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7 email marketing myths that may surprise you

Author's avatar By Mark Brownlow 24 Oct, 2013
Essential Essential topic

...and what they mean for your own emails

Email marketing has been around a while. Anything with a long history inevitably picks up its own set of truths, half-truths, beliefs, myths, best practices, rules, guidelines and even jokes.

A new infographic from Alchemy Worx highlights seven myths. Here's what they look like, followed by my quick review of the practical implications for your own email efforts.

Email marketing myths

My take on these myths... Yours?

As you might expect, there are plenty of nuances when it comes to analysing the implications of these myths, but here is one simple takeaway to go with each.

Myth 1: Consumers are drowning in emails from trusted brands

If people aren't getting that much brand email, then getting a piece of that inbox pie is critical.

Are you making special efforts to promote your list to those who already have a good (customer) relationship with you?

Exploit that wider relationship to get the opt in, for example by promoting your emails during or after transactional processes (such as on invoices and receipts or as part of the online shopping cart).

Myth 2: Tuesday 3pm is the best time to send emails

Be careful with any best practices based on averages from a mix of senders.

Use your common sense and consider best practices on such things as time-of-day and day-of-week as guidelines for choosing promising alternatives to test.

Myth 3: Stop sending to inactive users after six months

Be careful how you define inactive subscribers. Many responses to email take place in ways that are not captured in traditional email metrics.

Can you cross-reference your email results with everything else you know about the customer? That will stop you removing good customers from the positive influence of your email messaging, just because they don't happen to click on those mails.

Myth 4: Consumers are trigger happy with the spam button

Don't misinterpret this one. No, people aren't trigger happy when it comes to spam buttons and legitimate brand email. Most people won't hit you, either. But they will do so happily if you give them enough reason.

If you step outside the boundaries of the email relationship, expect to get bitten.

Myth 5: If brands send more email, consumers will ignore more

Don't get misled by changes to rates. All things being equal, if you double your frequency and average click rates drop 20% that's a win.

1000 mails/month at 10% CTR = 100 clicks

2000 mails/month at 8% CTR = 160 clicks

The converse is also true. If you remove 60% of your list and see click rates double, you're actually losing.

1000 mails at 10% CTR = 100 clicks

400 mails at 20% CTR = 80 clicks

Myth 6: Short subject lines give better results

Say what you need to say to maximise the attention, interest and impact generated by your subject line. Then say the same thing using fewer characters (that's one of the arts of subject line writing).

There's a key difference between just keeping it short and keeping it as short as possible. Sometimes you have to (should) use more words to get that impact.

Myth 7: Subject lines cause spam filtering

Don't discard powerful subject lines because you worry certain words might cause your email to trigger a filter. Some filters still look at subject line content, but other aspects of your email and sending practices play a far greater role in the filtering process.

However, while automated filters may no longer heavily penalise "spammy" subject lines, people might do so. If your subject line looks spammy, it might get labelled and ignored as such by subscribers. Testing is important here.

Author's avatar

By Mark Brownlow

Mark Brownlow is a former email copywriter and publisher of the retired Email Marketing Reports site. He now works as a lecturer and writer. Connect with him via Lost Opinions.

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