Disadvantages of Email Marketing (and 5 ways to overcome them)

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Don’t let anyone tell you there are no disadvantages of email marketing. It’s not all rainbows and cotton candy, as I know from two decades of experience. 

So it’s better that you understand the downsides and challenges of email marketing so you can overcome them, I believe.

That’s why I am laying out all the disadvantages for you in this post. You won’t be left hanging though, because I’ll include 5 proven ways to overcome email marketing challenges.


3 Biggest Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

The top disadvantage is misconceptions. Many small businesses begin by shooting off random email marketing messages to anyone they think needs what they offer.

Or they buy an email list. Both of these tactics always fail miserably. People will not open emails from businesses they have never heard of or did not give permission to email them. Addresses on email lists are often outdated, fake, or never checked (secondary addresses).

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Building an email list can be a long hard battle. It takes time to get sign-ups, despite some outliers who rack up giant email lists fairly quickly. Not everyone can sell millions of books and gain email subscribers like author James Clear.

Even well-known brands like CopyHackers don’t have an outrageous number of subscribers. 30,000 was the last count I saw on them and they clearly know what they are doing. Email lists take time to grow, but you don’t need 100,000 subscribers anyway.

Great subject lines and awesome email content are NOT enough to generate sales and conversions. Amazing content and subject lines get emails opened and generate clicks, yes. But there are way more moving parts with email marketing.

That’s a major disadvantage, too many factors. Especially for tiny businesses or solopreneurs with no free time set up email authentication and monitor it for issues. No time to clean their list regularly or A/B test campaigns. No time to properly segment their list either. 

Luckily, these challenges are not impossible to overcome.

5 Easy Ways to Overcome Disadvantages of Email Marketing  

  1. Develop top-notch lead magnets and email sign-ups will come consistently 
  1. Partner with other mailers to build up subscribers for you and your partners
  1. Hire a technical guru to set up email authentication from the start
  1. A/B test only the subject lines in the beginning (it’s quick and impactful)
  1. Invest time in learning your email service platform so you can utilize automation for segmenting and sequences

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Other tips that can erase disadvantages of email marketing?

  • Research content that is not easy to Google so your email newsletters stand out
  • Be sure your ‘from name’ is easy to recognize in the inbox
  • Set precise and enticing expectations in your welcome email
  • Read updates from Spamhaus, an authority on Spam
  • Keep email content fresh (mix in format, design, & length changes occasionally)
  • Double opt-in sign-ups are higher quality subscribers than single opt-ins because they’re more committed

What about crowded inboxes though?

Inbox Traffic Jams

Your business is not the only one emailing your subscribers. Everyone and their brother are too. 

And people are busier than ever so they only have time to read so many emails.

This inbox crowding is why you have to ensure your email campaigns stand out. They must be easy to recognize (emojis in subject lines are proven to get higher open rates). BIMI is a new tool for email branding too.

Also, your content must be easy to digest and not the same old stories other mailers are slinging around.

Inbox Mailers’ solution to this email marketing disadvantage is to use the network effect to overcome crowded inboxes. Our platform triggers your emails to send at the time your subscribers are reading other emails in our network. Learn more with a free demo to see how other Inbox Mailers users are tripling open rates and boosting click volume.

As for the time it takes to create email campaigns?

Time Constraints are an Email Marketing Disadvantage 

It can take 6 to 10 hours to produce a quality email newsletter. Some large brands spend two weeks on an email campaign!

Heck, it can eat up a couple hours just to craft a good ten-sentence promotional email.

Luckily ChatGPT is pretty good at writing marketing emails when prompted with a proven marketing formula / structure. 

Example: Tell the AI writer you want a sales email in the format used by CopyHackers.com. Or any copywriter that you believe is effective at marketing messages.

A human may have to insert some storytelling or a bit of humor but ChatGPT is a time-saver with email creation. 

Too bad there’s not a good AI option for breaking down email analytics in a simple way. 

Email Data and Metrics

Here again, large organizations have the advantage with email marketing. They have team members who can understand all the metrics available in an email marketing platform.

Smaller brands and entrepreneurs are left to wrangle gobs of data on their own. Often, they simply ignore it though and hope for the best. 

That’s a big disadvantage of email marketing. Not being able to utilize the data can hinder your success. And now Apple has made open rate data less reliable with their Mail Privacy Protection.

Tips to overcome complex metrics and mountains of data? Focus on:

  • Click rate
  • Open rate fluctuation
  • Bounces
  • Unsubscribes

Bounces can be the result of a sketchy email list.

Open rates moving by 7 percent or more need investigating.

Clicks are positive signals that improve your deliverability and inbox placement.

Unsubscribes are not the end of the world since you’re better off losing people who do not engage with your emails. (Keep readers happy and they won’t tap that unsubscribe link)

Did I forget something?


No, I didn’t forget this painful reality. It’s just that 99% of email marketers and business owners realize spam is a disadvantage with email.

Thing is, all the disadvantages I’ve listed already are the main causes of emails getting filtered into spam folders. 

Spammers cause problems for legitimate mailers and businesses. It makes inbox filters more strict. 

But if you can avoid the problems I discussed already, you can avoid your emails being marked as spam.

Let’s wrap up…

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Disadvantages of Email Marketing Summed Up

I have full faith in email marketing despite the disadvantages. 

The ROI is better than any other form of marketing. 

Email metrics are more reliable than sketchy online ad analytics filled with fraud (bots & click farms).

Plus, email marketing is personal. You own the email list and have a better chance of connecting with an audience since the inbox is their gated online reading area, free from distractions.

Now that I’ve laid out email’s disadvantages, you can take them on with the tips and tactics suggested above. The sooner the better because if your email deliverability and inboxing improve, you have a major advantage over the competition.

Picture of John Gardner

John Gardner

John Gardner is an expert email marketer and co-founder of Inbox Mailers. He specializes in email segmentation and improving overall deliverability, helping top brands and businesses optimize their email marketing strategy.