Articles for Webmasters     The Pros and Cons of Email Marketing (opinion 2)

By Michelle O'Leary

Essential Marketing Resource

The Internet is an essential resource for businesses these days, providing an ever expanding variety of marketing niches, from classic website advertisement to social network campaigns to email marketing campaigns and more. Each marketing method has its advantages and disadvantages which should be considered before a business chooses to utilize that particular marketing platform. Email marketing has been used very successfully by companies in the past, but before a business decides to use this marketing strategy, they should consider the pros and cons.

Pros to Email Marketing

Ease and speed of delivery are at the top of the list of selling points for email marketing. Emails aren't difficult to produce and a business can expect their message to be delivered to their target customers within seconds of send off. Response time is equally swift, as interested customers can respond either by replying to the email or through whatever commercial links were provided.

Affordability is also high on the list of advantages for email marketing campaigns. The cost is typically restricted to having an Internet connection, which most businesses already have in place for other uses. In contrast to physical mailings, there are no costs associated with materials, postage, or handling.

Email campaigns also allow businesses the advantage of reaching a targeted audience by customizing email offers for customers based on demographics, interests, and/or geographical locations. Businesses aren't restricted to sending out the same offer to all customers, and can streamline their marketing strategy to connect with their most sought after customers.

Most email marketing services also offer various types of reporting along with the basic email service. These reports can be invaluable for businesses looking to understand customer behavior and interest. With as much ease and speed as sending out the email, a business can get data on the number of successful deliveries, the number of emails opened, and the number of click-throughs if links are involved, which can be correlated to the number of orders and sales made. This information can help businesses to tweak their email marketing to improve future deliveries.

Cons to Email Marketing

The biggest obstacle that businesses face with email marketing campaigns is that the email sent may never actually reach the audience. Bulk emails that are sent without permission fall under the spam category, and most email systems today have spam filters and blockers. Even if customers agree to receive emails, their email systems may still flag or block a message if the customer doesn't approve the businesses email address. Because of this disadvantage, email marketing campaigns usually require large quantity mailings to see even a low response rate and meaningful sales.

As a related disadvantage, businesses must also comply with the federal statutes of the CAN-SPAM Act, which outlines rules for email marketing and prevents marketing strategists from sending out unsolicited mailings. Included in these rules are the requirement that links be included to allow customers to unsubscribe or opt-out of a company's mailings. Additionally, the response time to an unsubscribe request must be swift, typically in ten days or less. Each state also has regulations concerning email marketing which must be followed.

The ease and speed of email delivery can have its disadvantages as well. Though businesses can customize an email to their chosen audience, email marketing is still considered an impersonal contact and can give customers a negative impression. Any mistakes in the production of emails can't be fixed once the email is sent, and these can also give customers a negative view of a business.

The Choice to Launch

Email marketing campaigns are just one of the Internet's many marketing possibilities. Past history has shown that email marketing campaigns can be successful, if a business has the willingness and determination to persevere. The choice of whether or not to launch an email campaign should be made by weighing the pros and cons, and deciding what is in the best interest of a business. If emailing suits the needs of a business, than an email marketing campaign is a viable, potentially lucrative option.

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