A mailshot refers to a marketing technique wherein a large number of promotional materials or messages are distributed to a targeted audience through the postal system or email. It involves the dissemination of printed materials like brochures, letters, postcards, catalogs, or newsletters to a specific group of recipients to advertise or publicize products, services, or events.
In a traditional sense, a mailshot consists of physical mailings sent to individuals or businesses. The process begins with compiling a database of potential customers or existing clients. This list is then used to send out the mailings, which can be personalized for each recipient or standardized for a general audience. The purpose of a mailshot is to reach a considerable number of people simultaneously, creating brand awareness, generating leads, or encouraging sales. It can be utilized by businesses of all sizes, ranging from small local enterprises to global corporations.
With the rise of digital technology, the term mailshot has expanded to include email marketing campaigns. Similar to traditional mailshots, email mailshots involve mass distribution of marketing messages to a designated set of email addresses. The content can vary from simple text-based emails to more complex formats with images, links, or interactive features.
Mailshots are designed to capture the attention of potential customers, stimulate interest in a product or service, and prompt recipients to take desired actions, such as making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or visiting a website. The effectiveness of a mailshot campaign is often measured through response rates, conversion rates, and return on investment.
The term "mailshot" has a straightforward etymology. It combines the words "mail" and "shot" to form a compound noun.
"Mail" refers to the system of sending letters and packages through the postal service. It can be traced back to the Old French word "male", meaning "bag" or "wallet". This word later evolved into the Middle English term "male" and eventually became "mail" in modern English.
"Shot" in this context means a sudden or rapid action. It originated from the Old English word "sceotan", which means "to shoot" or "to project". Over time, "shot" took on a broader meaning to indicate an attempt or a chance.
Therefore, the etymology of "mailshot" is simply the combination of these two words, referring to the act of sending marketing material or promotional items to a large number of recipients through the postal service.