Email marketing has been around for a long time, and consequently, people have developed a lot of opinions about what works and what doesn’t. However, as the digital marketing landscape has changed, some things about email marketing that used to be true are no longer so. And there are some things that have always been myths, but still persist today.
Here, let’s debunk the six biggest email marketing myths out there.
1. Email Marketing is Dead
As more digital channels have emerged through which you can reach clients, there have been whispers going around that email marketing is dead.
In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Marketers still see a great deal of value in email marketing, and are still investing heavily in this tactic. According to surveys from HubSpot, 93 percent of B2B marketers use email to distribute content. On the B2C side of things, 59 percent of consumers report that information in an email has influenced their purchasing decisions. And everyone is on email. Ninety-nine percent of consumers check their email every single day (and most report doing so multiple times a day).
2. Frequent Emails Feel Spammy
Some marketers are hesitant to send regular emails at the risk of annoying their mailing list. And it’s true, for most consumers, their inboxes are crowded places. A survey from Marketing Charts found that the average person receives 416 marketing emails each month.
But just because others are sending emails doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send any (or only send one once in a blue moon). The key to avoiding that spammy feel is ensuring that your content is always valuable. If you send emails that add value, provide information, and are actually helpful to your audience, you’re a lot more likely to see strong open rates and a reduction in unsubscribes.
If you’re looking for tips on creating engaging content, check out this post.
3. Unsubscribes Are a Bad Thing
No one enjoys rejection, and an unsubscribe can certainly sting. But the reality is that unsubscribes are not necessarily a bad thing. A clean email list is key to staying on ISPs’ good sides, and that’s what will keep your emails from being barred from inboxes.
You can do things on your end to clean your list—like scanning for typos and giving people an option to re-opt-in if they’ve been unresponsive to your recent email marketing efforts—but unsubscribes are a way for you to get your customers to do some of the heavy lifting for you. An unsubscribe is someone saying they’re no longer interested in your content, and that could be for any number of reasons.
If you see a large number of unsubscribes all at the same time, that might be indicative of a problem with your content, but if you see people leave your list from time to time, that’s simply making space for a higher open rate overall and a better relationship with ISPs.
4. There is a Magic Day and Time to Send Emails
Some marketers swear by sending emails at a very specific time. If it’s not Tuesday at 10am, they won’t send an email!
There has been a lot of research over the years, with marketers trying to find that magic time when open rates will be high and conversions will abound. But these studies have been less than definitive, and so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to timing emails.
It’s certainly true that some audiences will engage with emails at a higher rate at certain times of day, but that will vary from business to business, so trying to stick with some antiquated idea about the one day and time you can send an email won’t serve you.
Instead, do some experimenting, send emails at several days and times throughout the week and see which ones get the highest engagement. Then aim for that time again, and see if you can repeat your results. Be willing to mix things up, and don’t be afraid to send emails out more than once a week (see point 2 above).
5. Long Subject Lines Spell Trouble
For a long time, marketers were told to shy away from subject lines that were too long to be fully displayed in someone’s inbox. That sounds on the surface like a sensible piece of advice, but it turns out that a recent study from Marketing Sherpa busted this long-held belief.
While email subject lines that fall into that “sweet spot” of 41-50 characters performed well, it’s actually longer subject lines with 61-70 characters that did the best. So don’t stress about fitting all of your email subject lines into those narrow parameters. Instead, work to create a subject that is attention-grabbing and really tells readers what they can expect to find inside the email.
6. Avoid Repeat Messages
Super Office reports that the average open rate for emails in 2018 was just shy of 25 percent. That means that three out of four people on your list are not seeing any given email. Some people won’t read a given email because the subject line doesn’t interest them, but others will miss it for completely innocuous reasons. They may have been busy that day or accidentally deleted the message.
Whatever the case may be, for your most important content, it’s okay to send the same email copy twice in order to get the highest engagement. This isn’t a tactic you should take with every email message, but it can actually be valuable when used sparingly.
There are a few caveats here. First, don’t send the same email on the same day. Instead, wait several days before you resend it. You should also switch up the subject line, so that those who wrote the email off the first time because of its subject line might open it this time, and so that those who opened it the first time around aren’t put off by getting the exact same email twice.
When it comes to email marketing, we’ve been told a lot of stories over the years about what works and what doesn’t. Fortunately, it continues to be a popular marketing channel that gets a lot of attention and research, and that allows marketers to let go of old myths and learn new tricks.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Email Marketing.