silhouette of a stressed marketer's head

Email Marketing and Stress: What Makes Us Feel the Pressure?

Every job has its ups and downs. Even professional cuddlers, water slide testers, and panda bear nannies have bad days now and then. But how stressed out are email marketers?

What kinds of frustrations and worries come with jobs in email marketing? How can we handle those stressors and reduce anxiety in our working lives?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we were curious to know how an email marketing career impacts stress levels. So, we partnered with our friends at Ascend2 to conduct The Email Marketing and Stress Survey.

Previous studies on stress in the workplace indicate that marketing jobs, in general, tend to be fairly stressful. In 2017, the HR platform Paychex found those who work in advertising and marketing reported being stressed out nearly four days out of the workweek (3.84 days/week). That topped the list of all industries.

A separate 2019 Paychex survey found 69.6% of marketers were dealing with workplace burnout. That put marketers right in the middle of the pack, just below Transportation (75%) and above Government (67.4%).

Are email marketers different? Let’s dig into the results of our survey on email marketing and stress with Ascend2.

The Email Marketing and Stress Survey

First, the survey asked around 100 email marketers if they agreed with the following statement:

“As an email marketer, I consider my job to be stressful.”

From a big-picture perspective, 71% of email marketers agree that their jobs are stressful. However, only 16% strongly agree with that statement. Just over a quarter of those surveyed disagreed with the statement.

pie chart results of email marketing and stress survey
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Bigger companies appear to lead to higher stress levels for email marketers. The survey found 75% of respondents at enterprise companies (500+ employees) called their jobs stressful while 68% of both mid-size companies (50 to 500 employees) and small businesses (less than 50) agreed with the statement.

It seems responsibility also plays a role in email marketing stress levels. 33% of survey participants in leadership positions (C-suite, executives, owners) strongly agreed that their jobs are stressful. On the other hand, just 12% of non-management email professionals strongly agreed.

execs vs non-management stress
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What causes stress in email marketing?

Next, we asked survey participants to identify the aspects of email marketing that caused them the most stress.

Members of the Email on Acid team put their heads together to create a list of 11 stressors. It wasn’t easy. The list could have been a lot longer. But we made sure there were options that are common concerns for different email marketing roles, including developers, specialists, and managers.

  1. Data collection and list segmentation
  2. Email client rendering discrepancies
  3. Spam/deliverability issues
  4. Maintaining/improving engagement
  5. Hitting “send” on a new campaign
  6. Finding quality content/creative assets
  7. Lack of resources/help
  8. Complying with privacy laws
  9. Mistakes seen by subscribers or leadership
  10. Coding/developing emails
  11. Dealing with marketing technology

Respondents were asked to pick up to three of the preceding options as the most stressful aspects of email marketing. Here’s how the results panned out between different organizational sizes:

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You’ll notice there are some interesting differences between the aspects of email marketing that enterprise organizations find stressful as opposed to smaller businesses.

For SMBs, “Maintaining/improving engagement” was by far the most-cited stressor. The survey found 71% of those at smaller companies found it to be a top cause of stress in their jobs.

Enterprise organizations are most stressed by “Dealing with marketing technology” (44%) as well as “Spam/deliverability issues” (41%).

When we segmented the results by job role (Executives vs. Non-Management), executives were more likely to choose marketing tech as well as data collection and list segmentation as stressors. Non-management email marketers seem most concerned with email engagement and the ability to find quality content and creative assets.

Interestingly, an equal percentage of these two segments chose “Spam/deliverability issues” (33%) and a “Lack of resources/help” (27%) as stressful aspects of their work.

email marketing stress chart for execs vs non-managers
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Mental health resources for stressful times

Mental health is a serious issue. Experts say stress has become an epidemic in America, leading to a reduced life expectancy and increases in substance abuse.

For many people around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic took stress levels to new highs. Everyone is still adapting and even email marketers must adjust to the new normal.

If you’re dealing with debilitating anxiety and depression that goes beyond the challenges of everyday life and work, please reach out to someone for help. We’ve listed a few helpful links below.

If you feel you’re able to tackle stress on your own, make sure you are taking care of yourself physically and mentally. That means focusing on things like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest.

Breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness practices are also very useful. Research shows gratitude helps reduce stress. So, make sure you’re being thankful for the good things in your life! Email marketing may be stressful at times, but very few of us have had to deal with the level of stress that healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For most email marketers, the transition to working at home was easy. For some of us, it will remain that way. Now it’s all about finding balance, learning how to create work-life harmony, and ensuring we step away from our jobs when the time is right.

Resources to reduce email marketing stress

Let’s be real … email marketing will never be a “stress-free job.” However, we can all stress less when we use the right tools and take some good advice.

Here are some helpful resources from Email on Acid:

Is maintaining an engaged list is one of your top email marketing stressors? Check out the recording of our webinar: Engaging Email Content: How to Earn Attention and Drive Action.

Does researching and implementing marketing tech stress you out? Download our free white paper: Getting the Most from Marketing Technology. Find out how best-in-class marketers approach Martech implementation.

Do you need to ask for more email marketing budget to address a lack of resources and help? Our CEO has some solid advice for how to approach the people holding the purse strings.

Are you one of the many email marketers who stress out about spam? Email on Acid’s Email Deliverability features help you reach more inboxes and identify issues before they become bigger problems.

If you need enterprise email marketing solutions? Is your email team growing along with the complexity of your program? Our Email Team Management features help you stay organized and in control. We’ve also compiled a list of some other excellent tools for remote email teams on our blog.

Meditation and yoga for stressed-out email marketers

Learn how to calm your mind and body with a free mediation and yoga session from our friends at FitPros. Check out this free video from Email on Acid's Splat Fest event. Watch Mindfulness for Marketers.

Wellness experts for yoga and meditation sessions

Simplify complexities and reduce stress

There were a few notable options that landed closer to the bottom of our list of email marketing stressors:

  • Hitting “send” on a new campaign.
  • Email client rendering discrepancies.
  • Mistakes seen by subscribers or leadership.

That doesn’t necessarily mean these aspects of email marketing aren’t stressful. Who among us hasn’t felt a little anxious before launching an important campaign? We like to think these aspects ranked lower because pre-deployment testing platforms, like Email on Acid, are making the idea of “send button anxiety” a thing of the past.

Results from Email Errors: The Definitive Report found that 43% of email marketers are using a state-of-the-art pre-deployment testing tool. That percentage jumps to 54% for large email teams.

If you still worry about problems such as how your campaigns display in Outlook, an accidental profanity in email copy, or email designs that are inaccessible to your subscribers, Email on Acid can help. Campaign Precheck, our automated email checklist, is designed to do the stressing out for you.

Use the Email on Acid platform to double-check everything, hit the send button with confidence, and deliver email perfection to every subscriber, every time!

What are your thoughts?

What do you think of the results from The Email Marketing and Stress Survey? Can you relate or are there other factors of working in email that come with stress?

Share your opinion with us! Leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going.

Don’t guess, test

Email clients are constantly changing, which is why it’s important to test your email every time; what worked yesterday might not work today. Sinch Email on Acid offers unlimited email testing in major mailbox providers and the most popular devices. Test 100+ options as much as you want – there’s no limit. That means you can make sure your email looks good before it hits the inbox. Want to see for yourself? Take advantage of our free, seven-day trial.

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