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Email Marketing: 7 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

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It may seem like email is a relic in this new “social media world.” However, businesses would be making a huge mistake to ignore it. 

Email marketing is one of the most (if not the most) effective marketing tactics that you have at your disposal.

That’s precisely the reason that I cover email marketing in the first two issues of [CSH] Premium (you can get an instant download of the first letter which shows you how to set up your website to build your list for you).

Its effectiveness combined with its affordability (it’s really freaking cheap as far as marketing expenses go) combine to give it the highest average ROI of pretty much any other marketing option.

In fact, studies have shown that email marketing brings in an average of over $40 for every $1 spent. And keep in mind that these are averages. Yes, this takes into account sales in all sorts of price ranges. But you also have to keep in mind how good the average company is at email marketing (even if they are doing it in the first place).

That is why I’m happy that Alchemy Worx put out this infographic dispelling seven myths about email marketing. However, nothing is really as black and white as they might make it seem (like all infographics).

Below are the myths and my commentary followed by the infographic…

Myth 1: Consumers are Drowning in Emails…

…from trusted brands.

That is really the key point to this myth.

In general, yes, people are drowning in more emails than ever. But how much of that is SPAM?

I delete a ton of email on a daily basis from sources I don’t know. But when I see a trusted brand or individual sending me an email, I make sure to read it (at least most of the time).

The truth is, most trusted businesses or brands aren’t even sending out emails. At least not on a regular basis. So no…people aren’t drowning in emails from trusted sources.

Ironically….email is one of the best ways to build up trust in the first place. It’s a perpetual trust and sales machine. So don’t ignore it!

Myth 2: The Best Time to Send an Email is…

The infographic mentions a certain day and time.

I’ve seen different studies that point to other times that are the “best” time to send an email.

However, there is no one universal “best.” And if everyone was sending their emails out at the same time then consumers would be bombarded during that time frame…meaning it would probably be a better strategy to send during a different time to get more attention.

In marketing, when everyone zigs, you should zagClick to Tweet This

The truth is, there are too many factors to come up with a “best” time that is really appropriate for everyone. Test it yourself and see what’s best for you.

Moreover, you shouldn’t limit yourself to what the stats tell you is the “best.”

Email marketing expert Ben Settle has stated on several occasions that it’s nearly impossible to get a truly scientific test on emails. He was referring to subject lines (the same subject line might flop one day, but succeed the next time). But it certainly works for timing as well.

And the stats that follow this “myth” in the infographic show you why. Email opens don’t happen instantly after you click the “send” button. And purchases certainly don’t happen as soon as the act of opening the email occurs.

Don’t bog yourself down on the issue of timing. Rather, focus on sending emails on a regular basis.

Myth 3: Stop Sending to “Inactive” Users

There is a common belief that you should “cleanse” your email list every so often to get rid of subscribers that aren’t opening your emails.

This makes sense, of course. If they aren’t even opening your emails they aren’t likely to buy from you. And you are wasting valuable resources to keep them on your list.

However, the statistic in this infographic is quite significant. A fifth of all email openers during a year open an email after being inactive for 6 months. That’s pretty serious.

I like to take a different approach, though….try to reactivate subscribers who don’t open your emails.

You can do this….ironically…with an email.

I once sent out an email with the subject line “Should we break up?” to inactive subscribers. This reactivated a few…complete with apologies for not opening previous emails (not exactly what I was going for :) ).

Perhaps a middle ground is best here.

Myth 4: Consumers are Trigger Happy with the SPAM Button

According to Alchemy Worx, less than one subscriber in 2,000 will mark an email as SPAM.

This, of course, comes with a caveat.

The email has to come from a trusted source that they recognize. Otherwise you will get a higher percentage of complaints. But even still, if your email list is full of people who actively subscribed to your list (i.e. you’re not spamming!) the complaint percentage will be extremely low.

Myth 5: More Emails = More Ignoring

“More Emails” is subjective. If you are sending one email per year, then of course sending an email once per month will be a better option.

But the infographic here states that sending four emails per month (versus just one email per month) doubles opens and increases revenues.

That’s more like it.

In my opinion the one email per week is a minimum that companies should be doing. And I recently stated this in an interview for Intuit’s blog.

The author also cited MailChimp’s opinion on this:

Other experts, like those at email provider MailChimp, say sending marketing emails too frequently may cause people to engage with your messages less (or worse, unsubscribe), and they recommend sending messages less frequently.

There’s a serious issue with this statement…

I assume that engagement here refers to people opening and clicking links in the emails. This is a good thing to measure, of course. But the more important thing to measure is the sales that your emails produce (you’re running a business after all).

And it’s very possible that you can get lower open rates, or even click-through rates, but make more sales from the people that do take action.

Which would you rather have?

Also people unsubscribing from your list is not the end of the world. It’s just as important to clear your list of the wrong types of prospects as it is to attract the right ones.

Myth 6: Short Email Subject Lines are More Effective

I find that a lot of marketers actually subscribe to this idea.

It probably stems from reports about emails from marketers like Frank Kern, or even Barack Obama, that simple subject lines such as “Hey” get a huge response.

Simple subject lines like this can certainly be effective. After all, this is the type of subject line you would expect to see in an email from a friend.

But this infographic claims that there is a difference in the results these subject lines product. While the shorter subject lines (60 characters or less) may increase opens, the longer subject lines (70 characters or more) are actually correlated with more clicks.

Frankly, I think a lot of it depends on the content within the email once someone actually opens the thing.

Plus it raises some questions…

What happens between 60 characters and 70 characters?

Does the character count include spaces or not?

Personally I had some decent results with an email that had 61 characters (with spaces). That falls into this statistical gray zone :) .

Anyway, I think an approach where you mix up your subject lines is the best way to go.

Myth 7: Subject Lines Send Email to SPAM

There is a strongly held belief that your email’s subject line has a lot to do with whether it lands in someone’s inbox or their SPAM folder.

I’m sure that there are some red-flag words that are detrimental to your deliver (i.e. “viagra”). And services like Aweber (which I use) actually calculate a spam score for your subject line.

However, the truth is that this spam score isn’t always very accurate. In a group I’m in someone reported that Aweber gave them a double-digit spam score for a subject line. Any score below 5 is considered OK. So a double-digit score isn’t so great.

Either way, the guy tested the email and it went straight to the inbox.

What matters more than the subject line?

Email providers have gotten pretty good at tracking people’s patterns. And if they consistently open your emails, your emails will end up in their inbox.

Of course, that means that some valuable content might end up in your spam folder…or in Gmails new “Promotions” tab. But that’s a story for another day…

The Infographic…

And now, I present to you the infographic that spawned this post. While it’s not all as black-and-white as is presented here, if you read all the content that preceded then you’re safe…and can look at this in an objective light :) .

Once you’re done, if you’re ready to pump up your email marketing, make sure to check out the [CSH] Premium Letter.

Email Marketing Myths

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