The Most Important Email Marketing Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits and disadvantages of email marketing

It may look like email marketing isn’t the sexiest way to promote your business anymore, like it had its run which often makes entrepreneurs hesitant about using it. Still, many brick-and-mortar businesses went digital because of the pandemic and needed to continue communicating with their customers. Emails are one hell of a way to do it. We analyzed what matters the most and gathered some thoughts on the pros and cons of email marketing.

Main Advantages of Email Marketing

First, let’s look at some of the main benefits that email marketing provides:

It’s Cost-Effective

According to the latest report by Litmus, email marketing has a Return on investment (ROI) of 3600% which means that you get $36 for every $1 you spend on your email marketing campaign. If you’re wondering whether it’s a good indicator, just keep in mind that Google estimates the ROI of their paid advertising as 200%, in other words, you get $2 for $1. And these are the estimates by Google. With paid advertising being much trickier than email marketing, in practice, the figures are usually lower.

Keep in mind that these cost evaluations are true only for the campaigns that are already in business, you might not see such results when you’re just starting out. However, it really depends on how good your segmentation and strategy are (more on the point a bit later in this article).

Still, even when not speaking about ROIs, you don’t even have to spend money on your first small campaign, email marketing platforms have options for novice email marketers. No pitfalls, all you really need is a list of email addresses. For example, with Unisender, you can send up to 1500 each month to 100 recipients for free.

It’s Quick and Easy to Create, Launch and Test

Email marketing is something you can try out without spending a ton of time and money which can be a life savior, especially if you’re a small business. No need to have any special education or skills. Email services provide the necessary help for newbies, you can do it all alone. Although you’re likely to expand later on as email marketing needs to be automated, tracked, and evaluated.

All popular email marketing platforms have sets of free templates grouped by business areas and categories such as special events and holidays. With templates, you can create a great responsive newsletter with a modern design in a matter of minutes. A few tweaks in the drag and drop block editor and you have a ready HTML template that you can use or customize further if you want to spice it up a notch.

A free email template by Unisender
One of the 100 free templates provided by Unisender

You can find examples of good emails and get a bit of inspiration to maximize the effect on websites like Really Good Emails.

Well-known companies rarely use complicated designs, rejecting them in favor of simple and elegant looks that clearly convey the message and present the content.

A newsletter example by Trello

This Trello newsletter looks clean and easy to understand.
Source: Really Good Emails

Moreover, with email marketing, you can see the first results of your campaign in the next day’s report, unlike SEO, for example, where you have to wait for months. It’s also easy to A/B test your campaign to see what works best in your case.

Email campaign analytics
An example of email analytics from one of Unisender’s own campaigns. Among other things, you can see how many emails were opened so far and how many clicks were made

It Can Be Personalized

A report shows that in most cases, personalization increases email open rates and click-through rates, sometimes up to 70%.

It’s more than just getting the names right though. The more useful and relevant information to a particular person your message provides, the less probable it is for them to get irritated by seeing yet another notification.

You can make your newsletters more personal by:

  • Giving compliments.
  • Working with recipients’ geolocation.
  • Taking into their devices and other technical stuff.
  • Acting on their past purchases and interactions with products and services.
A newsletter example by Spotify

It’s hard to ditch an email like this one that entices you with things you love.
Source: Really Good Emails

You do it based on another marketing technique — segmentation, i.e. dividing your customers into subgroups (segments) united by common characteristics. By analyzing them and understanding their joys and pains, you use this information to form personalized messages and maximize the message’s impact. Studies show that segmentation can increase email revenue up to 760%.

It Automates the Sales Cycle and Improves Client Service

No other digital channel has such opportunities for automation of the lead nurturing process as does email marketing. Email marketing is a great sales tool. You can set up and schedule email campaigns and automate the sales funnel by guiding a person through the purchase stages with the help of triggered emails. According to one of the recent studies, the click-through rate of triggered emails is 3 times higher compared to that of newsletters.

The best thing about a sales cycle via email marketing? You can convert your subscribers into customers without you actively taking part along the way! By preparing a sequence of automated follow-up emails in advance, you kill many birds at once:

  • Eliminate or greatly decrease the need for extra advertisement
  • Save a lot of time and do without an entire team of experts
  • Provide better customer service. The series of triggered emails about the ordered item’s condition can do wonders in terms of clients’ assurance in a company
  • Improve your customer retention rate. Launch a welcome email series or set a series of post-purchase notifications.
Netflix welcome email
The beauty of triggered emails from Netflix. Everything starts with a welcome email
Now on Netflix email
Then they send you ideas on what to watch…
The Most Important Email Marketing Benefits and Drawbacks 7
...and what to watch next. A neverending story that helps get viewers hooked on the company’s content.

It’s Easy to Track

Marketing is all about numbers and strategy. One more item on the list of pros and cons of email marketing is that it’s really easy to check whether what you do is mostly right or if you made a wrong turn at some point.

In email marketing, you can usually measure the following basic metrics:

  • Delivery rate
  • Open rate
  • Clickthrough rate
  • Unsubscribe rate.

Add to that some extra ones like complaint rate, and advanced options like data on subscribers’ devices, location, and opens and clicks over time.

