- Email marketing is one of the most beneficial online marketing tactics for businesses of all kinds.
- The biggest benefit is the ability to communicate with all of your subscribers at once with a single click of a “send” button. While there are many benefits, there are also some drawbacks.
- Find out the pros and cons of email marketing to see if it's an online marketing tactic you want to try.
The biggest benefit of an email marketing strategy is the ability to communicate with all of your subscribers at once with a single click of a “send” button. This method of online marketing is not only cost effective, but it has a high ROI due to its low cost and the ability to convert your potential customers into additional revenue if done effectively.
Let's dive into the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing.
10 Benefits of Email Marketing
The top benefits of email marketing are:
- Immediate response
- A/B testing
One of the benefits of an electronic mail marketing strategy for small businesses is speed. The time it takes to create an e-mail newsletter is a lot shorter than creating campaigns for traditional media. You can take advantage of already made e-mail templates to streamline the process, or you can make your own templates to use going forward.
Sending out e-mail newsletters is very cost effective. Many startups and small businesses take advantage of free email marketing software such as MailChimp. There are tons of tools available, you just have to do some research to see which tool is most suitable for your business.
There is certainly a learning curve for creating an effective email marketing strategy for your business, but learning how to send and create a campaign is fairly straight forward.
One of the benefits of email marketing platforms is that you can start segmenting your customers and creating different customer lists. This allows you to send different messages to different customers, e.g. 'gift ideas for him' to your female customers and 'gift ideas for her' to your male customers.
The two biggest advantages of email marketing are that it’s scalable and mobile-effective—two advantages that many other marketing channels don’t offer. Through email, you can target an audience of any size, ranging from one to one million, and do so productively. As email marketing tools get smarter and more efficient, targeting via email will become more precise and effective. Plus, email gets you access to people through mobile notifications on mobile devices, giving you room to really catch their attention where it matters.
Disha Dinesh, Content & Digital Marketing Associate at DrumUp
5. Immediate response
Emails have traditionally received higher click through and conversion rates than other mediums. This allows marketers to receive a high ROI from their email marketing strategy for small businesses and their efforts.
Using email platforms makes the whole campaign very trackable, from how many emails were opened and each individual link click, through to who opened an email and who didn't. So, email marketing tracking is very easy and insightful.
Emails make it easy for people to forward content onto their friends in their contact list. This allows your message to spread virally, which means that one of the benefits for small businesses is great coverage opportunities.
The fact that the people on your database have opted in according to the spam act to receive your emails makes them more open to your business.
9. A/B testing
Just like many other online marketing methods, the speed to deployment and the flexibility of an email strategy for small businesses allows you to constantly test strategies and content with your customers. By splitting your database into two lists and sending each list a different message, you can study the open and click through rates to gauge which messages resonate with your customers more. This is also called split testing.
Small businesses can integrate email marketing strategy with other marketing activities by coordinating similar content with a slightly different call to action or benefit. A great way to do this is to feature an offer on your website, whereby subscribing to you, customers receive a product or service discount. You could also feature the offer via banner ads.
8 Disadvantages of Email Marketing
There are also a number of disadvantages of email marketing:
- Being branded as a spammer
- Burning out your list
- Breaking the law
- Alientating readers
- Delivery issues
- Design issues
- Keeping customers engaged
- Resource intensive
That being said, the disadvantages listed below can be avoided through learning and strategic planning. Let's look at each one in a little more detail.
1. Being branded as a spammer
Being branded as a spammer can occur if you send emails too often with content that doesn't add value to your audience. In addition, some people are too lazy to unsubscribe so they will continue throwing your emails into the trash and will avoid buying from your company passively. Make sure you always aim to get clear feedback and activity from your subscriber base to ensure this does't build up.
You’ll only experience the downside of email marketing if you are doing it wrong. Some major disadvantages include spam and undelivered emails, both of which can be dealt with easily. If you don’t want to end up in spam, choose a trustworthy email service provider, ensure that you don’t send unnecessary emails and create compelling content. If you don’t want to waste your budget on undelivered emails, verify all the email addresses in your database regularly, and remove the ones that are outdated and unresponsive.
Disha Dinesh, Content & Digital Marketing Associate at DrumUp
2. Burning out your list
People will regularly unsubscribe, but you can learn from this by keeping an eye on the percentage of unsubscribers and ask them to give you a reason before they finalise their subscription cancellation. This can give you valuable feedback that will help you improve your emails and reduce the unsubscribe rate.
3. Breaking the law
Be aware that due to spammers, there are very strict laws around the world and it is easy to break them. Know the regulations surrounding spam in the countries you are dealing with. Businesses in Australia should read the Spam Act to avoid unknowingly breaking the law with any of your activities.
4. Alienating readers
Don't try to sell to your customers all the time. This can get frustrating for your audience and push them to unsubscribe or disengage from your business. A lot of businesses found more success by sending helpful email content such as, "10 quick recipes for you to try at home" vs. "Buy our product XYZ now it's on special."
5. Delivery issues
People sometimes change their email address and spam filters are getting increasingly selective on what emails get let through to the inbox. This is one of the disadvantages of email marketing since emails may be undeliverable or may never make it to the eyes of your customer. To combat this, remember to ask your customers to update their contact details and also learn how spam filters work so that you don't violate any rules.
6. Design issues
Different screen sizes and other design factors can affect the way your email is displayed on a device. Be sure to test your emails on various resolutions to check that all content is visible.
7. Keeping customers engaged
I'm sure we've all experienced annoyance after receiving emails from a company or brand. This is usually because the content is no longer relevant to us. To make sure this doesn't happen to your database, send emails in an appropriate time space (not too often) and with relevant and interesting content. The better you segment your database, the better you will be at tailoring relevant messages to customers.
8. Resource intensive
In order to run successful email marketing campaigns, you will need to allocate time to learn new skills and to create content and plan your campaigns. This requires additional resources and shouldn't just be tacked on.
Are you using email marketing for your business? If yes, how effective is it for you?
Editor's Update 06/07/20:
Thanks for reading our article by Wendy Huang. We hope it has helped you better understand the pros and cons of email marketing, and whether it's a strategy you want to implement in your business. Members at SavvySME have some additional questions about email marketing, so we've helped respond to some of these FAQs below.