12 Disadvantages of Email Marketing and How to Avoid Them

12 Disadvantages of Email Marketing and How to Avoid Them. 

Email marketing is the way to go if a business is set to accomplish long-term performance.

The email marketing industry is huge and spread in hundreds of directions.

When I talk about email marketing I’m simply discussing the practice of developing a relationship between a business and a client.

As Jane Bay, Marketing Associate at Australian Assignment Geek Service defines it, “Email marketing is, simply put, one of the most preferred methods of communications that brands choose to create and nurture long-term, profitable relationships with their customers.

Many businesses choose to adopt email as their primary channel of communication because this method presents real benefits.

I’m going to list the most evident ones, and then I’ll continue with the “not-so-pink-side” of this widely adopted practice.


The Benefits of Email Marketing for Your Business


  • Scales your business operations.

By automating your emails and allowing them to “run on their own” under your command, you’ll be able to deal with much more clients and customers without you getting involved directly every time.

  • You can have a 1-to-1 interaction with your customers.

This is an aspect that allows your relationship to improve. If you create the proper segmentation strategies, you’ll be able to send automated and personalized messages to your list of subscribers.

  • It improves your brand awareness.

Every time you send an email that’s being opened, your brand awareness improves.

People don’t usually remember brands after just one interaction, so helping them remember the brand is the way to go.

  • Improved ROI.

If you implement an automated and well-strategized email marketing strategy, a big portion of your unique website visitors will be reachable again (through email.)

Therefore, you’ll be basically “filling the bucket”, so that no more potential customers may slip out of your sales funnel.

Obviously, there is no such thing as a perfect strategy – they all come with flaws.

When it comes to email marketing, you’ll see that there are plenty of disadvantages that slip into your path, yet I none of them are “deadly”.

This means that you can take steps to diminish the damage or completely remove it, depending on the circumstances of your issues.

Well, in today’s post, we’re going to help you discover 12 disadvantages of email marketing while also offering you insightful suggestion on how to diminish or remove their negative consequences.

Pay attention and make sure you follow through with the real action!


1. It’s a Lengthy Process

Email marketing takes time. In case you’ve never done it before and you’re starting from scratch, you must acknowledge and implement the basic practices (building a list) and trial-and-error your way to success through permanent tracking.

You’ll need to take advantage of the power of analytics and collect precise feedback that’ll tell you whether you’re doing it “right” or “wrong”.

You shouldn’t buy your subscribers – that’s a bad practice because of many obvious reasons such as not knowing who’s behind those emails, not knowing if they’re bots or real people, and not knowing their interests, needs, problems, and so on.

The best way to speed up things is to use paid advertising and drive the campaign’s traffic directly into your email marketing funnel.

This way, you’ll improve your list’s numbers and you’ll be able to figure out things more rapidly.

2. Law Regulations & Issues

In case you didn’t know, there are strict regulations concerning internet spamming all around the world. US, Europe, or Asia, it doesn’t matter.

Wikipedia offers a useful resource post that will help you discover the email regulations for each country.

What does this mean?

If your emails reach Switzerland, you should check the Switzerland regulations and ensure that you’re not breaking any rules.

If you do, there will be consequences, but each depends on the country who’s accusing you.

Well, here’s a better guide that will explain how to avoid or comply with the rules established by more countries.

If you don’t want any complications, though, you should opt for a certified and legal email autoresponders services such as MailChimp or Aweber.

3. The Risk to Get Labeled and Perceived as a Spammer

If you send emails to people who haven’t heard of you before (without their consent), you’ll risk getting labeled as a spammer.

The number one rule for successful email marketing is to ask for permission. If you don’t, more people will report your emails or place them in their Spam list.

What this means for you is that you lose your authority in front of the big email corporations such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and so on.

This will represent a trap for your business because even if you’re doing everything right, your emails will never reach your prospects.

You can also be labeled as a spammer if you send emails too frequently or if you send irrelevant information, even if people have given you the permission to send them emails regularly.

To avoid this risk, ensure that you try out more delivery strategies while analyzing the results properly.

Another good trick is to ask your subscribers directly by sending them a short survey.

4. Delivery Issues

There are many delivery issues that may intersect with your email marketing strategies.

People change emails, the spam filter becomes more and more strict, and certain formatting (discussed soon) will prevent you from delivering your valuable updates to your new and loyal customers.

Nobody can guarantee that you won’t encounter some issues along the way.

However, you can decrease those chances by not spamming your list, offering valuable and relevant content, and also by educating your audience about how email filter works.

Use your website or the first “Welcome email” to let your subscribers understand how to keep your emails out of the spam list.

Here’s a great explanation of the most common reasons why email delivery issues happen.

5. Formatting Issues are Harmful to Email Campaigns

It’s certain that not all of your images, videos, flash or other visual content that you might opt to include in your emails will be appropriately displayed to your subscribers.

