The Pros & Cons of Email Marketing

With an ROI of 42:1, email marketing is a no-brainer. But, like all channels, there are pros and cons to email marketing. This article will cover the advantages and disadvantages of email so that you can get all the benefits while minimizing the risks.

Pros: The Advantages of Email Marketing

Email marketing is an ASSET because it is:

  • Affordable
  • Simple
  • Segmentable
  • Engaging
  • Timely

Email Marketing is Affordable

Most email marketing platforms have a free platform. Even the ones that don’t are affordable compared to the investment of time or money required to run campaigns on other channels.

Email Marketing is Simple

Who hasn’t sent an email before? Everyone understands the basics, so the only thing you must learn is how to use the email marketing platform you choose. Most are intuitive and provide large template libraries to get you started.

Email Marketing is Segmentable

Email marketing allows for sophisticated audience segmentation, so you can send the right message to the right person at the right time. You can gather information on your subscribers through forms on your website or by using website visitor identification to collect the email addresses and other data of visitors who don’t convert.

Website visitor identification can provide data like:

  • automotive data
  • household income range
  • age range
  • education level
  • gender
  • homeowner status
  • length of residence range
  • net worth range
  • marital status
  • presence of children

You can use this information to segment your list into groups so that your subscribers only receive emails that are relevant to them. For example, your female subscribers are less likely to be interested in men’s clothing.

Email Marketing is Engaging

There are many features of email marketing that make it highly engaging. It’s a one-to-one message, rather than a one-to-many message like a Facebook Ad. And it’s one of the most personalizable marketing channels. Digital ad networks like Facebook limit the degree to which you can personalize an ad for privacy reasons, but you can personalize an email right down to the recipient’s name.

Personalization is an important component of customer engagement, and audience segmentation enables that. It also allows you to send more relevant emails, which also drives engagement.

Email Marketing is Timely

You can use marketing automation, behavioral targeting, and third-party data to send the right message at the right time. For example, you can use behavioral targeting to trigger an email based on what the person is looking at on your website. If they’re looking at product pages for children’s clothes, now is probably a good time to send them a promotional offer for that or an announcement about a new product line for children.

Cons: The Disadvantages of Email Marketing

There are a few things to be aware of before you go all-in on email marketing. Here are a few weaknesses to consider, along with tips on how to overcome them.

You Need an Audience

Your email marketing campaigns won’t be very effective if you don’t have anyone to email. Email acquisition is a critical part of email marketing. Here are a few tools to grow your list in a week:

  1. Lead generation ads. Many ad networks, including Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, offer lead generation ads. These ads allow people to submit their email addresses in exchange for a lead magnet without leaving their app or Google search.
  2. Popup forms. Everybody hates popup forms, but they’re highly effective. To make them more palatable to your website visitors, include a highly relevant offer. For example, use audience segmentation and marketing automation to trigger different incentives for signing up based on what pages the visitor viewed and any demographic information you have on them.
  3. Website visitor identification. If most of your traffic doesn’t convert, you can use website visitor identification to get the email addresses of up to 40 percent of your website visitors. (Try it with 100 free leads.)

You Have to Follow the Rules

Most countries have rules regarding commercial emails. Generally, you’ll be OK as long as:

  • Your emails aren’t misleading
  • You provide a simple way to opt-out
  • You honor opt-out requests

For more detailed information on staying compliant, check out these resources:

You Have to Stay Out of the Spam Folder

You won’t have much luck with email marketing if most of your emails go to the spam folder. But there are a few things you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  1. Make it easy to unsusubscribe. That helps in two ways. First, if recipients can easily unsubscribe, they’ll be less likely to flag your email as spam. Second, they’ll be less likely to remain on your list while not engaging with your emails. When your emails receive low engagement, this can be seen as a sign that your emails are spam.
  2. Don’t send emails to unengaged subscribers. Set up an automated workflow to remove people from your list if they haven’t engaged with any of your emails recently. That will increase your engagement rate.
  3. Validate your email list. When you send emails to invalid addresses (e.g., email addresses that don’t exist), it will hurt your sender reputation. So, use a tool to check your emails regularly.

For more detailed information on keeping your emails out of the spam folder, check out our guide to email engagement metrics.

Weighing the Pros & Cons of Email Marketing

As with any marketing channel, there are pros and cons to email marketing. But the disadvantages are easy to overcome, and the benefits are worth it. After all, who can afford to pass up an opportunity to make $42 for every dollar spent?

If you’re ready to get started, here are four helpful resources for further reading: