Email marketing has been a primary means used by internet businesses to encourage repeat sales. This has been through frequent editorial content sent to subscribers/customers email boxes with that occasional reminder or advertisement to buy from you.
For example, if you run an online hotel booking website, you could have a regular newsletter informing subscribers of the latest in the Kenyan hotel industry. The newsletter would entail news such as the hotels currently refurbishing, special offers available to them every month, sites and locations to visit etc. Such interesting information for your visitors keeps them thinking about you often. And when they are ready to do a booking, guess who they are most likely to give their business to?
This also works in getting that first sale. It is an already established fact online that rarely will a first time visitor buy from you. They need to be contacted on average seven times before they make that final decision to buy from you. Email for along time has been the trust worthy tool for this.
The statement "The money is in the List" literally alludes to how an in-house list of email subscribers can be profitable. Unfortunately due to spamming, email marketing is being rendered more and more ineffective as fewer and fewer emails make it past email filters.
A web visitor that chooses to subscribe to get informed from your website is a hot prospect. They are showing strong indications of being a customer. It is easier, much easier to sell such a visitor. Email has been used the same way offline companies use advertising that keep a brand top of the mind. Its growing ineffectiveness has been of great concern as your subscribers are never guaranteed to receive your email messages.
The relatively new Web 2.0 tool called RSS (Really Simple Subscription) is seen as the solution. Unlike email where the internet business has to "push" content by sending emails to the subscribers, RSS is a "pull" technology. RSS automatically notifies a subscriber every time there is an update on your website a process known as syndication. It sends the title of the page, a description and a link to that page. No need for email addresses, not even white-listing or spam filters to deal with. RSS guarantees to get your updates directly to you customers desktop.
Unlike emails, RSS is a strictly subscription service only. With emails, un-trustworthy businesses tend to sell your email address to spammers who in turn flood you with adverts. In contrast RSS is nearly purely editorial content or information that would interest a customer as it's what is on the website. Obviously your website is not full of adverts, at least we hope its not. Including RSS capabilities may just be the best thing in your site since auto-responders.