Pros and cons of email campaigns
Before embarking on an email campaign, you need to weigh the various advantages and disadvantages to determine if email is right for you.
Speed and affordability are the two main selling points for an email campaign. Your message is delivered to customers in seconds, with options to instantly reply to your offer. You also don't have any of the costs associated with physical mail such as addressing or postage.
Email campaigns, more so than any other marketing channel, allow you to understand the behavior of your target audience beyond whether or not they placed orders. You can get real-time reports detailing every aspect of your email campaign: from the number of successfully delivered emails to sales made. This information helps you learn if your email campaign was successful, how to uncover areas for improvement, and how to lay the groundwork for future mailings.
Targeting is another advantage: you're not locked into sending the same message to everyone on an email list. You can cost-effectively customize your message based on customer demographics or interests and send one offer to part of the list and another offer to others.
With email campaigns, you can send greater quantities of email for much less money than direct mail. However, in a medium that has to contend with email filters, spam blockers, virus concerns, and low response rates, email marketing can require a large sample size of 100,000 or more emails to get a meaningful response.
The number one issue with an email campaign is that your email may never reach its intended recipient. Having your email lumped with true spam — bulk emails sent without permission — is the biggest roadblock for email marketers. Even if a customer agrees to receive mailings from you, spam-filtering programs might flag your message as spam or blacklist your address entirely, just based on the content of the message. Not surprisingly, email campaigns typically have very low response rates of 0.25 to 0.50 percent or less.
You must also comply with the federal CAN-SPAM Act, which can be cumbersome. The act prevents marketers from sending unsolicited messages and sets rules for email marketing behaviors. For example, you must include unsubscribe or opt-out links and a physical mailing address in every message. When someone requests removal from a list, you must comply quickly — usually within 10 days. You also need to stay on top of constantly changing state laws.
Finally, while emails are relatively easy to send and the results are almost instantaneous, those two elements aren't always positive. If you rely too heavily on email, it can be a detriment to your business: some people consider it impersonal and unfriendly. Also, if you're too quick to send your message out and overlook a mistake, it's impossible to get the email back.