Is Email Marketing Tough? | Challenges and Solutions

With an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing is a key pillar of every digital marketing strategy. However, marketers are often confused and hesitant about the process. And since results are not immediate, professionals avoid getting involved as it’s ‘too tough!’

Though perceived as tough, email marketing can be efficient if properly managed. Some requirements that make it challenging include strategic planning, personalization, compelling content, use of email marketing platforms, A/B testing, and timing. But with the right strategy, it yields a high ROI.

Let’s dive deeper into email marketing toughness and best practices to overcome the challenges.

Problem #1: Crafting and Designing Email Is Time-Consuming

Yes, the production phase of email takes effort if you start without a plan in mind. The problem with many marketers is that they send email newsletters just for the sake of it – without thinking of the end goals.

Plus, there are so many moving parts in an email campaign that can overwhelm novice creators. From conception to development, each stage requires careful planning and attention to detail.

Failing to craft a compelling write-up and design can impact the sender’s reputation and deliverability.

It can also disinterest the recipients, who may unsubscribe from your newsletters and even mark them as ‘spam.’

Problem #1_ Crafting and Designing Email Is Time-Consuming

The Solution to Content and Design Challenges of Emails

The best way to overcome this challenge is to start with a solid strategy. The approach should align with your marketing goals and provide value to the readers.

If you have multiple team members on the project, start by assigning each a specific task to streamline the creation phase.

Set realistic deadlines for every member and take updates regularly so that everyone stays on track.

On the flip side, if you’re solo sailing, you can prioritize your workday and schedule. You will be getting pulled in literally from all directions, which can be overwhelming.

However, try to maintain focus and remain consistent. It is also a good idea to take advantage of time-blocking and dedicating defined time for specific personal and professional activities.

Here are some actionable insights to address the challenge and streamline email creation.

Create Templates

Starting from scratch every time can be hectic. Instead, create templates that align with the business objectives that you can customize for every delivery period.

These will also help maintain consistency in all your emails. 

Plan the Content

Rather than last-minute brainstorming of content ideas, create a calendar and outline the topics, themes, and objectives for each campaign.

This will allow you to allocate time for researching, writing, and designing ahead of the scheduled dates.

Plan the Content

Outsource Email Creation

If the creation process is too daunting for you, try outsourcing your email newsletters to freelancers or agencies specializing in email marketing services to reduce your workload.

Utilize Email Marketing Platforms

Email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact have drag-and-drop features that simplify email creation.

You can also automate the delivery of emails and track their progress through these services.

Problem #2: Low Open Rates

The average open email rate is 16.97% across all industries. Additionally, 15.8% of emails get caught by spam filters, often escaping the recipient’s attention.

The key here is to integrate personalization into your emails. To bring this home: can you invite a stranger to your house for dinner?

And even if they do visit, how will you know their food and entertainment preferences? What if you ordered a bucket of fried chicken, and they were vegetarians?

The same goes for your emails! An average internet user can receive anywhere from 50 to 100 emails daily.

However, most emails are irrelevant to the recipient’s interests and needs. So, they are often ignored or deleted.

Problem #2_ Low Open Rates

The Solution to Low Open Rates

The best way to resolve this issue and improve email open rates is to send newsletters to recipients who actually want to read your content and learn more about your business.

And at all costs, never buy an email list. It is a tempting shortcut, but sending emails without consent is illegal and condemned by the GDPR.

Instead, build your email list organically and use a strategic approach to attract the audience.

Segment the List

Start by segmenting your email subscribers so the right email reaches the right customer. For example, you should have different emails for returning customers (warm) and first-time subscribers (cold).

You can also specify the list according to the buying stage of your recipients – a one-time discount offer for a prospect and a referral reward for an established consumer.

For accurate segmentation, gather the necessary data from your subscribers during sign-up. You can also conduct surveys, quizzes, and social media polls to analyze the audience’s interest.

