Business May 21, 2021 Last updated May 21st, 2021 1,228 Reads share

5 challenges to email marketing in 2021 (and how to overcome them)

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While it has a giant ROI, email marketing poses some challenges that often keep marketers and businesses from reaping its true potential.

As a matter of fact, a few marketers claim that they’re slightly disillusioned with email marketing because it doesn’t seem to produce the kind of results they had in mind.

There’s no denying that email marketing has its own unique challenges. But without these challenges, the marketing world would have been a dull place.

Thankfully, for every challenge there are multiple solutions. So let’s get down to the five biggest email marketing challenges and solutions for each of them.

Challenge 1: Building a mailing list 

Yes, you know building an email list is so important. And you’ve tried a number of ways to build and grow a list. 

But somehow you don’t see much progress. We know it’s no fun working with a mailing list that’s smaller than the number of people on your speed dial. 

3 Creative ways to build a mailing list

1. Encourage sharing

The next time you send a newsletter, add a little feature along with your email signature: the sharing button. Encourage your subscribers to share your newsletter with friends – but don’t forget to remind them that their friends will need to sign up 🙂

Now it’s your subscribers doing the hard work to fetch you new subscribers. You can just sit back and focus on other strategies.

2. Leverage your receipts

Your customers read your receipts carefully. Why not use them to encourage customers to sign up?

Add a line or two at the bottom of the receipt, ideally close to where you mention the total price of the product you sold them. Mention how they’d benefit from signing up and how you’d love to have them on board.

3. Tie it up with a free trial

Do you offer a free trial for your service or product? Then you could use this tip very well.

Invite people who’re signing up for a free trial to sign up for your newsletter as well. Chances are even if they don’t make a purchase after the free trial ends, you’ll still have them on your mailing list. And that would be a great way to make a sale happen a little later in the future.

Challenge 2: Improving email deliverability

Having a big email list is good, but what matters is whether your emails reach those addresses. 

In other words, you want to achieve better email deliverability. Because, when more emails reach subscribers, more your chances they’ll take action.

3 Creative ways to improve email deliverability

1. Choose the right ESP

Here’s why choosing the right ESP (Email Service Provider) comes in. A good ESP will help you easily segment your mailing list based on a number of factors. 

With that, you can create focused emails for each segment. That will help you achieve better engagement.

2. Clean your mailing list

Your mailing list may have undeliverables or not-safe-to-send email addresses. There are a number of email verification tools out there – find out which one meets your needs best.

Use an email list cleaner to remove unsafe email addresses from your list.

3. Get whitelisted

Oftentimes, your emails don’t land in the inbox of your subscribers because your email address isn’t whitelisted. As a result, their inbox may not trust you and might be pushing your emails into spam or promotional folders.

Just request your subscribers to whitelist you by adding your email address to their address book.

Challenge 3: Getting better engagement

Following proper email etiquette is probably the first step to establish a good relationship with your subscribers. What appear to be relatively minor things, like being culturally conscious or avoiding too many exclamation marks, can actually pave the way to better customer engagement, which is one of the major goals for marketers. 

Here are three proven actions you can take to effectively improve your engagement.

3 Creative ways to get better engagement

1. Focus on personalization

You know personalization can take your relationship with customers to the next level.

Personalization can begin by something as simple as using their names in your emails. Next, you can use the location of your customers and their time zones to make them feel you understand them. 

2. Develop accurate personas

You want to learn as much about your customers as possible. Build a persona of a typical buyer. What do they want? What are their aspirations? What are the problems they’re trying to solve? 

Invest in understanding your customers and you’ll be rewarded. 

3. Use recent activity to drive engagement

Despite the fact that many of your customers have identical problems to solve, their actions are all different. Some of them simply browse products, some of them compare prices, some abandon their carts at the last moment.. All this makes them unique.

Communicate keeping in mind their recent activity and make your communication more personal and build engagement.

Challenge 4: Bringing repeat purchases

Repeat purchases bring steady revenue and reflect customer loyalty. That’s why marketers want customers to come back again and again.

If you don’t see your customers coming back to make repeat purchases, the first thing you’ll want to do is check your product and service. Simultaneously, you’ll also want to plug any loopholes in your marketing exercises. Here’s the top three ways to do that

3 Creative ways to bring repeat purchases

1. Send cart abandonment emails

Ok, we confess this isn’t creative – most businesses do it. But we’ve included it here because we think the importance of cart abandonment emails can’t be overstated.

Do these five things to make your cart abandonment emails creative:

  • Focus on what they missed by not buying
  • Show social proof to remove uncertainty from the buyer’s mind
  • Occasionally offer a discount that’s valid for another 48 hours only
  • Try to figure out the price threshold at which customers are most likely to buy
  • Use humor when appropriate

2. Build loyalty programs

Sometimes customers need more than a good product and a great price to make repeat purchases. 

Design loyalty programs that will make your customers feel they are valued because they exhibit loyalty for your business. Better return policies, instalments, faster shipping… experiment with everything and find the sweet spot that works for your customers and you.

3. Use the power of social media

The modern customer is present on multiple platforms and wants to see you everywhere. 

Devise strategies for your social media posts and photos. In the crowded marketplace of today, it’s easy for the customer to forget you. So make sure you are connected with your customer through as many channels as possible. 

Challenge 5: Reducing attrition

No matter how much you try, you’ll always see some people unsubscribe from your list or stop buying from you. The challenge lies in making this number as small as possible. 

In other words, you want to remain net positive: more people should be coming in than leaving you.

3 Creative ways to reduce attrition

1. Make mobile experience amazing

Close to 49% of the online sales is expected to come from smartphones (Source).

Don’t just stop at optimizing for mobile. Go the extra mile and make it an amazing experience for your customers who buy over smartphones. Make it easy, make it secure and make it fun.

2. Let them decide the frequency

Not all customers want to hear from you at the same frequency. 

Let your customers decide how often they’d like to hear from you. Weekly, monthly, quarterly… let them decide. Offer them the choice. That way, you stand the best chance to be heard and read.

3. Ask and listen

Last but not the least, ask for feedback. Listen to what your customers are saying. See what non-verbal signals you can pick up from their actions, like trying to see what offers interest them the most.

Also see what leading organizations onf your industry are doing, because their actions are guided by intensive customer research and feedback. Study how they steer communications on social media or on public platforms. 

Winding up

So there you are. We just discussed the top 5 email marketing challenges and 15 creative solutions for email marketing challenges.

Listening to your customers, making their journey smooth, easy and fun, leveraging analytics to better understand them and serving them well are the timeless aspects of making customers happy. And happy customers are the secret of successful businesses. 

Why not tell us how you’re using these solutions and how did it all turn out?

Featured image Credit: Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Hiren Patel

Hiren Patel

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