8 Challenges of Email Marketing You Should Overcome

By Jacky Chou
10 Min Read
By Jacky Chou
10 Min Read

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8 Email Marketing Challenges You Should Overcome

Do you want to do email marketing as a side hustle and are wondering what challenges you will face? Email marketing impacts digital marketing by enabling businesses to connect with target audiences, foster relationships, and drive conversions. However, while email marketing channels offer numerous benefits, it has challenges.

Our comprehensive article delves into the various obstacles marketers encounter in email campaigns and provides detailed strategies to overcome each challenge. We equip you with knowledge and tools to optimize your email marketing efforts, from deliverability issues to engagement concerns.

1. Deliverability Issues

Deliverability issues in email marketing refer to the challenges and obstacles preventing your marketing emails from reaching the intended recipients’ inboxes. In other words, your emails can bypass spam filters and other technical barriers and land in the primary inbox of the recipients. Deliverability is critical to email marketing because if your emails aren’t delivered, your entire campaign’s effectiveness is compromised.

Deliverability Issues
Image Credits: mycase.com

Several factors can contribute to deliverability issues:

  1. Spam Filters and Content Filters: Email service providers (ESPs) and individual email clients use complex algorithms to filter out spam and unwanted emails. If your email triggers these filters due to certain keywords, phrases, or suspicious elements, it might be marked as spam and diverted to the recipients’ spam or junk folders.
  2. Sender Reputation: Your sender’s reputation plays a significant role in deliverability. If you have a poor sender reputation due to high bounce rates, recipient complaints, or being reported as spam, ESPs are more likely to treat your emails as suspicious and route them to spam folders.
  3. Bounce Rates: High bounce rates occur when emails are returned as undeliverable and can negatively impact your sender’s reputation. Bounces can be categorized as “hard” (permanent, such as invalid email addresses) or “soft” (temporary, such as full mailboxes). Regularly clean your email list and remove invalid addresses to reduce bounce rates.
  4. Unengaged Subscribers: If your emails consistently receive low engagement (opens, clicks), ESPs might interpret this as an indicator that recipients don’t find your content valuable. This leads to your emails being filtered out of the primary inbox.
  5. Authentication and SPF/DKIM/DMARC Records: Properly configuring email authentication protocols like SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) helps verify the legitimacy of your emails and prevents spoofing. Failing to set up these records correctly can lead to deliverability issues.
  6. Volume and Frequency: Sending a high volume of emails quickly, especially if you’re new to an ESP, can raise red flags and trigger spam filters. Similarly, sending emails too frequently to the same recipients without considering their preferences can lead to unsubscribes and spam complaints.
  7. Content and Design: Poorly designed emails with excessive images, large attachments, or too many links might trigger spam filters. Using a deceptive subject line or misleading content can also lead to deliverability problems.
  8. Mobile Responsiveness: Emails not optimized for mobile devices might not display properly on smaller screens, leading to lower engagement and potentially affecting deliverability.

Below are some secrets to improving email deliverability:

  • Maintain a clean and updated email list.
  • Provide valuable and relevant content to engage subscribers.
  • Monitor and manage your sender’s reputation.
  • Authenticate your emails using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records.
  • Test your emails using different devices and email clients.
  • Comply with anti-spam regulations, such as CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR.
  • Use a reputable and established ESP with good deliverability rates.

2. Content Relevance

Content relevance refers to how well your emails’ content aligns with your subscribers. If your subclass’s preferences are irrelevant to the recipients, they will likely be ignored, marked as spam, or unsubscribed.

Content Relevance
Image Credits: bokkagroup.com

Challenges related to content relevance include:

  • Segmentation: Creating relevant and targeted information based on subscriber demographics, behaviors, and preferences is essential for delivering resonating content. The challenge lies in effectively segmenting your audience and tailoring your content accordingly.
  • Email Personalization: Personalized emails that address subscribers by name and offer tailored recommendations or solutions tend to perform better. The challenge is to collect and use the right data to personalize emails without crossing privacy boundaries.
  • Content Variety: Maintaining a balance between different types of content (educational, promotional emails, informative) and avoiding repetitiveness can be challenging while keeping subscribers engaged and interested.
  • Dynamic Content: Implementing dynamic content that adapts based on user data (location, past behavior, purchase history) can be complex but is crucial for delivering highly relevant messages.

To address these challenges and improve content relevance in your email marketing campaigns, consider the following strategies:

  • Data Collection and Analysis: Gather data on subscriber behaviors, preferences, and interactions to inform your content strategy and segment your audience effectively.
  • Personalization: Implement dynamic content and personalized recommendations based on subscriber data.
  • A/B Testing: Test elements of your emails to identify what resonates best with your audience.
  • Content Planning: Create and learn how to organize your email marketing content calendar with relevant and valuable content.

