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Email marketing pros and cons

Email marketing is used heavily in many industries. If you aren’t familiar with this marketing strategy, it is the practice of sending out marketing materials to your target markets through email. Retail, technology and hospitality companies are just a sampling of the type of businesses that use email marketing frequently.

Whether your company already uses email marketing or you are trying to decide if it’s a good strategy for you, there are some pros and cons you should consider.

To email or not to email, that is the question. And given the overwhelming volume of emails in each of our inboxes daily, it’s a very good question.

For a small business, email remains one of the most valuable communication vehicles available— but only when email marketing strategies are designed and managed effectively.

Understanding the ‘good and bad’ of email marketing can help build a successful strategy. Let’s get started by weighing the pros and cons of email marketing.

If you’ve got a website, then you’ve likely been told that you need to do email marketing. Is that true? The answer might surprise you. Many websites do ZERO email marketing and are still able to find success. Others depend upon email marketing for their success. Which option is right for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of email marketing to find out.

Pros of Email Marketing

1. You get an instant snapshot of effectiveness.

Just about every email marketing platform today will offer you a set of analytics that will let you see what is engaging to your visitors or subscribers.

This allows you to track what works well and what doesn’t work at all. This information can then let you know whether or not you’re reaching your intended demographics.

2. It can direct repetitive traffic to your website.

Email marketing can direct your visitors back to your website time and time again when you have something valuable to offer them. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch either. Sometimes offering a free video, download, or some other product is all it takes to bring people back.

This allows your brand to stay at the top of the minds of your visitors so that they will look to you when you’ve got something they want or need.

3. It is a cost-effective way of engaging your audience.

Email marketing can be done on the cheap, especially if you’re writing your own emails. You can literally send out thousands of emails every month for only a couple hundred dollars with some platforms.

For many businesses, the amount of business they get from these emails is enough to pay for the cost of having them sent out and then some.

4. It helps to build relationships.

Emails can help your visitors see the personal side of your business. It’s a chance to be authentic with your core demographics and that’s the best way to start a new relationship with them.

When a customer or prospect feels like they know you, then they are more loyal to your brand and more likely to do business with you over the competition – even if your prices are higher.

5. Speaking of brands… email marketing helps you create one.

Far too often, we think of a “brand” as a visual logo that we see. A brand is much more than that. It’s also the message that people receive when they see that logo.

The design, colors, and organization of your branding as a visual footprint is important, but the informational footprint is equally important. Email marketing can help you to establish that informational footprint.

6. Every email can be customized.

You can write as much or as little as you want with an email marketing campaign. You can tailor your message to specific demographics if you wish. Every message can be targeted, which is not something that is available in other marketing areas.

7. It gives you a chance to prove your niche expertise.

Most consumers want to do business with the company that offers them the best value proposition. “Value” often translates to “price,” but that’s not the only way to offer value.

Being an expert at what you do so that people can save time and money is a way to offer value. Solving problems for people offers value. Offering free resources that no one else offers is a way to show value.

Niche expertise is more than just supply and demand, which email marketing can prove in many meaningful ways.

8. Emails are very easy to share.

If someone likes the information that you’ve offered with an email marketing campaign, all they need to do is hit the “forward” link. This allows them to send your message on to others who might enjoy what you’ve had to say – with you needing to do no additional work to get the extra exposure.

9. Email marketing can be produced in just minutes.

It’s one of the fastest ways that you can create an offer or a value proposition available right now. This allows you to respond to the competition, enhance a direct mail campaign… the options are virtually endless.

Cons of Email Marketing?

1. Many people won’t even bother to open your email.

On a good email, you might get a 1 in 5 open rate. That means 20% of the emails you send out will be opened. There are businesses who feel that an open rate of 10-15% is just fine. The fact is that people get email from everyone and everything these days. It’s everywhere.

If someone doesn’t feel that your email is a priority, then it’s going to get deleted. And, if it gets deleted enough, it will be sent to their junk folder automatically.

2. Spam filters kill a lot of email marketing opportunities.

Let’s say your email doesn’t automatically get deleted or filtered out of an inbox. There’s a good chance it will never reach the average user in the first place. Spam filters will take out a lot of emails before anyone ever sees them. This is why many email marketers encourage new subscribers to add the email to their safe list.

3. Email marketing requires consistent updating.

Emails only work if they are sent out on a regular basis. When the information is inconsistent, then this becomes a reflection of a company’s reputation. No one wants to do business with a company that is inconsistent.

Yet there must also be a careful balance in the amount of information that people are receiving. More than 2,000 brand messages are received every day by the average person – your email could be seen as just one more bit of informational white noise.

4. There is a lot of email marketing happening today.

Just about everyone has tried email marketing at least once. It’s not uncommon for someone to receive over 100 emails per day from various brands trying to sell something. In order for your efforts to stand out, you’ve got to be different in some way. That often means having an all-encompassing presence online, from YouTube to Facebook and everything in-between.

5. It’s just as easy to unsubscribe to an email marketing effort.

You got the information. You’ve sent out your first emails. Now your subscribers have an unsubscribe link they can click to stop receiving your emails. The instant your emails become annoying is the instant that link gets click. Emails must always deliver high quality content to be effective and that is ultimately why marketing efforts in this area typically fail.

6. Emails must have a responsive design.

About half of all internet traffic today comes from a mobile or hybrid device. The days of HTML emails on desktops or laptops is over. You really don’t know where someone might choose to read your email. It might on an iPhone, an iPad, a Samsung tablet… just about anything.

This means your emails must have a responsive design in order to look professional on every device and every browser.

7. You can do everything right and not get a response.

Emails need to have some level of action incorporated into the message for it to be a useful marketing medium. Being entertaining is important, as is being informative, but you’ve got to have that final punch in there.

Even when you, unfortunately, some people may still choose not to act. You can offer people step by step instructions and still receive messages because your email readers are confused as to what they need to do next.

8. Emails might seem personal, but they often lack a personal touch.

Email marketing will always be a form letter unless you’re willing to write a personal message to thousands of potential subscribers – and who has time for that? You can try to get around that using first name tags, city location tags, and other forms of general personalization, but people aren’t stupid.

They know you’ve written a form letter. If the content is valuable, however, this negative will often be overlooked.

9. Hurried emails can make a brand look unprofessional in a hurry.

Although it is possible to write an email in just minutes, there needs to be copyediting done on that email before it is sent out. Grammatical issues, spelling errors… these will make the email look unprofessional.

If inconsistency can make people hesitate to purchase something from you, then imagine what happens when a lack of professionalism is the impression that gets left behind.

The pros and cons of email marketing show that it can be an easy and cost-effective way to help increase the reach of a company’s brand. It can also become the first step taken on a journey toward disaster if the negatives aren’t properly managed.

With a little time, a little thought, and a prospect-first approach, it is possible to create a highly effective campaign despite the challenges that might be present.


There are countless benefits of email marketing. However, it all comes down to how you use your budget, tools and your mailing list to increase sales or to drive traffic to your website.

You can easily grow your business and set a reputable marketplace position for your brand but for that, you need to reach out to the audience from all across the globe. This is only possible if you concentrate to deliver useful content to the targeted audience.

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