Understanding the common email marketing challenges and how to overcome them is crucial to unlocking the true potential of this channel. 

There’s no doubt that email marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies ever.

According to a Litmus survey, more than 90% of marketers said email marketing is critical to the success of their businesses.

And yet, despite its immense potential, many marketers still struggle to get significant results from their email marketing campaigns.

The lack of success can be attributed to a few common email marketing challenges. In this article, I’ll list 5 common challenges in detail and ways to overcome them.


Top Email Marketing Challenges and Their Solutions

Here are the top email marketing challenges you should be aware of and the strategies to overcome them to improve the efficiency of your email campaigns.


1. Low Deliverability Rates

Email marketing campaigns are only useful when your emails are successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox. When your emails land in the inbox, there’s a chance the recipient will open it and read the content.

But when your emails land in the spam folder, your message goes unnoticed and your sender’s reputation takes a hit. This is what makes low deliverability rates one of the biggest email marketing challenges you need to overcome to succeed with this contactless marketing strategy.

So what causes low email deliverability? 

To tell the truth, a lot of things are responsible for low delivery rates and you can be committing many of these mistakes for your emails to be marked as spam

The key factors responsible for low deliverability include:

  • Poor design: How you design your emails determines whether they land in the inbox or junk folder. Emails with broken links, poorly formatted text, and excessive images, such as the example below, can trigger email security solutions and compromise email deliverability. 



Image via Pinterest

  • Poor sender reputation: Email service providers like Google and Outlook will assign you a score based on the actions of your recipients. If your recipients are marking your emails as spam or unsubscribing, you will have a low sender score, which could result in your emails being marked as spam
  • Spammy email content: There are certain words and phrases that are commonly used by spammers. These terms have been flagged by spam filters and including them in your emails could harm your deliverability rate. Some of the trigger phrases to avoid include “free,” “save $,” “make $,” and “click.”
  • Poor list quality: A poor list quality can lead to a higher bounce rate. When your email list contains incorrect or outdated email addresses, your deliverability rate takes a hit and so does your sender reputation. 

Solution to This Challenge

There are several things you can do to improve your email deliverability rate. Here are some tips:

  • Use reliable email marketing software: Email marketing software solutions come with pre-built templates that present your message in a clear and easy-to-read format. The templates are also optimized for mobile devices to ensure your emails look great on any screen. According to the curated list by Attrock highlights the best email marketing services you can use for your email campaigns. 
  • Deliver personalized content: To improve your sender reputation, personalize your emails to the recipient to increase open rates. A high open rate is an indication of quality and this will enhance your sender reputation.
  • Avoid trigger words: Don’t use trigger words on your subject lines to avoid being a victim of spam filtering. Focus on writing engaging email subject lines and content that’s relevant to your users.
  • Clean your email list: Regularly audit your email list and remove inactive or outdated contact addresses. This act will help you reduce your bounce rates and overall email deliverability.


2. Attracting New Subscribers

A never-ending email marketing challenge is acquiring new subscribers. Before you can send promotional emails to anyone, they must explicitly give you permission to do so

This means you cannot buy an email list as there are dire consequences for sending marketing emails to users without their consent.

Your only option is to build an email list organically, something that most brands struggle with. Software like LinkedIn automation tools can help streamline this process. But come to think of it, this issue is only a challenge to marketers who want to receive an individual’s contact details without offering something in return.

So, what can marketers do to overcome this serious email marketing challenge? Let’s find out below.


Solutions to This Challenge

To overcome this challenge, focus on creating and offering valuable content and resources in exchange for a customer’s contact details. Make sure the content resonates with your audience to motivate them to subscribe to your email list willingly.

HubSpot uses this strategy effectively to grow its subscriber list. In the example below, it offers readers a free social media content calendar template to help them manage their social media content effectively.



Image via HubSpot

To receive the resource visitors must provide their contact details, such as name, email address, telephone number, and the company they work for.

Other strategies you can use to win new subscribers include: 

  • Using popups: Make it easy for visitors to subscribe to your emails by strategically adding popups on your website. Use a dedicated email service that allows you to use popups to offer exclusive deals and content to encourage signups.
  • Encourage subscribers to promote your list: Incentivize your current subscribers to promote your email list to their friends and family members. 
  • Allow users to subscribe to your list from your blog: At the end of your blog posts, add a form readers can use to sign up for your email list to receive more engaging content.


3. Low Open Rates

Low email open rates are one of the persistent email marketing challenges that marketers have to deal with. Your emails can get past the spam filters and still not get opened by the recipients.

Customers receive a lot of emails from brands and can easily overlook your messages for one reason or the other. Currently, the average email open rate is 21.5%, as per Campaign Monitor’s 2022 benchmarks. This indicates that almost 80% of emails delivered to recipients are not opened. 



Image via Campaign Monitor


The low open rates stem from issues like poor email subject lines and wrong timing. The subject line is the first thing recipients notice, and it can turn them away if it’s irrelevant or looks spammy

Additionally, sending your emails at the wrong time could result in them getting buried in a crowded inbox by the time the recipient checks their email. This is especially problematic during busy seasons like tax season when inboxes are flooded with emails.


