While main use of email marketing is to drive traffic to your web site, there are other important reasons that email communications should be used as part of your firm's marketing strategy.
You should use them, and use them often, to create an effective overall marketing strategy, of which your emails are an important part.
Strategy One: Brand identification.
Brand identification is one of fundamental concepts of marketing, and you can use emails to contribute to yours.
Brand identification is letting people know who you are, and what you stand for, by creating an image in their minds.
This is literally gold in marketing arena.
We pay more for Nikes, not because they're always better than competitors, but because of image that advertisers have created for us.
So how can you use email to do this?
If your firm is high tech, then you'll want emails and newsletters that show this.
Be one to use "streaming media" or "online video" in your emails (offer this as an option though, along with a less high-tech option for those without broadband connections).
Does your firm appeal to young consumers who like things that are unusual?
Or who like funky humor?
Then let your fonts and graphics play into this.
Are you sending out financial reports to baby boomers in your newsletters?
Then conservative colors and fonts should be used.
The tone of writing you use, and even topics you include in each email communication are building up brand identification in minds of those who read them.
Try to be consistent, and reach your target audience (people who are most likely to buy from you) with content that appeals to them, and you'll see response rates grow.
Use your emails to tell customers about special updates and products: in old days, we put up flyers or sent direct mail ads; now we tell our customers by email.
This is a highly effective marketing strategy, because John may be ready to update his outmoded software and welcome your notice, or Sally may be glad to hear that there's a special at her local hair salon.
You can save a lot of money by using email to advertise your specials instead of printing and mailing out ads.
This is one reason that email marketing is often best used along with offline marketing methods: two go hand-in-hand, and most successful firms use both.
Strategy Two: Use Your Emails To Build good customer relations.
This is one of most effective uses of emails, since if they are used positively to build up your firm's reputation for service and attentiveness, you will see sales and customer retention go up.
CRM is a big buzzword in marketing circles today, and for good reason: people will simply go elsewhere if they believe that they are receiving better service (or value) elsewhere.
From autoresponders that your firm sends when clients fill out an order form, confirming that their order was received and is being processed, to news updates you send your opt-in list, quality of your communications can go a long way towards creating positive relations.
Grammatically correct, polite emails that let customers know that you will contact them shortly, and that provide contact information in case they need to reach you immediately can be a powerful marketing tool.
Use your emails to answer customer questions, and overcome objections to buying from you. If your emails are polite, answer client questions in a clear, easy-to-understand manner, and give them information they are asking for, you've probably just won a customer!
You can also send out "articles" that help address common customer concerns, that can bring down barriers to buying from you (for instance, an article that discusses financing options, and how to get a great mortgage loan, would be a natural for a real estate company to send in one of its newsletters).