10 Important Pros and Cons Of Email Marketing

Nedim Talović

by Nedim Talović on 3rd March, 2017

Email marketing has its pros and cons just like everything in the life.

People talk about pros of email marketing, and they usually ignore cons. Fortunately, there are more pros than cons.

For example, most digital marketing specialists talk about ROI as the most important pro of email marketing.

Email Marketing ROI

I couldn’t agree more.

Email marketing ROI is awesome, but in this blog post, I want to explain 5 other pros and 5 cons.

For example, did you know that 1.4% Americans never check their email inbox? This is horrible fact and simply said, you need to focus on other marketing channels as well.

Now, let’s analyze email marketing pros and cons.

#1 Measurability

Probably the most important pro, and not only email marketing.

If there would be no measurability, how else would you know which subscribers click the most on your newsletter?

You wouldn’t.

How many people will open your email depends on a lot of factors:

  • Subject line length
  • Magnet words
  • Authority of sender
  • Segments
  • Number of campaigns

Sending too many campaigns per month may have an impact on email open rates both for B2B and B2C.

B2B vs B2C Email Open Rate

Sending between 6 and 15 monthly email campaigns show lead to the highest open rate in B2C, but for B2B it should be between 16 and 30.

Personally, I think sending more than 2 emails per week is too much, but you should test since email marketing is very measurable.

According to Millward Brown, the email channel has the highest ability to measure Return on Investment (ROI).

Ability to track

The data comes from a survey of more than 300 senior executives across advertisers, agencies, and media companies.

After email, search and online ads are next marketing channels with highest ability to track. Oppositely, webinars and event conferences are worst marketing channels for measuring.

#2 Personalization

The fact that you can send 100,000 (e.g.) personalized emails is unquestionably promising.

Sending personalized emails will surely increase the amount of money you got in your bank account.

Personalized emails mostly affect click rates of consumer products and services.

Personalized subject lines provided a lift in open rates

In order to send personalized emails, you have to collect as much as possible information about your customers.

Another research claims that personalized emails are 26% more likely to be opened.

Personalization Increases Open Rate By 26%

However, if you don’t know the name of subscriber you’ll need to write “Hello there!” (e.g.) which isn’t so good.

Sending personalized emails will deliver 6x transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them, says Marketing Land.

Also, personalized emails have 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings.

I don’t know for you, but I always try to send personalized emails as much as possible.

Sending personalized emails is also possible with machine learning.

Big data

Here’s the ML definition published on sas.com:

“Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. Using algorithms that iteratively learn from data, machine learning allows computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed where to look.”

What do I mean when I say that you should send personalized emails by using machine learning?
Well, you can predict customers that might buy, or predict related products to the specific customer, for example.
This is GREAT for online stores to increase the CLV.

#3 Segmentation

Do you know which customers spent more than average, but haven’t bought anything for a while?

When you segment customers you can approach specific groups better. However, you need to get as much as possible information about customers:

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Birthday date
  • Total orders
  • Average value per order

and so on.

Furthermore, segmenting emails will also increase open rates you see, but not only that. It makes your emails more relevant and lowers unsubscribe rates.

Email List Segmentation Results

Keep in mind that you need to be very when collecting information about your customer because every additional field decreases subscribe rates.

According to VWO, Norway’s leading online beauty shop increased customer registration by 10.84%.

A/B Test

They did it by removing 3 form fields.

There are many techniques for segmentation that you can leverage. For example, you can segment subscribers by:

  • Interests
  • Demographics
  • Recent open or link click activity
  • Purchase history
  • Subscription date
  • Others/none

Techniques for segmentation

It appears that email marketers mostly like interest based, and demographics techniques. As for me, it seems obvious, but I’d add purchase history.

For example, why not segment those customers who haven’t bought anything for a while, and approach them separately?

#4 Low Costs

Email marketing apps are very cheap and here’s how they charge:

  • By the number of subscribers
  • By the number of sent emails
  • Mix between the number of subscribers and the number of sent emails

Which model will you choose doesn’t matter a lot if we guess you won’t sent more than 2 emails a week.

If I assume you got 15,000 subscribers, who really cares if you’re able to send the unlimited number of newsletters?

Nobody. If you send too many emails, subscribers will mark it as spam.

15,000 subscribers x 4.34 weeks (one month) = 65,100 newsletters

65,100 newsletters x 2 newsletters per subscriber = 130,200 newsletters

So, if you have 15,000 subscribers it’s probably that you won’t send more than 123,000 newsletters a month.

SparkPost Pricing

SparkPost, lets you send 100k emails for free which is amazing. If you need more, for example, 150,000 it will cost you only $28 a month.

As you could see, email marketing is so cheap, and actually, you’re fine as long as it brings more money than it costs you.

If you avoid buying a list, that will be the case with you because email marketing has a high ROI.

#5 Deliverability Issues

Having deliverability issues is a sweet problem.

If you have deliverability issues it actually means that your traffic has grown enough, so you need to make sure your emails go directly in the inbox.

Surely it’s not the same when you send 1,000 emails a week, and 100,000 emails a week.

If you’re sending more than 50,000 emails a month, you should consider buying a dedicated IP address which lets keep your authority safe.

Here’s the formula for calculating a delivery rate.

Delivery rate formula

Most email providers do this for you automatically, but if we assume that you send 10,000 emails and 9,500 goes in the inbox, will know that your delivery rate is 95%.

