A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients.
Mailing lists preceded web forums and can provide similar functionalities. When used in that fashion, mailing lists are sometimes known as discussion lists or discussion forums. Discussion lists provide some advantages over typical web forums, so they are still used in various projects, notably Git and Debian. The advantages over web forums include the ability to work offline, the ability to sign/encrypt posts via GPG, and the ability to use an e-mail client’s features, such as filters.
With all the buzz around Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — not to mention mobile marketing to smartphones — it’s tempting to think that online entrepreneurs don’t have to use email marketing. Some pundits even say email marketing has fallen by the wayside. But they’ve been saying that for more than a decade, now. The fact is, email marketing — which is basically direct mail brought into the internet era — should still be a major part of most online businesses, for the simple reason that it’s still very effective.
Yes, all those new social platforms and marketing channels are important. And they can be part of your marketing efforts — in fact, they should and can work together. But email marketing does something they can’t do, and it’s why it should be a major part of your business.
Once you have your leads on your list, you often send them an introductory series of emails to get to know you. And, because you want to strike while the iron is hot and they’re interested in your products, you can also include some offers for low-cost items.