Email Marketing Challenges

Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies with impressive automation opportunities. A direct digital marketing channel to reach potential and existing clients by providing them with a solution to their problems can yield impressive results and a high marketing ROI.

Hundreds of different email marketing strategies exist to help businesses across all industries push new customers down the sales funnel. However, to create a successful email marketing campaign, it’s imperative to overcome a variety of issues.

Let’s take a closer look at top email marketing challenges and how to overcome them.

1. Low Deliverability Rate

Deliverability rate is the rate at which an email is successfully delivered to an email address. It’s calculated by dividing the number of delivered emails by the number of sent emails. The  email deliverability rate can suffer for several reasons including:

Bad Email List Hygiene

A poor email list is a list that contains invalid emails, spam traps, outdated addresses, and the like. To check if your email list is in top shape, you need to figure out if each address is valid. Doing this manually could take a long while.

To check the list fast, you can use email verifier tools. An email validator checks the list quality and alerts you if there are any invalid addresses. By removing them from your list, you can increase the deliverability rate.


If you’ve sent too many emails with spam traps as addresses, your IP or domain could get blacklisted. Email service providers monitor spam traps, determine which IP or domain sends them, and block them.

Removing your address from a blacklist can be complicated. It’s much easier to avoid this problem by ensuring high email list quality.

Bad Sender’s Reputation

A sender’s reputation is the reputation of your IP address. The email service provider checks it to see if you are a spammer or a valid sender. The basis of the reputation is email list quality, open rates of previous emails, and content quality.

If the reputation is poor, the message ends up in the spam folder, and deliverability suffers.

To improve your reputation, you can ensure high-quality content, check email list quality, authenticate your domain, and provide subscribers an unsubscribe option within the email.

2. Low Open Rate

An open rate is a percentage of sent email messages that recipients open. If you send 100 emails and 20 are opened, you have a 20% open rate. No matter how hard you work on the quality of your messages, they don’t have an effect unless the recipient opens them.

Today, people get over 100 emails a day. Many of these emails go to trash and spam as soon as the recipient sees them. One of the first challenges all email marketers face is making sure the message is open.

To improve your open rate, you can:

  • Work on the subject lines – this is the first thing a recipient sees when they get an email. Catchy, witty, and personalized subject lines are likely to help a recipient open the message. Anything that’s overly promotional or boring ends up in spam or trash.
  • Update your email list – if you have a poor email list that contains invalid or outdated addresses, your open rate will be low. Run your list through email validation tools to remove incorrect addresses.
  • Segment your email list – if you are sending the same messages to your entire audience, some people may not be interested in all your offers. Segment the email list so you can send relevant information to specific customer or client groups.
  • Don’t become a target for spam filters – to make sure the email service provider doesn’t identify your messages as spam, your messages need to comply with CAN-SPAM act. Only send messages through verified domains. Ask subscribers to opt in and then add your address to their address books. Add a simple way to opt-out of your messages.
  • Choose the right time – the time you send your emails could affect the open rate. If you send a message during a recipient’s busy time, they may send it directly to the trash. Find out what the optimal time for sending messages to your audience is.

Email personalization is one of the simplest ways to improve your open rate. A recipient is more likely to read your message if you address them by name or talk about their pain points. Make sure to study your audience and create buyer personas for each segment.

3. High Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribe rate is the rate at which your subscribers opt out of your emails. This can happen for several reasons, most of which have to do with the recipient not being interested in your content and offers. To reduce your unsubscribe rate, you can:

Implement Double Opt-In

Double opt-in means that when a user subscribes to your email messages on a website, they have to confirm the subscription via email. This opt in process allows people to avoid subscribing if they change their minds or click the subscribe button accidentally.

Segment Your Email List

If you are sending messages that are important to just one part of the audience, the rest of your subscribers feel annoyed and overwhelmed. Eventually, they begin to unsubscribe. Segment your targeted audience to make sure all of the subscribers receive relevant messages.

Keep Your Content Fresh

Valuable content is the key to any marketing effort. If your emails are dull and don’t contain any interesting offers, people are likely to unsubscribe quickly. Make sure the content is always fresh, valuable, and relevant to your audience’s pain points and interests.

Add Email Personalization

When a person sees that you are writing emails directly to them, they are less likely to unsubscribe. If you study your audience well and use this knowledge to create content and offers, your customers or clients are likely to stick with your messages and newsletters.

Simple ways to personalize messages include:

  • Send customers special offers according to their location
  • Use a customer’s name in the subject line
  • Talk about the weather in the customer’s region

If you are selling products, use analytics to come up with special offers based on the customer’s past purchase history and behavior.

Don’t Send Too Many Emails

An average person gets an overwhelming number of emails a day. Eventually, they end up reading business messages and ignoring anything promotional. If you keep showering your audience with daily messages, they are likely to unsubscribe.

Sending a personalized email once a week or twice a month can be sufficient to reach out to your audience. This doesn’t include special occasion emails, such as seasonal discounts or birthday cards.

4. Significant Investment

Email marketing campaigns often require a significant investment. From message design to content creation, many companies are worried about the true cost of the campaign. In reality, the time, money, and effort you spend on email marketing are negligent compared to the results.

With the right tactics, your email marketing campaign can achieve an impressive 4500% ROI. This direct communication channel can yield excellent results without breaking the bank. The content you create for your emails can be recycled for social media posts, blogs, and more.

Meanwhile, the data you gather when analyzing your campaign could be highly useful for the rest of your marketing efforts.

5. Low Engagement Rates

Your emails arrive at the right mailboxes, and recipients open them. Delivery and open rates are high. However, the conversion rate is still low. This could happen if you have low engagement rates.

The reason why recipients fail to engage with your emails can vary:

  • Your content is irrelevant
  • Your CTA is unclear
  • Buttons are hard to find

To improve the engagement rate, you need to make it easy for readers to take action. For that, you could try implementing interactive emails, adding active links, providing easy-to-fill-out forms, and much more.

It’s up to you to make it simple for the recipient to engage with your email. They shouldn’t be searching for a button to press or a link to click.

6. Low Retention Rates

Your email marketing team could be doing an excellent job converting leads. However, it’s easy to forget about repeat customers. If your entire campaign is aimed at new buyers, existing customers may start unsubscribing.

According to the Pareto principle, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your existing customers. That’s why it’s important to aim a part of your campaign at retaining subscribers.  To do that:

  • Send out quizzes and surveys to learn what existing customers want.
  • Act upon their feedback
  • Create offers specifically for existing clients
  • Send personalized messages

If the customer doesn’t respond to your efforts for a while, send them a message asking whether they want to unsubscribe. An inactive customer is hurting your delivery and open rates without providing any benefits for your business. Eventually, you may want to remove their address from your list.

The Takeaway

Email marketing campaigns can yield excellent results. However, some marketers face a variety of email marketing challenges. To address these challenges, it’s important to review your content quality, clean your email list, implement personalized messages, and listen to your audience.

By keeping your audience’s needs in mind, it’s possible to overcome challenges and achieve an impressive email marketing ROI.

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