Short for e lectronic mail , the transmission of messages over communications networks . The messages can be notes entered from the keyboard or electronic files stored on disk . Most mainframes , minicomputers , and computer networks have an e-mail system . Some electronic-mail systems are confined to a single computer system or network, but others have gateways to other computer systems, enabling users to send electronic mail anywhere in the world. Companies that are fully computerized make extensive use of e-mail because it is fast, flexible, and reliable.. Most e-mail systems include a rudimentary text editor for composing messages, but many allow you to edit your messages using any editor you want. You then send the message to the recipient by specifying the recipient's address. You can also send the same message to several users at once. This is called broadcasting .. Sent messages are stored in electronic mailboxes until the recipient fetches them. To see if you have any mail, you may have to check your electronic mailbox periodically, although many systems alert you when mail is received. After reading your mail, you can store it in a text file , forward it to other users, or delete it. Copies of memos can be printed out on a printer if you want a paper copy .. All online services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer e-mail, and most also support gateways so that you can exchange mail with users of other systems. Usually, it takes only a few seconds or minutes for mail to arrive at its destination. This is a particularly effective way to communicate with a group because you can broadcast a message or document to everyone in the group at once.. Although different e-mail systems use different formats , there are some emerging standards that are making it possible for users on all systems to exchange messages. In the PC world, an important e-mail standard is MAPI . The CCITT standards organization has developed the X.400 standard, which attempts to provide a universal way of addressing messages. To date, though, the de facto addressing standard is the one used by the Internet system because almost all e-mail systems have an Internet gateway.. Another common spelling for e-mail is email .. Also see Why E-Mails Bounce and Getting Rid of Spam in the Did You Know section of Webopedia..

Dimensional mail: Grab your potential customers' attention with mail pieces that are not the envelopes or postcards that people are used to getting but ones that have dimension, such as bulky items, boxes or tubes. These have a much higher response rate than the mail pieces you are sending now. Switching from your current format to a dimensional piece is very costly, so before considering doing this you need to know your budget. However, you can expect a lift in response. One of my favorite examples is sending a "message in a bottle" in the mail. This direct mail campaign featured a little plastic bottle with a label on it. Inside was a note on how to buy the company's product. Something like that stands out and gets opened.
Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States' Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM),[9] the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider's acceptable use policy.
It's practically impossible to overstate the importance of direct mailing lists to the success of your direct mail program. The correct mailing list will contain your most valuable prospects. The more careful you are in analyzing and selecting direct mailing lists, the better your chances for success. There are several different categories of mailing lists available on the market today ranging in cost and appropriateness for your market. When you are considering what type of mailing list to buy consider the following three types:
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