When you create an email copy, you need to consider all the email platforms, all the devices, all the device resolutions, and so on.

Unless you work with a professional designer who’s experienced at creating email design, you should probably write more effective copy and offer links to the multimedia content.

For example, instead of embedding a video into an email, shorten it using Bit.ly or Goo.gl and post it as a link.

Even if you embed links in buttons, some of them won’t be displayed so you’ll lose quality traffic over such an easy-to-fix mistake.

6. Engagement Problems

If the list isn’t responsive, email marketing becomes a useless strategy that will soak your time and money.

The simplest and most effective way to track how many emails are getting opened and how many links are clicked is to leverage email marketing analytics tools.

Generally, every respectable email autoresponder will have analytics features included, so unless you’re journeying on your own, you should be able to constantly track your engagement.

Here are some of the reasons why your email subscribers became unresponsive:

  • You haven’t matched their communication preferences (the frequency of the emails, the time of the delivery, etc.)
  • You aren’t offering them something useful (poor content, boring promotions, etc)
  • They’ve changed their email address (they’re gone)
  • You didn’t hold your promises (promising something then failing to deliver)
  • They’re not reading your competitors’ emails

How can you fix the engagement problems?

It’s simple: implement fresh strategies and test again.

See what works, what doesn’t, keep the good and eliminate the bad.

7. Emails Might Trigger Off Some of Your Customers

Be very careful how you treat your audience.

Besides maintaining a professional tone, you should also pay attention not to create any conflict with controversial ideas.

Of course, you can be controversial every now and then, but displaying racist thinking, religious thinking, or political thinking throughout your emails might not be the best idea.

These details are extremely important.

Try your best to avoid any subject of controversy and keep delivering emails that maintain a professional tone.

8. Hard-to-Read Content

If you know how to write to be understood, this won’t really be a disadvantage.

However, many email marketers and website owners won’t even consider this aspect.

Remember: most people take a few seconds to decide whether your email is worth reading or not.

If it contains blocks of text, complicated language, or grammar issues, you can be certain that your subscribers will lose their patience.

When a subscriber decides to skip your article because of these reasons, he will probably keep avoiding your emails again and again until they’ll unsubscribe or add you to the spam list.

9. Huge Investments of Time, Money, and Energy

Email marketing is a strategy that requires plenty of resources.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, it takes time, practice, and hustle.

Besides that, you shouldn’t ignore the budget requirements, which, depending on your standards, can be affordable or expensive.

Lastly, the energy you’re spending on creating, analyzing, optimizing, and scaling your email marketing strategies and posts will be considerable.

How can you deal with that disadvantages of email marketing?

Well, for starters, you can begin enjoying your journey without obsessing over the result.

The more emails you send and the bigger your list gets the more money you’ll make in the end, so that should be a good motivation to keep pursuing.

10. Requires Knowledge and Skills

Many businesses do email marketing yet only a few do it effectively.

There’s a considerable difference between a “working” email marketing strategy and a failing one.

The more knowledge and skills you gather the more options, opportunities, and results you’ll receive.

Therefore, when you’re running out of ideas or you’re simply overwhelmed by the number of steps you have to take until you get it right, start consuming email marketing educational content.

Don’t copy what you see.

Study with a selective filter and try your best to find twists to the solutions that other people found.

Or, you can opt into your competitors’ lists and “steal” from their success.

11. File Size Issues

If you want to include files in your emails, you should always be careful to add only light files.

If you decide to add images to your post (more of them), the email will load hard meaning that it’ll take time.

Those seconds are crucial because people are likely to refresh and skip the page whenever a problem (that’s not on their end) occurs.

12. Huge Competition

The last thing that should be on your mind every now and then is your competition.


The competition level is always going to influence your subscribers’ engagement and your sales process.

No matter what niche you’re in, you’ll find competitors who will do their best to capture your email subscribers’ attention.

Guess what…

Just like when a website is more qualitative, and more visitors turn to it, it happens the same with the email subscriptions.

In case your current subscribers join your competitors’ email lists and they find it more useful, be certain that those subscribers will open your emails less frequently or will stop opening them at all.

Stay ahead of your competitors by analyzing their email newsletters and do your best to do better.

Create better products, offer more comprehensive solutions, and connect with your audience better.

Other than that, you can wish for a better luck but good luck will never sustain you in the long term.

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Email marketing is a controversial strategy.

Many entrepreneurs prefer it due to the immediate improvement benefits.

Other entrepreneurs reject it because they either don’t need it or because they haven’t given themselves the chance to witness its results.

Either way, every business is free to choose.

If you do go for email marketing though, you should pay attention to the presented disadvantages of email marketing and do your best to avoid them.

One last thing: don’t forget that consistent practice will bring you steady results, so when you’re into big “troubles”, keep moving forward!


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