3. Engagement

Engagement is a marketing channel in email marketing is the interaction level and responsiveness your emails receive from its customer base. High engagement means your content resonates with subscribers, while low engagement can lead to emails being ignored or unsubscribed.

Customer Engagement in email marketing

Image Credits: geekseller.com

Challenges related to engagement include:

  • Subject Lines: It is challenging to craft compelling subject lines that grab recipients’ attention to open the emails. It requires creativity, A/B testing, and understanding your audience’s preferences.
  • Content Quality: The actual content of your email, including the copy, images, and design, must be engaging and valuable to readers. Ensuring consistent quality across different emails can be a challenge.
  • Call to Action (CTA): Designing clear and effective CTAs that prompt subscribers to take a desired action (e.g., clicking a link or making a purchase) can be challenging. CTAs need to stand out and guide readers toward the intended goal.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: As a significant portion of emails are opened on mobile devices, ensuring that your emails are mobile-responsive and display well on various screen sizes and email clients is essential for engagement.
  • Testing and Optimization: You need resources and expertise to continuously test different elements of your emails (personalized subject lines, content, CTAs, sending times) and analyze the results to optimize future campaigns.

To address these challenges and improve engagement in your email marketing campaigns, consider the following strategies:

  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure your emails are mobile-responsive and provide a seamless experience across devices.
  • Engagement Tracking: Use various digital marketing channels to monitor engagement metrics (open rates, website visitors, conversion rates) and use the insights to refine your strategies.

4. Mobile Optimization

Mobile optimization in email marketing refers to designing and structuring email campaigns to ensure they are visually appealing, functional, and user-friendly on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Given the prevalence of mobile devices in today’s digital landscape, optimizing emails for mobile is crucial to reaching and engaging a wider audience.

Mobile optimization in email marketing
Image Credits: bant.io

However, mobile optimization presents several challenges in the realm of email marketing:

  1. Limited Screen Real Estate: Mobile screens are smaller compared to desktop monitors. This constraint means the email content, including text, images, and calls-to-action, must be carefully arranged to fit within the smaller screen size without sacrificing clarity or functionality.
  2. Responsive Design: Mobile devices come in various sizes and orientations (portrait and landscape), making it important to create responsive email templates. Responsive design ensures that the email layout adapts and rearranges itself dynamically based on the user’s screen size and orientation, providing an optimal viewing experience.
  3. Load Time and Bandwidth: Mobile devices may have slower internet connections or limited bandwidth, especially in certain locations or network conditions. This challenge requires optimizing email content to load quickly and efficiently, preventing delays that could lead recipients to abandon the email before it fully loads.
  4. Touch-Friendly Interactions: Unlike desktop users who navigate with a mouse, mobile users interact with emails using touch gestures. Buttons, links, and interactive elements must be appropriately sized and spaced to accommodate touch interactions, preventing accidental clicks and improving the overall user experience.
  5. Font and Text Readability: Text easily read on a desktop screen might become too small to read comfortably on a mobile device. Selecting appropriate fonts and font sizes and maintaining proper line spacing is vital for ensuring the email content remains legible on smaller screens.
  6. Image Optimization: High-resolution images can slow down loading times on mobile devices. Properly optimizing images, using compressed formats, and employing responsive techniques can help maintain image quality while ensuring quick loading times.
  7. Preheader Text: The preheader is a short snippet in the email preview, providing a glimpse of the email’s content. Crafting an engaging and informative preheader that entices recipients to open the email is important, especially since it is prominently displayed on mobile devices.
  8. Testing Across Devices and Platforms: With the multitude of mobile devices, email clients, and operating systems available, testing emails across various platforms becomes complex. Ensuring consistent rendering and functionality across different devices and email clients is a challenge that requires thorough testing and optimization.
  9. Content Hierarchy: Prioritizing and presenting content becomes even more critical on mobile devices. An email marketer needs to ensure that the most important information is prominently displayed at the top of the email, capturing recipients’ attention before they potentially lose interest.
  10. Transactional Emails: Certain emails, such as order confirmations or password resets, need to be optimized for mobile devices for a seamless user experience during crucial interactions.

To overcome these challenges, email marketers must adopt mobile-first design principles, use responsive email templates, conduct thorough testing, and continually analyze user engagement data to refine their mobile optimization strategies. By successfully addressing these challenges, businesses can enhance email marketing efforts and deliver a more engaging and effective experience to their mobile audience.

5. Unsubscribes

Unsubscribes occur when recipients of your email campaigns choose to stop receiving further emails from your organization. They usually accomplish this by clicking on your emails’ “unsubscribe” link.

