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  • Writer's pictureSarah Turnbull

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Email Marketing?

Blue envelope key on a keyboard to symbolise email marketing

Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to engage with their audience. It helps build relationships, drive conversions and increase loyalty. But, like any marketing strategy, it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages!

For those embarking on an email marketing journey, it's crucial to understand these pros and cons and carefully consider the key factors that can make or break email marketing efforts:

What are the Advantages of Email Marketing?

1. Cost-Effective:

One of the most significant advantages of email marketing is its cost-effectiveness. Compared to traditional marketing channels like print or TV ads, email marketing allows you to reach a large audience at a fraction of the cost.

Yes, there’s the cost of your time or the fees of a professional to create the copy/graphics, but this is money well spent. And how do I know? Because:

2. Return on Investment (‘ROI’):

ROI stats for email marketing are impressive. According to the Direct Marketing Association (‘DMA’), email marketing, done well, has an ROI of 42:1 in the UK. This means that for every £1 spent, businesses can expect to generate £42 from email marketing campaigns.

In 2023, according to a poll carried out by Royal Mail, 47% of UK customers advised they’d made a purchase as a direct result of receiving a marketing email.

3. Targeted Audience:

Since the implementation of the GDPR in the EU in 2018, businesses are now required to get subscribers to opt-in to receive emails. Previously, they could be automatically subscribed and they had to elect to opt out.

So, whilst marketers may have a smaller audience than previously, what they have now is a more receptive audience. These people have elected to receive comms. They’re ‘warm.’ So that's the first benefit. The second is that:

Email marketing provides the opportunity to segment the receptive audience based on various criteria such as demographics, behaviour and preferences. This allows you to tailor content and offer it to specific groups, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.

4. Email Marketing Personalisation:

Personalised emails resonate better with recipients. Email marketing platforms enable you to address subscribers by name, recommend products based on their past purchases and send relevant content which creates a more personalised experience.

According to a survey by Adestra, personalised emails had a higher open rate of 29.3% in the UK than non-personalised emails, which they found had an open rate of 23.9%.

5. Measurable Results:

Email marketing platforms provide valuable metrics such as open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates. These insights allow you to gauge the effectiveness of the campaigns and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement. This is incredibly valuable data that can be generated through the A/B testing process to see which versions of an email are most effective.

6. Automation and Scalability of Email Marketing Campaigns:

With automation tools, you can set up triggered emails, drip campaigns and other automated workflows. This saves time and ensures subscribers receive timely and relevant content throughout their customer journey.

While email marketing is an exceptionally useful tool, it can come hand-in-hand with some disadvantages, which senders must be aware of before embarking on a campaign. So, what are they?

What are the Disadvantages of Email Marketing?

1. Deliverability Challenges:

Email deliverability can be a painful! Some emails end up in spam folders or not delivered at all. Staying compliant with anti-spam regulations and maintaining a clean subscriber list are crucial to overcoming this challenge.

Free tools like MailGenius are available to check your emails before you send them. The tools give you a ‘spam score’ and provide pointers on what can be done to increase the chances of your email being delivered to your desired recipient.

2. Email Overwhelm and Unsubscribes:

Bombarding subscribers with frequent emails is an absolute no-no. According to a MarketingSherpa report, 59% of UK customers prefer to get one marketing email a week.

More than this can lead to fatigue and unsubscribes. Striking the right balance between staying in touch and not overwhelming your audience is vital.

"I know how I feel when my inbox is filled with email marketing. Delete, skip, skip, delete, unsubscribe!"

3. Creative Limitations:

Email designs can be constrained by compatibility issues across different email clients and devices. Ensuring that your emails are responsive and visually appealing on various platforms can be challenging!

Using a well-known and respected email marketing platform will certainly help. Senders should investigate platforms thoroughly and check out their reviews before embarking on a campaign.

4. Constant Algorithm Changes:

URGH! Email providers frequently update their algorithms, affecting how emails are sorted and displayed in users' inboxes. Keeping up with these changes can be demanding to maintain consistent deliverability. We have to deal with this daily with algorithm changes on social media. It happens on email too.

Key Considerations for a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

1. Build a Quality Subscriber List:

Focus on growing an engaged and relevant subscriber list through opt-in methods. Avoid buying or renting email lists - they'll can harm your deliverability and reputation.

You can increase opt-ins by offering a lead magnet – getting people to subscribe to your email list and receiving some valuable content in return. Obviously, you have to create the content first and it’s got to be something that’s of interest to your audience!

2. Content Relevance and Value:

Provide valuable content that aligns with your subscribers' interests and needs. Whether it's informative articles, exclusive offers or entertaining updates, relevant content drives engagement.

Don’t just create content for the sake of getting something out there. Content must inspire, educate or inform – otherwise, it’s not worth sending!

"Think about what your audience needs to hear, not necessarily what you want to tell them. There's often a BIG difference! "

3. Segmentation and Personalisation:

Use segmentation to send targeted messages to specific groups within your audience. Personalisation enhances the subscriber experience and improves open and click-through rates. Remember that higher open rate stat? 29.3% as opposed to 23.9%...

4. Responsive Design:

Ensure your emails are responsive and visually appealing across various devices and email clients. A user-friendly experience encourages interaction and conversions. Basic stuff this... but if your email doesn't look good, read well or load quickly, you've lost them...

5. Testing and Optimisation:

Test, test and test again!

Test different elements of your emails - subject lines; visuals; Calls to Action (‘CTAs’). Use A/B testing to identify what works best with your audience and gives you more opens and engagement then refine your emails and your strategy.

6. Compliance and Privacy:

Familiarise yourself with email marketing regulations, such as the GDPR and ensure that your practices adhere to these guidelines. Respect subscriber privacy and offer clear opt-out options.

In conclusion, email marketing remains a cornerstone of successful digital marketing strategies. It offers a whole host of advantages, while posing certain challenges.

By knowing about the pros and cons, you can take key things into consideration and create impactful campaigns that engage your audience and drive business growth.

Remember, deliver value – this drives engagement, showing you have a strong business focus on the needs and preferences of your subscribers!

Like to know more about email marketing? Read some of our other posts:

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Like to chat about email marketing? Get in touch!



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