Top 5 Email Marketing Challenges of 2021

Communication apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams and chatbots have been cited to be the email killers. However, they aren’t even close enough to take over the email. Email still works to date and Email Marketing remains one of the best ways of connecting with customers. In fact, the number of active email users is forecasted to reach 4.3 billion in 2023. This large number provides marketers an excellent Return on Investment. Reports also suggest that almost nine out of every ten marketers use email marketing to distribute content organically. Email marketing has stood the test of time and has stayed relevant to date. However, these same marketers face the never-ending cycle of strategizing and executing marketing campaigns. Any hurdles or obstacle in the course of developing and deploying an effective marketing campaign will not only waste their efforts but will also waste precious time.

Hence, it is imperative for marketers to stand firm and stay abreast of trends and challenges to stay a step ahead of their marketing campaigns and be ready with solutions to overcome any kind of hurdles. Among the two, let’s see what challenges lie ahead of marketers in 2021.

Integration of Email Data and Other Data Systems

In order to create the best possible marketing campaign, marketers need data. And not just from a single source, they need it from all kinds of sources. The integration of various data systems enables marketers to optimize their email as per customer’s liking and creating better sales leads and provide customers a positive buying experience.

Jeff Titterton, CMO at Zendesk asserts, “Customers today have more power, more information and more options than ever and companies have to earn and re-earn a customer’s business with every interaction. We have to expand our purview from the limited slice of the business and think about the customer’s entire journey – from top of funnel interactions with the brand; to product trials and engagement; to sales and purchase; to customer service and beyond.”

To properly integrate multiple data systems, marketers can use the right integration tools to collect data, experiment with segmentation by creating buyer personas, and ultimately, compiling all the data into good, working content.

Increasing Reach/Deliverability

According to reports, the average email deliverability rate was 79% across various email marketing platforms. And around 20% of all emails are undelivered or are received in the spam folder. The term bounce is used when an email fails to reach the customer’s inbox. There are two kinds of bounces:

Soft Bounces — Result of a full inbox

Hard Bounces — Result from the email in question or not existing

What bounces reveal about marketers is that the internet service provider may have blocked them due to the lower deliverability rate. They also reveal the amount of time and resources wasted on non-prospects. The solution to this challenge lies in updating the email chain regularly. Marketers can also give multiple ways for a user to opt-in, securing the right deliverable email address. Lastly, the ability to update the contact on the user’s end also comes useful in keeping the deliverability rate constant.


Personalization is at the top of trending things happening in the marketing world. It focuses on imparting relevant product/service/content/ad information to the end-user. The primary goal is to deliver such an experience that increases the chances of converting them on an offer.

According to a survey conducted in 2020, the average rate of opening an email is only 17%. Customers are not bothered to open random emails that do not adhere to their interests. Consequently, we saw a rise in personalized content among marketing with attention-grabbing subject lines and CTAs being the top priority in email marketing. Studies also show that a personalized email can increase a business ROI by 760%. Going ahead, as the technology and mindset of customers keep evolving, marketers will need to keep pace with the customer’s ever-changing needs. 2021 will see hyper-personalization as a trend bringing resolution to this challenge.

Measuring ROI

73% of marketers believe that email marketing is an excellent marketing channel. This number is even higher than SEO at 72% and paid search at 67%. Still, 70% of companies fail to measure their email marketing ROI. As per a study, most marketers track only popular metrics like opens (98.9% of marketers), clicks (98.9%), and bounces (92.5%).

The measurement of ROI is closely tied to the challenge of the culmination of data from different systems. Understanding own’s ROI on the marketing efforts reveals the business’ ability to collect and organize data for marketing campaigns. Marketers must know how many users are vising the site, how many sales have occurred, etc. Fortunately, they can set up a closed-loop marketing system in a place to track the point of contact to the final conversion of the customer. A closed-loop system will help marketers to track ROI from email marketing and will display the outcome from all other marketing efforts.

Mobile Devices

Mobile Devices account for 46% of all email opens and around 35% of business professionals check email on their mobile devices. As such, optimizing their contact as per the customer’s device will come out as another challenge. They will need to optimize email text, image, and formatting. Alongside, they will also need to watch out for subject length line, leaving clicking room, locations of CTAs, pre-header texts, amongst many others. They will need to continuously test their email marketing strategies across multiple devices.

For the upcoming year, the right email marketing strategy will heavily depend on the business’ ability to collect relevant and reliable data about the customer, their journey, and the whole sales process. Overcoming these challenges, they would sit in a better place in understanding the target audience and their requirements all the while increasing the quality of leads, shortening the sales cycle, and gaining new customers.

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