Track the metrics on your website and social media handles to determine the visitor’s browsing and buying journey.

A credible CRM tool can also come in handy, as it automates the segmentation with demographic details like age, location, gender, etc.

Personalize the List

We meet so many people in our daily lives. But not many remember us by our names. And when they do, we automatically feel respected and valued.

Apply the same strategy to your marketing campaigns by including each recipient’s name in the emails.

Courtesy of email marketing tools, you can automate personalization by inserting the recipient’s first name in the subject line or within the email body. Here’s a quick rundown of what this looks like:

  • Collect the first names of each subscriber in the opt-in form.
  • Include a personalized greeting for each receiver, such as ‘Hello (First Name)’ or ‘Dear (First Name).’
  • Add their name in the body of your emails. But don’t overdo it. Make sure it flows naturally within the content.
  • If you don’t have the name of your subscribers, you can use generic terms like “Valued Customer” or “Friend.”
Personalize the List

Include Compelling Subject Lines

The subject line of your email is your first chance to impress readers and stand out in their crowded inboxes.

Just like most readers judge a book by its cover, recipients decide to open your email based on the subject line.

To make sure your emails are not misleading and reach the intended audience:

  • Ensure the subject line is relevant to the content of your email.
  • Be transparent regarding the benefits of reading your email.
  • Ask a question to pique their curiosity.
  • Add words that evoke FOMO, urgency, or time-sensitive promotions.
  • Use relevant emojis to add visual interest to your subject lines.
  • Don’t over-promote your brand and services.
  • Keep the subject line to 35 characters at max.

Here are a few examples of super-effective email subject lines:

  • Your Favorite Products Are Back in Stock!
  • Share Your Feedback and Win!
  • 3 Simple Steps to Win Her Heart!
  • Hey (Name), This Is Your Last Chance!

Send Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails

Nearly 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts. However, they love reminders of their uncompleted purchases.

Reports suggest that prospective consumers open around 40% of the emails that remind them of their abandoned carts.

Ready to turn those abandoned carts into sales?

Most eCommerce platforms are equipped with features that alert you regarding cart abandonments. Ideally, send the reminder emails within 24 hours.

However, avoid too many follow-up emails, which can easily annoy the recipient.

Problem #3: Lack of Email Engagement

The end goal of every email campaign is to turn subscribers into paying customers. However, this is easier said than done.

The 2.6% click-through or engagement rate monitored by Mail Chimp is a testament to this.

Even if the recipients are opening your emails, there’s no guarantee they will read them and perform your desired actions. Ultimately, a lack of clicks impacts your overall revenue of the campaign.

Problem #3_ Lack of Email Engagement

The Solution to Increase Email Engagement

To minimize the challenge, you should adopt a holistic email marketing strategy.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a marketing campaign, it is helpful to combine multiple practices to ensure your emails are lucrative for your business.

Here are some tips to enhance the click-through rate of your email marketing campaign:

Keep a Simple Design

Emails are supposed to be simple. Most readers have a short attention span and prefer skimming through the content. So, your best bet is a simple, non-cluttered layout that is easy to navigate.

Instead of adding blocks of text and multiple images, stick to short, concise paragraphs complemented by 2-3 images. The standard recommendation for text-to-image ratio in email is 60/40.

Optimizing your emails for desktop and mobile devices is equally important. With the daily surge in smartphone users, it’s crucial to provide seamless email access on smartphones.

Include Images and Interactive Graphics

Yes, I warned you against overwhelming the readers with a bunch of illustrations. However, don’t avoid them altogether.

We are visual learners and understand messages more effectively with the help of images. When creating content for your email newsletter,

  • Add high-quality images that are relevant to your brand.
  • Use interactive visual elements like videos, GIFs, and surveys to retain the audience’s attention.
  • Share user-generated content to show social proof.
  • Include snapshots of your team, company culture, and office environment to humanize your brand. 

