Email marketing used to be the main channel of digital communication. Now, however, it's just one of many options out there. But savvy marketers are still determined to pack as much punch as possible into an email acknowledging that 42% of online consumers claiming that email is the best way to receive sales and special offer ads.

One leading car manufacture, which uses a specialist email company to target potential clients, claims that by employing the correct insight, email marketing is still an extremely effective way of engaging prospective customers and plays a very specific role which could not be achieved via other digital channels. By making use of drop-down boxes within the interface for the brand's website, for example, they are able to compare the actions of different customer segments.

They also generate daily reports that identify the visitors who are most interested in purchasing a car. Scores are determined by the relative value of a customer's online activities, such as the number of times the person visited the site in the past month; the product demos viewed; the model, engine size; or even the colour of the cars researched on the site. Visitors with the highest scores can then be targeted with tailored emails. The manufacturer's thinking also reflects the attitude of the vast majority of UK brands.

However, due to the increase of spam and inbox clutter, it is vital to have a strategy for sending targeted, relevant communications. If email presents the possibility of fostering a one-to-one relationship with a consumer, marketers should be ensuring that their innovation is keeping email relevant in the truest sense. Formulating a professional email strategy allows organisations to produce emails carrying content that can be different for different subscribers, based on the preferences given during the registering process and onsite behaviour. It also triggers emails based on important calendar dates and customer actions.

UK marketers sent over 1.7 billion emails in the first half of 2010, and email marketing volumes increased from 64 million in January 2010 to around 75 million in June 2010. And if you use Microsoft Office Word, you can be sure to benefit from this upturn in email's popularity. Word has a host of professional tools to help you grow and maintain your email database contacts. And when you are ready to send out your e-newsletter, you can create or download a template.

Word offers a free Email Newsletter template, which is available on the Microsoft Office Online Templates web site. On the web site, you will also find email newsletter templates with various decorative themes. By downloading the template, it will open in Word. You'll notice the email newsletter template uses a table to hold the copy and graphics. This prevents format changes from occurring when it is opened in different email programs. You can easily add or delete rows and columns from the table to accommodate your needs.

It's easy to customise the template to how you want your e-newsletter to look: add your company logo, change the colours to reflect your brand, and incorporate your business address, contact numbers, and web address. In other words, develop a customised template that you can use for each issue. It's a good idea to use the Web layout view when creating your newsletter (on the View menu, click Web Layout). This is the look your customers will see when they receive your email. Links and hyperlinks are easy to add and will ensure your customers are directed straight to your website form the inbox.