Email advertising has become almost as common as TV, postal or any other advertising. Each day, every mailbox is filled with hoards of information about product offers. Everything from credit cards to mortgage loans to personal enhancement offers is publicized. Though no one is sure whether viewers really acknowledge these offers or not, email advertising has become a very important part of the marketing mix.There are many advantages to email advertising. It is a very cost-effective and efficient way to keep in touch with existing customers and provide them information about products or services in which they may be interested. It helps to improve a company’s brand loyalty. It saves a lot of time as compared to traditional direct mail advertising.The results are also measurable, as nearly 80% of the responses arrive within the first three days after sending the mail. It is also very easy to track, as bounce-backs, click-through and other responses can be tracked immediately. Email advertising is ideal for certain products like downloadable software, online conferences, up selling to higher-priced products, or cross-selling.Email advertisements are generally treated as “spam”. Spamming is the process of sending out advertising messages to millions of mailboxes through email. These messages are unsolicited; the recipient does not invite them. However, now spamming has been outlawed as a criminal offense. Besides, each advertising message should have an “opt-out” option, which will allow the recipient to block any more messages in the future. The reason is that, spamming causes servers to get clogged up, restricting important messages from passing through. Besides, spamming is also causing companies to lose their image. Hence, most companies are restraining themselves from sending spam messages. There are spam filters available that can effectively block emails from a certain email account.Just like any other kind of advertising, email advertising also has to be attractive enough to grab the viewers’ attention. Ignoring an email advertisement is very easy for a user, as it just involves a single click of a button. The user can sift through several emails without even opening them. This is the reason email advertisers try to attract viewers with attractive subject lines. Most email advertisements use special offers, attractive discounts and other promotional gimmicks to attract viewers’ attention. Some advertisements are also designed to attract certain target groups like older people, women in a particular age group, or teenagers. Companies obtain this information from databases, which the viewer might have provided sometime in the past for any other reason.Companies most commonly use opt-in email advertisements. In such advertisements, the mails are sent only to those recipients who have given permission to receive such emails. Another kind of email advertising is sending informative newsletters that contain useful information about any topic that the viewer might have expressed interest in. These newsletters contain advertisements of various products, which the viewer can click and access if they are interesting enough. Other forms of email advertising include online surveys and questionnaires, free offers for a limited period, offers of “winning a prize” and so on.Email advertising messages have to be short and crisp enough to attract the viewer’s attention. The URL that links to the company or to the product has to be clear and visible to the reader, as most readers generally do not bother to read through the end of the message to find the URL. The language has to be upbeat and interesting, to hold the reader’s attention. Overly short messages are also not effective, as they are not taken seriously.There are email advertising software tools available that make email advertising much easier. These are many kinds, such as email address extraction, bulk mailer programs, newsgroup extractor, email verifier, list manager and others. Prices start at $30 and may go up to $80 or more depending on the options available. Free trial versions are also available. The Internet is a great source for these software tools and the companies that provide them.