E-mail has been around since marketers started using computers. We’re so used to it, we sometimes forget about it, and we don’t expect it to change. But that’s wrong. Some of the most successful marketers are rediscovering email and taking advantage of the special benefits it now offers.

On any particular day, a customer may or may not visit your website, your blog, or your Facebook page; but with few exceptions, customers check e-mail every day. The statistics are literally astounding. Currently in the world, 3.3 billion e-mail accounts are active. Of Americans age 12 and over who are active online, 94 percent cite email as a regular activity.

Among adult Americans, 58 percent check their e-mail first thing in the morning. And customers prefer e-mail; an impressive 77 percent of consumers prefer to receive marketing communications through e-mail. Email is the number one source of marketing information in every demographic group, including even the texting-and-TV-obsessed 15-24 age demographic.

Marketers aren’t abandoning email; they’re looking at ways to improve and tweak it as a marketing tool. Earlier this year, 64 percent of companies surveyed indicated that their investment in e-mail marketing would increase in 2013.

Constant Contact and MailChimp are two of the most popular e-mail platforms. They provide marketers with a wealth of analytics and statistics for improving your email campaigns and results. It is impossible to manage an e-mail marketing campaign through regular Outlook, Gmail, or web-based email programs.

You can’t even tell if your e-mails are being read! Both Constant Contact and MailChimp tell you exactly who opens your emails, what they respond to, and whether or not your emails are being clicked or forwarded. This data lets you fine-tune content and delivery so that your next emails are read by the maximum number of potential clients.

MailChimp and Constant Contact also offer attractive, customizable templates, and they both include sharing features for social media sites. With MailChimp or Constant Contact, your e-mails become like posts and tweets – seamless, sharable content that encourages your customers to promote your products for you.

Keep these three ideas in mind as you create your e-mails:

1. Reach the the right people. Target your audience by using an email solution that’s simple to customize and manage (like MailChimp or Constant Contact);
2. Say the right things. Don’t hesitate to hire a talented social marketing firm to write and design your e-mails;
3. Improve, improve, improve. Test to learn what works and throw out what doesn’t. As you explore and experiment with Constant Contact or MailChimp, you’ll find a variety of features to help you.