You can integrate it with Google Analytics and get even more valuable information.

In Unisender, you can also use a click map that lets you see where your subscribers click the most and the campaign evaluation tool — the algorithm that estimates your campaigns’ performance — provides relevant recommendations on how to improve your stats to maximize your profit.

It Improves Brand Recognition

Adhering to branding guidelines can slow down the process of creating an email but it pays in the long run. One of the greatest benefits of email marketing is that you have total control over your brand presentation. On Facebook or Twitter, you are left at the mercy of third parties. With emails, you are free to design your looks down to the last detail to support your positioning and visual identity.

Seth Godin

the marketing expert

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.

Emails are something that people are used to seeing on a regular basis and don’t even notice how they get into communication with this or that company. By making them get repeated “flashes” of your business, you form impressions in people’s minds. For that, companies design emails (or adjust templates) using their brand colors, fonts, logos, tones-of-voice. The results? A survey suggests that consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by 33%.

Mom’s day newsletter by Apple

Apple has the most valuable brand in the world worth $260 billion, so they keep it consistent with trademark logo, fonts, pastel colors, and gradients.
Source: Really Good Emails

Potential Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Time to see what are the weaknesses of email marketing and how to deal with them.

Spam Filters and Bad Reputation

One of the goals of an email service provider like Gmail is to give its customers a good service that includes strict and effective regulations.

People have different opinions about what spam actually means even if they had previously given their permission to receive emails from you. Some consider any commercial email junk. Some do it if they think you’re mailing them too often. Others just don’t bother to opt out “the right way” by hitting the unsubscribe button. As a result, even if your email campaign is 100% legit, you can still have trouble reaching your clients and partners.

Plus, if you want to do things properly, you have to comply with privacy and data protection rules like General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) depending on where your recipients live. The violations carry steep penalties of fines with even less severe ones up to millions of dollars.

The solution: Follow the best practices and optimize the content of your emails so that they have a lesser chance of ending up dumped in the “wrong” Gmail folder:

  • Clean up your lists regularly
  • Make the “Unsubscribe” option clearly visible
  • Use email marketing platforms’ services like Unisender with anti-spam policies and tools that let you know what to change in your campaign to avoid even the sensitive filters.
Unisender’s Marketing checkup functionality
Unisender customers can take advantage of our Marketing checkup functionality that gives actionable advice on how to improve your campaigns

The Need to Have a Solid Mailing List

Needless to say, you can’t just start your campaign from the get-go as you do with social media ads, for instance. In the case of email marketing, you have to grow a list of customers first and it has to be official. Gone are the days when it was OK to buy a list. Actually, you can still do it but it would be illegal now. Plus, what is the point of becoming a spammer if you can do everything properly? It’s hard to see a good conversion rate if you’re sending to people who don’t want you. The current average conversion rate for “respectable” emails is about 15%, spam figures are going to be much, much lower.

The solution: Build a list of customers who are genuinely interested in your services and who are likely to be engaged.

There are several ways you can grow your list:

  • Signup forms on your website: pop-ups or embedded forms. You can usually see those in sidebars, footers, and blog pages
  • Social media: Facebook signup forms, giveaways, YouTube cards, Facebook Lead Ads and many more
  • Offering something valuable: lead magnets, discounts, loyalty programs, access to useful content
  • Alternative ways: challenges, quizzes, surveys, and many more.

Difficulty Getting Attention

Emails are the second popular digital marketing channel. With all the benefits of email marketing, you’ll have to be prepared to compete with other players in an attempt to get a bit of your clients’ attention. To maximize your subscribers’ engagement, you need to develop a strategy that outlines how your messages should look and feel.

The solution: Keep your messages relevant to your subscribers, whether partners or customers, with quality content and quality design.

Quality content means creating meaningful and compelling messages, making them personal, focused and concise, measuring their value based on segmentation and strategy. Just by using segmentation techniques alone, you can increase the revenue by 122.2% even sending to the same list.

Quality design is more than just beautiful looks. It means creating something that consumers will find more valuable than other products. Following modern trends would help you stand out too, with going against them sometimes even more so😄

Trending this year:

  • Simple and clean looks with pops of colors
  • Black and white
  • Illustrations and animations
  • Bold typography
  • Interactive techniques.
A newsletter example by MOO

Just do it!
Source: Really Good Emails

A newsletter example by The Nue Co.

The Nue Co. begs to differ. So clean that it’s perfect.
Source: Really Good Emails

Final Thoughts on Advantages and Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Like any marketing channel, email marketing has some specific strengths and weaknesses worth knowing before you start your first email campaign.

Its pros:

  • It’s comparatively inexpensive
  • It’s user-friendly
  • It offers great prospects for personalization
  • It can be performed automatically
  • It’s easy to keep track of the metrics
  • It’s good for branding.

And cons:

  • It could be considered spam
  • It can’t be launched straight away, you need a list first
  • It needs to look and feel right to grab the readers.

The point is, email marketing remains one of the crucial parts of the structure of competent digital marketing. Newsletters can be used in a wide variety of situations when advertising completely different goods and services. Hope this write-up about the pros and cons of email marketing will help you make an informed decision.

What's the best part of email marketing for you, and what do you struggle with most?

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