In today’s marketing world, there are an overwhelming number of tools to connect with customers. But one tool, the email campaign, is like the Swiss army knife for marketers.

In the DMA &THEN session “Engaging Customers from Acquisition to Advocacy,” Brian Glover, senior product marketing manager for Marketo, will talk about the need for marketers to engage consumers from start to finish along their customer journey. Email is one of the most effective and flexible tools for engaging with people, no matter where they are in the customer journey.

Emails have been shown to be one of the most effective tools in communicating with customers. Emails have the highest conversion rates of 66 percent, which beats out all other forms of communications, according to the DMA. Direct mail comes close with a conversion rate of 65 percent, but direct mail campaigns can involve a lot of extra work and printing costs. Also, 65 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 71 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds make purchases influenced by emails.

Emails are the perfect communication for the fast-paced nature of the internet. Most marketing messages are easily dismissed and mostly filtered out or forgotten – Tweets are skipped on people’s feeds, and website banner ads are mostly ignored.

However, customers can engage with email on their own time. Even if they pass over your email the first time they see it, they could give it more attention while checking their emails later when they are bored.

The beauty of email is its opt-in nature. Since curious customers opt-in to getting your emails, they already have some relationship with you and are much more willing to learn more about the company or product. That willingness to engage with a company through email is the key to their effectiveness and a great place to start a relationship.

That positivity is why marketers should be trying to feed their list from as many different sources as possible. They should make newsletter sign ups easy to find on their websites and always connected to social media. Companies should also be regularly putting out tweets and posts encouraging people to sign up for their list.

There are so many great interactions that can happen through email that can’t take place on social media or direct mail. Companies should be building a relationship with customers by asking questions to learn more about what they like and what they would like to buy, enticing them with special offers tailored to them and wishing people happy birthday.

For more on engaging customers at all points of the consumer journey, check out DMA &THEN, a chance for the global marketing community to gather to learn, share and co-create the future of the marketing industry.

This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and explore the science of creativity in Los Angeles, October 16-18. Save over $500 when you register online.