Highlight the CTA

The call-to-action (CTA) button is the sweet spot where your prospects’ engagement translates into tangible action. When done right, CTAs can navigate your readers down the desired path.

They usually grace the lower section of your emails, enticing readers with commands like ‘Claim Your Discount’ or ‘Check the Offers.’

Each CTA is a silent yet potent nudge toward a more engaged and profitable customer journey. Use the following tips to boost your CTAs for maximum results:

  • Use dynamic verbs like ‘boost’, ‘master’, ‘join’, ’empower’, and ‘grab’ to add vitality to your message.
  • Place at least one CTA above the fold so it immediately gets noticed.
  • Use contrasting colors for your CTA so they stand out in your newsletter.
  • Leave some white space around the CTA button.
  • Make sure the CTA is linked to the correct landing page.
  • Go for low-commitment CTAs that entice prospects to click.
Highlight the CTA

Additional Strategies to Boost Email Engagement

In addition to the above, there are more ways to optimize your email marketing and make it less of a Herculean task.

1. Timing it Perfectly

The send time of email has a significant impact on your overall results. If your email is sent in the middle of the night, it will likely get shifted down when newer ones come in the morning.

Similarly, work-related emails sent on a weekend often go unnoticed as most professionals avoid checking their inboxes during leisure time.

After carefully analyzing billions of emails, studies have concluded the following:

  • Emails sent on Wednesdays have the highest click-through rate.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays have the best email open rates.
  • Emails opened on Fridays see an increased conversion rate.
  • The highest engagement of marketing email occurs between 9 am to 12 pm.

The times can vary across different industries and geographical locations of your targeted audience.

For example, entertainment and leisure-related emails are more appreciated on Fridays – just before people leave for the weekend.

On the other hand, homemakers usually check their emails right after sending off their partners and children to work and school – early morning on weekdays.

2. A/B Test Each Element

There is no silver bullet. Just options and their consequences!”

The adage holds for marketing campaigns. There is no right or wrong strategy here. You just have to play around and find the elements that help you reach your goals and retain the audience’s attention.

The best way to find a process that works is by A/B testing each element. For example, the CTA, subject lines, main body content, and personalization method can be tested and compared to find the perfect fit.

Here’s how you can do this in 4 easy steps:

  • Randomly split the list of your subscribers and send out different formats of your emails.
  • Wait around 4-5 days to analyze the results.
  • Compare the metrics of both to understand what works and what doesn’t.
  • Repeat the process multiple times to find the ideal strategy.

Pro Tip: Since consumer behavior is constantly changing, what doesn’t work today may work tomorrow. Revisiting and reapplying your strategy after some time could be beneficial.

3. Clean your List

No one wants unwanted guests and emails!

Ensure you declutter your subscription list periodically to remove subscribers who have not interacted with your campaigns for a significant amount of time (6-12 months).

You can also try to re-engage with them via targeted emails that offer discounts, promotional offers, and exclusive content. The strategy to entice the audience can boost conversion rates by 150%.

But if they remain unresponsive, it is better to remove them from your list.

Moreover, ensure you follow an unsubscribe request immediately. Place a link at the end of each newsletter where the recipient can choose to unsubscribe from your emails.

Don’t make this area complicated, and simply honor their request. Failing to do so can badly damage your reputation.

Additional Strategies to Boost Email Engagement

Final Words

Indeed, email marketing is a hard nut to crack and can seem overwhelming with its vast pool of tactics and trends. As the digital landscape grows, new challenges will emerge in the marketing space.

But let’s remember: No mountain is too high to scale. The terrain of email marketing, albeit steep, can be navigated effectively to achieve lucrative results.

By taking one step at a time and following the right email marketing protocols, you can easily overcome hesitation and boost your business.

Use this guide as your GPS to avoid common email marketing hurdles and experience the difference in the results!

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to do BJJ and play with his pet bunny when not taking a plunge into the vast ocean of funnel design, email marketing, copywriting, conversions, and customer retention.

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