You can read the article I published for those who don’t know how to improve email deliverability. For example, cleaning the list and creating a subdomain may increase the rate.

Also, you should pay attention to Spamhaus, a non-profit organization that worries about blacklists.

Blacklisted IP Address

It’s well-known that most ISPs watch this blacklist, so getting you on the list mean you’re in the problems.

#6 It takes time

This is the biggest issue with email marketing. You can’t expect to build your list over the night.

Blogging is the best way of generating new leads.

In fact, companies that blog generate 88% more leads, but the trick is that it takes time to grow the traffic.

B2B companies that blog generate more leads

Once that happens, you’ll be able to collect lots of new subscribers through magnet leads.

My experiences say that you can capture the most subscribers by using content upgrades.

Lead rate conversions

But not only that, there are so many other ways of generating new leads and here are some of them:

  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Testimonials
  • Facebook Ads
  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Quizzes

I think quizzes are great both for B2C and B2B. The idea is pretty simple. You have to create a quiz using apps like LeadQuizzes and Qzzr.

After that, you need to drive traffic to the site, but the trick is that you won’t let users see the results unless they provide an email address.

Quiz Results

If you would like to learn more about getting new subscribers or leads, I suggest you checking this article.

#7 Mobile Issues

According to emailmonday, most emails are opened on mobile devices.

Precisely, 54% emails are opened on mobile, 27% on webmail, and 19% on desktop.

Most emails are opened on mobile devices

This information tells you that worrying about design issues is necessary because it’s less likely people will be interested in your newsletters if they are not responsive.

Next, some email clients don’t support media queries and it means that you can’t create responsive newsletters for those people.

Here’s the list of email clients that don’t support responsivity:

  • Outlook.com (Webmail)
  • Office 365 (Webmail)
  • Lotus Notes (Desktop)
  • Outlook 2000-2016 (Desktop)
  • BOL (Webmail)
  • Libero (Webmail)
  • Mail.ru (Webmail)
  • Naver (Webmail)
  • T-Online.de (Webmail)
  • Telstra (Webmail)
  • Terra (Webmail)
  • Yandex.ru (Webmail)

Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about this.

Next, mobile device users are limited. Subject lines will be truncated depending on the mobile device mobile users got.

Check the first email (Primary tab) from DigitalOcean.

It says: There’s an outs…

Emails on iPhone 6S

If users read this on iPhone 6S Plus, then they would probably read There’s an outstanding… or even There’s an outstanding balance.

#8 Some People Don’t Check The Inbox

There will always be a group of people who think the emails are past.

Personally, I check the email every day (Primary tab), but still, I know lots of people who don’t check their inbox at all.

10k unreaded emails

The truth is that they sometimes download an eBook (in exchange for an email), but they never check the inbox folder.

In other words, a lead you count and celebrate isn’t worth a cent. Yes, that happens often, and for that reason, the quality of email subscribers matter a lot.

According to Business Insider, 1.6% Americans NEVER check their email.

How often Americans check their emails

If we know that the U.S. has the population around 320M and about 80% of them use email, we can say that about 256M Americans have an email account.

In other words, about 4.09M Americans never check its inbox.

What does it mean?

It means that you have to use other marketing channels too because you can’t maximize the reach if you invest only in email marketing.

Simply said, consider SEO, Facebook Ads, and Google AdWords for getting the best results.

#9 Almost Every Company Does Email Marketing

How many times have you seen something like the following photo.

Promotion Tab

There are so many promotional emails today.

As for me, I received a total of 10 emails TODAY, and guess what?

I simply don’t have enough time to read all the emails that are in Promotions tab, and I even don’t care about many of them. I’m just too lazy to unsubscribe from many of them, but that’s only me and many people read all the messages.

The problem with email marketing - everyone does it.

In SEO, you can always find a niche and keywords who are low competitive with a solid search volume.

In email marketing world, you can’t expect that. You have to accept that subscriber’s inbox will always be full of competitors.

This isn’t unexpected because 77% of people want to get promotional messages via email.

Preferred channel for promotional messages

Only 4% want to get promotional messages via Facebook which is surprising for me. I didn’t expect that, but also, I didn’t expect that for Twitter, too.

So, people still want emails and companies understand it, so they are all focused on email marketing a lot.

#10 Skills

If you would like to advertise on Facebook, you could do it within a few minutes.

It’s not so hard because Facebook made it so easy. In fact, you don’t need to open Ads Manager, you can only click on Boost Post and that’s it.

But, if you would like to promote your products via email marketing, that wouldn’t happen in a few minutes.

Ok, I know that I’ve been writing that email marketing takes time, but this isn’t about time - it’s about skills.

If you wish to do email marketing you need to:

  • Grow your list
  • Design a newsletter
  • Buy an appropriate app

and all this requires SKILLS.

Growing the list means you need to drive the traffic to your site which isn’t easy.

Next, designing a newsletter means you need to worry about terms such as CTA, responsivity, UX, and so on.

Finally, there are so many email marketing apps, so you need to carefully look and check which works the best for you.


Everything has pros and cons, not only email marketing.

Luckily, there are more pros than cons.

For example, sending personalized emails is unquestionably cool. Imagine the impact of recommending personalized products to your online store customers.

Also, don’t forget that email marketing is amazing for building high brand authority.

Anyway, keep in mind that a mix between different marketing channels is necessary for top reach.

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