It is often claimed that email marketing is a fantastic marketing medium that should be used by all. At Email Blaster UK, we would support this suggestion – after all, we are an email marketing company. Rather than taking a completely biased supporting viewpoint, we instead suggest that as with all marketing mediums – this method can have its flaws.

In this article, we will discuss the advantages of email marketing from our viewpoint. We will also cover some of the disadvantages of this medium and where possible aiming to discuss possible solutions.

Email marketing, its advantages

Track your ROI
If your company is allocating a certain percentage of its marketing budget to email marketing, it will be crucial that you are able to actively monitor the return on investment (ROI).

When using traditional mediums, tracking the ROI is not always that easy. If for example you place an advert in the newspaper pointing visitors to your website or a phone number, there is no accurate way to monitor success. As a solution to this problem, some retailers on their online order form will often ask – ‘how did you hear about us?’. It could be suggested that asking this question will provide an accurate way of tracking your ROI.

With our own public website we have found this method very inaccurate –  on our online order system we ask this question. Even though we ask this question, it is often found that users will either ignore this field or select any value from a drop down menu that may not actually be the real source (this was found via monitoring traffic stats on our website).

This is where it is suggest that email marketing provides an easy way to track your ROI. Nearly all good email marketing platforms will include the ability to automatically track your campaign data. Inside Email Blaster, the software will record open rates and more importantly who visited your website after opening the email. Using this data your business will be able to easily track how much each click to your website is costing you.

Target audience

If your business is building a new marketing campaign and researching the different mediums on offer, you will want to pick a marketing medium that is going to reach the most people. If for example your business places a printed advert in a local community newsletter – this newsletter may only be read by 1000 people and may cost your business several hundred pounds.

Deciding to opt for email as your marketing medium gives your business easy scope to be noticed by a wider target audience.

According to ‘internet world stats’ the estimated internet usage population globally is 6,845,609,960. ‘Pew Internet’ also report that over half of internet users check their email on a daily basis. Using this information we can quite accurately suggest that email marketing offers great scope.

Email marketing is a growing

Some skeptics of email marketing may argue that with the rise of spammers outside europe, email marketing a no longer such a valid medium. We would argue the exact opposite – anti spam filters today are much more efficient at filtering out spam from legitimate emails than they were 10 years ago. Spammers are finding it harder and harder to reach inboxes while if you are an ethical email marketeer, you should find the opposite.

In addition, it is reported that the email marketing industry in the UK alone is valued at £292 million. Another source reports that in 2009 the email marketing industry grew by 15% and is continuing to expand today.

The above evidence suggests that this industry is on the rise, businesses are choosing this marketing medium as a key park of the marketing mix.

Email marketing, its disadvantages

Delivery rates

Return Path in 2008 reported that on average only 56% of legitimate email servers reach the inbox. This headline figure is quite discouraging of email marketing. Why should you or your business invest in this medium if nearly half of your emails will get lost in the abyss.

In technology years we would argue that this is dated research – with spam filters evolving on a weekly or even daily basis, as previously mentioned they are much more effective at filtering out legitimate email from spam.

In addition to this, you must consider what you are sending and who to. If you are buying an email database and broadcasting your message to it – you will most likely receive a bounce rate which will agree with Return Path’s research. Buying email lists will never lead to a successful email marketing campaign, it will often result in spam complaints.

While in contrast, if your business has taken the time to establish your own opt-in database, you will often find much better delivery rates.

Potential customers always ask us – ‘what is your average delivery rate?’ our answer is simple, that depends on what you are sending and who you are send it to. On average double opt-in email lists will receive delivery rates inside 90%. Our own findings showing 90% delivery are much higher than the 2008 Return Path average. If 90% of recipients are going to receive your message, we would suggest that this makes email marketing a very effective medium.

Know the law

Like other marketing methods, your business must be aware of the law regarding email marketing. Setting up an email marketing campaign and emailing to any email address found on the internet is both unethical and illegal.

If you are in the USA, as an email marketeer you must be aware of the CAN-SPAM act. This act was made law in 2003 by George W Bush. It has often been criticized as the ‘you-can-spam’ act – referring to its lack of clarity and structure.

Within the UK we have the Electronic Communications (EC Directive) 2003. This act offers clarity and guidelines for email marketeers operating and emailing other UK businesses.

The law in the UK regarding email marketing is quite clear, we require that all email marketeers should read and follow these regulations. For an easy to read summary of the UK law with regard to email marketing, please follow the link below (link leads to an official government website):

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003