Image Credits: theverge.com

Unsubscribes can happen due to various reasons:

  • Lack of Relevance: Subscribers may feel that the content you’re sending is no longer relevant to their interests or needs.
  • Frequency: Overwhelming subscribers with too many emails can lead to unsubscribes as they seek to reduce inbox clutter.
  • Content Quality: Poorly crafted or uninteresting content may make subscribers opt out.
  • Change in Preferences: Subscribers’ preferences or circumstances may change, leading them to unsubscribe.
  • Engagement: Lack of engagement with previous emails can lead subscribers to opt-out.

While it might seem counterintuitive, offering a clear and easy way to unsubscribe is important for maintaining a positive sender reputation and complying with email marketing regulations. High unsubscribe rates can impact your deliverability rates, but they also help ensure you send emails only to engaged and interested recipients.

6. List Churn

List Churn refers to the continuous fluctuation in the size and quality of the email subscriber list over time. It’s influenced by new additions (increasing customer acquisition) and losses (unsubscribes and other removals).

Monitoring churn rate
Image Credits: amplitude.com

List Churn is a natural process, but excessive churn can have negative implications:

  • Reduced Reach: As your list shrinks, the potential reach of your marketing messages decreases.
  • Deliverability Challenges: A high rate of unsubscribes, bounces, or spam complaints can negatively affect your email deliverability.
  • Engagement Impact: Constantly losing engaged subscribers can impact your ability to measure and improve engagement metrics.
  • Cost Efficiency: A growing subscriber base can be costly to maintain, and list churn helps optimize costs by focusing efforts on engaged recipients.

For email marketing success, you need to strike a balance between subscriber acquisition and increasing customer retention. This involves consistently delivering valuable and relevant content, segmenting your audience to send targeted messages, monitoring engagement metrics, and periodically purging your list of inactive or unengaged subscribers.

7. Regulatory Compliance

Staying on the Right Side of the Law in a Digital World
Image Credits: lawyermonthly.com

Regulatory compliance refers to the necessity of adhering to laws and regulations that govern email marketing activities. Some key regulations that impact email marketing include:

  • Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act: This U.S. law sets guidelines for commercial email messages, including requirements for opt-out mechanisms, accurate sender information, and clear subject lines.
  • CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation): A Canadian law that mandates explicit consent for sending commercial electronic messages, including emails.
  • General Data Protection Regulation: An EU regulation that governs the processing of personal data of individuals within the European Union. It requires clear and informed consent, data protection, and the right to be forgotten.
  • CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act): A California state law that grants California residents certain rights regarding collecting and using their personal information.

If you do not comply with these regulations, you can get legal penalties, damage your brand’s reputation, and negatively impact deliverability rates, as ISPs may categorize non-compliant emails as spam.

Overcoming Regulatory Compliance in email marketing involves understanding and adhering to laws like CAN-SPAM, GDPR, CASL, and CCPA. Focus on obtaining clear consent, ensuring transparency, and providing easy opt-out options. Use segmentation, prioritize data security, and maintain accurate records. Regular audits, legal consultation, and staying informed about evolving regulations are essential for building a compliant and trustworthy email marketing strategy.

8. Privacy Concerns

The impact of privacy regulations in email marketing relates to the responsible and ethical use of subscribers’ data.

Security and Privacy Issues in Email Marketing
Image Credits: goprospero.com

These concerns can affect the trust between your brand and your audience. Common privacy challenges include:

  • Data Collection and Consent: Obtaining explicit consent from subscribers before collecting and using their data is crucial. Privacy concerns arise when data is collected without clear consent or used for purposes beyond what subscribers initially agreed to.
  • Data Security: Safeguarding subscriber data is vital to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access. A security breach leads to significant reputational damage and legal repercussions.
  • Transparency: Subscribers should be informed about how their data will be used, who will have access to it, and how they can exercise their rights, such as opting out or requesting data deletion.
  • Third-Party Sharing: If you share subscriber data with third parties, it’s important to be transparent about these practices and obtain consent when necessary.
  • Sensitive Information: Avoid collecting or sending sensitive information (e.g., financial details, medical records) via email, as this can pose significant privacy risks.

Overcoming privacy concerns in email marketing involves:

  • Obtaining clear consent.
  • Maintaining transparency through clear privacy policies.
  • Ensuring data security.
  • Collecting minimal and relevant data.
  • Offering subscriber control over their information, monitoring and updating practices.
  • Educating your team.
  • Maintaining open communication.
  • Staying legally compliant.
  • Building a trustworthy and ethical email marketing approach.


Email marketing is a good field for a career as it positively impacts businesses when navigated strategically. If you address these email marketing challenges and implement the suggested solutions, you can create an effective email marketing campaign that engages, convert, and retain your audience, leading to long-term success in the competitive digital landscape.

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