or any number of other characteristics depending on your message.


Taking Action Within an Email


Your email recipients will react, respond, and take action, depending on the layout of the email. For me, if it is an event that is being sent out as an invitation via email, I will write it on my calendar right away. However, the person who sent the email really doesn’t know that I do that or if I did it. The hook here is in how you get the person to respond, so you know if that person is, in fact, coming to your event. For example, one of my clubs set up an event to welcome new members, but instead of just giving the email invitation; the subject line stated, “Action Required RSVP….” I noticed it right away and took action to get my seat reserved. This simple step can be easy and helpful in the long run.



What is CAN-SPAM and Why Is It Important?


It’s possible that you don’t even know what CAN-SPAM is. If you’re going to send emails to your customers, CAN-SPAM is a very important law that you need to know about. It governs whether the email you send is considered a legal communication or an illegal piece of unsolicited spam. If you don’t abide by it, you’re subject to fines and penalties from the U.S. federal government. Obeyed by the following, and you should be okay:

  1. Never use False or misleading header info: Example: “From” or “To”
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines: Subject line must reflect on the content in the email.
  3. Identify the message as an ad.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out from receiving future emails if uninterested.
  6. Honor the opt-out request promptly.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf: The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.



Recommended video:








The Importance of Email Marketing & How to Hook Your Audience

Email Marketing: Exciting or Excruciating?

As stated on the FTC’s website, “the CAN-SPAM Act [is] a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, [and] gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them….” These regulations protect consumers against fraudulent and unsolicited emails. It’s imperative that businesses familiarize themselves with the CAN-SPAM Act with regard to email marketing, as non-compliance comes with a hefty price tag.

What about email marketing?

As I think about email marketing, I think of the sheer volume of emails I receive and about inbox clean-up. I’m particular about where, why, and how I make purchases, so unless I receive a marketing or promotional email that’s tailored to my current situation, I delete it immediately. For example, I may receive an article from InHerSight with pertinent career advice or a discount from Etsy for a recently-viewed product. In those cases, I’m inclined to read the entire email. An email with a promo code may lead to a site-visit, but I’m just as likely to close the website without making a purchase after a few minutes of browsing. Marketing emails that are personalized, interesting, and visually appealing, much like these examples, also get my attention.

To gain a better understanding of how others feel about email marketing, I spoke with Francisco, social-media-boycotter and construction worker, Mary, avid shopper and event planner, and Emily, millennial and aspiring architect. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: Think about email communications from marketers/businesses. What makes them interesting and worth your time to open/read?

F: I don’t care for marketing emails. I get too many of them promoting products and deals that really aren’t that great or relevant to me. I might open an email with a subject line that indicates a better sale, deal, or product than I’m used to seeing.

M: I receive TONS of marketing emails daily, oftentimes from the same source. An email that stands out to me is visually pleasing, gets my attention, and is quick and to-the-point. I also look at the subject – if it makes me think “hmm, I need to know more,” I’ll open it. If it’s a standard subject line, I’m led to believe reading the body of the email isn’t worth my time.

E: The first think I think about related to marketing emails is “do I want to receive this email? Aka did I sign up for this?” If so, emails that are personalized or have relatable subjects are interesting. For example, discounts, ads related to something I’ve purchased, or articles based on a recent search would all interest me.

Q: Do you ever take any action because of the emails? Why or why not?

F: If a good sale is advertised in the subject line, I’ll read the body, then possibly go to the website to look for the specific deal. If the deal is only available for a limited time, that’s probably the only time I’d buy a product directly because of an email. That is rare though – I usually delete the emails without opening them. Sometimes I will unsubscribe.

M: If it’s from a store I frequent, I open it and read the body to ensure I’m not missing a good deal. Oftentimes I’ll make a purchase, or at least visit the website. However, if I get too many emails from the same place in the same week, I send them to the trash immediately. I also unsubscribe from marketing emails quite often, but I usually re-subscribe down the road.

E: I often unsubscribe in response to [marketing] emails, even from companies with which I shop. I don’t like to receive daily ads. Rarely do these types of emails cause me to act in the way of purchasing or browsing the website.

Consistent with the above stated insights into email marketing, data from the “Email Marketing Industry Census 2016” show that consumers are interested in promotional emails that offer discounts, and the article also provides data and detail as to why individuals unsubscribe from emails. For additional examples of effective marketing campaigns, I encourage you to visit the above mentioned HubSpot blog post.

I hope you enjoyed hearing more about these insights into email marketing!

Email Marketing: Exciting or Excruciating?