Solutions to This Challenge

There are several things you can do to overcome the challenge of a low open rate, such as:

  • Personalize your subject lines: Tailor your email subject line to each recipient by using personalization elements, such as their name or location. This will help you grab the user’s attention and motivate them to open the email.
  • Keep the subject line short: Use fewer words to make your subject lines easy to understand. If writing persuasive email copy is not your strength, you can outsource email marketing to a competent marketing agency. 
  • Find the right time to send your emails: Research indicates that the best times to send emails are 2 PM, 8 PM, and 11 PM. While there’s nothing wrong with adopting these timelines for your campaigns, review your email statistics to find out the best time to engage your audience.


4. Low Click-through Rates

Your email recipients may open your emails and read them. But if they are not clicking on the links and CTA buttons in your email, then you’ll get fewer conversions

Campaign Monitor’s Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2022 also found that the average click-through rate is a mere 2.3%. 

While the CTR in some industries has gone beyond the 3% mark, the low engagement rates signal that marketers are struggling to motivate recipients to take the desired action

This can be attributed to marketers sending emails that lack relevant content or a clear value proposition. Check your email right now and you’ll see countless emails from brands that are offering you products and services you have zero interest in. 

I don’t need to be a magician to know you did not engage with those emails. And this is what is causing the low engagement rates.

When brands send emails that don’t resonate with the needs and preferences of the recipient, the disinterested subscriber will leave without taking the desired action. Inevitably, this will result in low sales and low email ROI.


Solutions to This Challenge

A poor CTR is one of the pressing email marketing challenges you need to overcome to boost the effectiveness of your email campaigns. To solve this challenge, you need to realize that your recipients have unique needs, interests, and preferences. 


So, to improve your engagement rates, you first need to segment them based on their needs and interests. This will help you deliver relevant messages that appeal to a particular audience group.

To start with, you can choose to segment your audience based on the following parameters:

  • Purchase status: Have they bought from your brand before or are they potential first-time buyers?
  • Customer lifetime value: Are they repeat customers or they’ve just made their first purchase?
  • Product affinity: Which product categories do they tend to buy from your store?

With this classification, it becomes easy to personalize your emails to the needs of your audience. For example, to get potential first-time buyers to make a purchase, you can offer exclusive welcome discounts. 

For repeat customers, you can + to recommend relevant products you’re sure they’ll enjoy.

The result of this type of personalization is more engagement, a higher click-through rate, and, eventually, more sales. 

However, your efforts to boost your CTR don’t stop with personalization. There’s still more to do to make your emails engaging, such as:

  • Adding interactive elements: Use polls and surveys to capture user attention and encourage readers to interact with your content.
  • Use videos in your emails: Add videos to your emails to further boost engagement and deliver important messages in a fun way.
  • Use compelling CTAs: Draft clear and compelling call-to-action buttons that guide readers on what to do next. Conduct an A/B test using different CTAs to find the one with the highest click-through rate. 
  • Optimize for mobile: Most people open emails from their mobile devices. If your email design is not optimized for mobile, your content becomes unreadable and unclickable on a mobile screen, resulting in a low CTR.

Managing all these aspects can be time-consuming for a busy marketer. To streamline your email marketing efforts, consider outsourcing these services to a full-service marketing agency to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns.


5. High Unsubscribe Rate

It takes a lot of effort to build an email list. You have to create valuable content, incentivize readers to sign up for your email list, and maintain a consistent communication strategy.

However, all this will be for nothing if you’re hemorrhaging subscribers at the other end. 

As an email marketer, you want to retain all the subscribers you acquire. But if they are regularly hitting the unsubscribe button, you need to find out why they are quick to opt out of your email list.

Constant Contact surveyed 1,400 consumers to find out why they unsubscribe from emails, and here are the findings from the survey:

  • 69% said the brands send too many emails
  • 56% said the content is no longer relevant
  • 51% said the content was not what they expected

This study reveals that people unsubscribe because they don’t like the content and frequency of your communication.


Solutions to This Challenge

Here’s what you can do to reduce your unsubscribe rates:

  • Deliver personalized content: Segment your audience based on their needs and send emails that are relevant to them. By tailoring your email content to the specific needs of your subscribers, you give them a reason to keep subscribing
  • Optimize email frequency: Find the best time to send your emails. You also need to find the optimal frequency for your messages to avoid overwhelming your subscribers.


Final Thoughts

Email marketing is a powerful strategy with a significant ROI when applied correctly. However, despite its immense potential marketers still struggle to achieve their goals with email marketing.

I have discussed the common email marketing challenges that are holding marketers back. By using the solutions laid out in this post, you’ll be able to overcome these challenges and deliver high-impact campaigns that pay off in conversions. 



Author Bio – Reena Aggarwal

Reena is Director of Operations and Sales at Attrock, a result-driven digital marketing company. With 10+ years of sales and operations experience in the field of e-commerce and digital marketing, she is quite an industry expert. She is a people person and considers the human resources as the most valuable asset of a company. In her free time, you would find her spending quality time with her brilliant, almost teenage daughter and watching her grow in this digital, fast-paced era.

Gravatar Email ID: reenaa@attrock.com
Social connects: LinkedIn, Twitter

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