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Navigating Email Marketing Challenges: A Digital Entrepreneur’s Guide

The value of digital marketing is growing very quickly. With over five billion Internet users worldwide, it’s no surprise that many businesses are using digital methods more to advertise. One very good digital advertising method is email marketing. It’s one of the best ways for small business owners to connect with customers and promote their products.

But just because email marketing is accessible doesn’t mean you can do it well without trying. Email marketing has its own challenges. This guide talks about the main issues with email marketing and gives tips for small business owners to get around them. Keep reading to learn more.

Spam filters are the nemesis

Have you ever felt disappointed when you sent out a great email campaign only to find out later that hardly anyone saw it because spam filters blocked it? Unfortunately, spam filters can’t tell if an email is useful—they just look for words or formatting that seems ‘salesy.’

Spam remains a big problem. A major internet provider in New Zealand reported that in December 2024, a shocking 62% of all emails were spam. The trouble is legitimate marketing emails often get lumped in with spam.

So small business owners need to be careful to try to make sure their emails make it to inboxes. While there’s no perfect solution, several best practices can significantly improve the chances:

  • Personalise subject lines with first names when possible, rather than generic greetings. Starting with ‘Hi [first name]’ shows you know that person specifically.
  • Avoid subject lines that sound too good to be true. Don’t use ALL CAPS or lots of exclamation points, which signal sales pitches. Keep language clear and low-key.
  • Properly authenticate your sending domain and IP address using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols so filters recognise you as a real sender. Dedicated IP addresses also help build the sender’s reputation over time.
  • Remove non-working and opted-out addresses from purchased email lists before uploading contacts. Focusing on growing your list organically minimises spam complaints.

While it can be tricky to fool spam filters completely, taking steps to authenticate as a real sender and using simple messaging can greatly increase the chances your emails will reach inboxes. Keep these best practices in mind, and don’t get too discouraged when some emails get blocked.

Building a targeted list compounds in time

Like any relationship, an email marketing program gets better over time as you nurture your subscriber list. But with so many email users, it’s easy to end up with disengaged or unqualified contacts, hurting your results. In fact, 46% of Kiwis use Gmail, and this is just one platform among many others. Therefore, your list quality and targeting matters more than size, especially when starting out.

Rather than buying email lists to grow faster, first focus on attracting contacts likely to convert because they’re already interested or have a relationship with you. Tactics like lead magnets, offering valuable content in exchange for emails, work well to capture qualified names in the long run. Putting sign-up forms on your website or at purchase points also slowly grows your list of relevant people.

Surveying existing happy customers to get email sign-ups from their friends and networks is another way to scale qualified contacts over time. Just be sure sign-up flows clearly explain opt-in policies and include unsubscribe links in emails to stay compliant. Build quality relationships email by email—it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Compelling content reads as authentic

Congratulations, you’ve grown your list and successfully gotten emails out of the spam traps and into inboxes! However, marketers still need to convince recipients to open emails and engage further. Without compelling subject lines and content that resonates with the intended audience at a quick glance, even perfectly delivered emails fail to achieve campaign goals.

Here’s how you can craft an excellent content:

  1. Put yourself in the mindset of subscribers and evaluate what makes content genuinely interesting or valuable from their perspective.
  2. Avoid overtly promotional language in favour of educational, informative, or entertaining themes targeted to their preferences.
  3. Add interactive content like polls, quizzes, or surveys that make readers feel heard.
  4. Formatting content for easy skimming increases open and click-through rates as most people scan emails rapidly.
  5. Use concise paragraphs, bullet points, descriptive headers, images, and specific calls-to-action so the next steps seem effortless.
  6. Demonstrates a genuine understanding of customers as individuals through personalisation.

The bottom line is to treat email content the same way you approach individual conversations. Be helpful, relevant, brief yet thoughtful, and specific in any requests or recommendations. These human touches make messaging resonate as authentic.

Don’t forget the contents on your products page, as your email campaign will redirect to a relevant product page from your site. A well-crafted products page—complete with all the necessary information about your offerings—can improve your odds of converting clicks and leads through email marketing.

Analytics close the feedback loop

Deploying well-crafted email campaigns comprises only half the battle. Without dedicating real attention to response metrics informing what works versus what missed the mark, sends easily remain one-off efforts providing little enduring value to entrepreneurs. Continuous optimisation and improvement of email programs rely on analytics insights.

Open and click rates highlight which messages and content styles perform best and worst. Review this data to double down on those winner themes while reformulating or eliminating laggards.

Similarly, segmented conversion metrics indicate which customer profiles respond positively to emails and which remain disengaged. Use this intelligence to further target and personalise content to improve results among high-potential segments.

Analytics also reveal optimal send times, weekdays versus weekends, and frequency for each audience—extremely useful for automating sends when customers tend to engage most. Ongoing review ensures your approach aligns with how contacts best receive value. The metrics close the feedback loop.


The takeaway

When leveraged effectively, email marketing levels the playing field, allowing digital entrepreneurs to reach target customers cost-efficiently at scale. However, failing to get ahead of common deliverability, list growth, content relevance, and optimisation obstacles squanders that potential. By proactively applying preventive best practices outlined here, inbox delivery and campaign performance become attainable realities despite constraints.

For greater assurance in your email marketing strategies, you can also partner with ecommerce specialists from Splash to provide you with the best digital marketing service solutions. Getting advice from industry experts can help set up your digital business to succeed.