How did email marketing begin? Let us take a look at the history of email marketing and mass emailing.
In 1971, Ray Tomlinson, a computer engineer, developed a new system of sending messages between computers. According to the news at the time “Tomlinson’s system gained popularity by linking up users on Arpanet, the US Department of a defense system that became the basis for the internet.”

In 1972, Larry Roberts develops the first email management system that allows users to list, select, forward, and respond to messages. In 1976, Queen Elizabeth II sends an email message on Arpanet.

1989, Lotus Notes email software was released, and 35,000 copies are sold in year one. In 1996, “Microsoft releases Internet Mail and News 1.0, a feature of its third release of Internet Explorer. This is later renamed Outlook.” In that same year, other companies like Hotmail start offering free email services that can be used anywhere. Internet email was born.

Since then an email has been a part of our everyday lives. We use it for work, personal communication, and everything in between. But one of the best uses for email is for businesses. Many companies have incorporated email marketing into their company strategy, but some companies do not realize how important it is. Doing this correctly can be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and one that is a waste of time.

Mass emails can be very beneficial for companies. We may hate all of these emails from online stores we have shopped in or newsletters we accidentally signed up for, but people do open these emails. And this drives visitors to their site and revenue to their business.

Brief History of Email Marketing

A marketing manager, Gary Thuerk, was the first person to send a mass email for commercial purposes:

“In 1978, Thuerk sent an email promoting DEC machines to 400 users via Arpanet. What would have then been a complete novelty for recipients (receiving a sales/marketing message directly to their computer’s inbox) resulted in $13 million worth of sales for DEC machines.”

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From the very beginning, email proved to be a very successful and efficient way to market to specific future customers.

The invention of the Internet and email changed the way we live our lives. And email would change the way companies would market to their consumers and future customers. Business-to-client marketing was primarily done by snail mail or a telephone call. This was not the most efficient way to market to potential clients. Marketing agents were usually only reaching out to one person at a time, which was more expensive and time-consuming. Email marketing changed all of that, and businesses reaped the benefits of this.

Businesses were so efficient in sending out mass emails that laws had to be put in place to protect people’s privacy.

Email Privacy Laws

“In 1998 the Data Protection Act was updated to ensure all email marketing included an opt-out. In 2003 the Can-Spam Law was introduced in the US setting the first regulations for commercial emails. In the same year in Europe, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations were introduced defining rules for marketing permission.”

Email Privacy-law - EmailOversight

These laws still protect all of us today from being spammed without our consent:

“And in 2004 Sender Policy Framework (SPF) was introduced providing an email validation system to help prevent email spam by verifying a sender IP address.”

Without these laws, our inboxes would be filled with even more spam, and we would not be able to do anything about it. In 2018, there are more than 2.8 million email users worldwide.

And in 2017, almost 40% of emails were considered spam. These laws not only keep our personal email accounts from being overtly spammed, but it can also help businesses as well. The important emails that a person wants to see will show up instead of being lost with the rest of the unwanted messages.

Evolution of Email Marketing (or The Progression of Email Marketing)

There have been many advances in email marketing since its conception, but the future of this type of advertising looks to be even more promising.

Email marketing has never been more worthwhile. The use of it has grown incredibly from Gary Thuerk’s first mass email to marketing specialists now using personalized advertisements for each individual consumer. This will forever change the way specialists market towards consumers, but companies need to make sure they are taking advantage of the available tools to ensure their contact lists are working in their favor.

Email Marketing Tips

There are email tools that can help with many different aspects of email marketing. Data insights can help you get awareness into your contact list. This helps you understand the people you are reaching out to and can also help you decide what campaigns should be geared towards certain people.

email marketing tips

Data append is also a good tool to help understand those in your contact list. Knowing your contacts’ age, gender, ethnicity, location can help how you target them in your campaigns. Being aware of clients’ social media and activity is also very important.  The more you know about your clients or potential clients can help with your return on investment.

Understanding your contact list is very important, but managing your contact list can be equally as essential to your business. People often change their email addresses, which then lead to dead or invalid email addresses. Dead email addresses lead to returned emails, which leads to time wasted by the marketing departing sifting through the returned mail. Keeping your mailing list clean is crucial.


The invention of the Internet and email has changed the way we all communicate. Email marketing has changed the way companies reach out to potential clients. Having a good clean mailing list can be the difference between a successful business and one that is struggling. Certain tools can ensure your company’s mailing list is what it should be. Email Oversight can be your one-stop-shop for all your email list tools in real-time.

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