Seven Myths of Email Marketing
Do you conduct email marketing campaigns or have you completely shifted to social media marketing?
Many marketers swear by the power and effectiveness of social media marketing. As much as they’re not wrong, email still has a place in the marketing field.
It may seem old-fashioned in this age of instant messaging and social media influencers.
However, emails are still being used for communication. As such, marketing can be done through them.
A big challenge is all the negative talk about how ineffective email marketing is. It’s said that it takes too much effort, emails have low open rates, you never get to know whether the email was received etc.
Are these claims true? And if they are, are there any benefits which can encourage you to overlook them?
EMAIL MARKETING MYTHS
This article looks at some of the most common statements said about email marketing. You may be familiar with some or all of them and maybe desire to know just what the truth is.
As you will see, just because a statement is popular doesn’t mean it’s true. Even when it seems factual.
We’re referring to these statements as myths because we have seen the error in them.
We show you why they are wrong and help you see why email marketing is still able to get you more sales.
1. The fewer the emails, the better
It’s a fact that emails are a popular means of communication. As a replacement of the old snail mail, emails have done a good job in making communication faster.
According to Statista, there were approximately 281 billion emails sent and received daily in 2018.
This number is expected to rise to over 347 billion daily mails in 2022.
Going by data from The Radicati Group, email use is increasing. From 2015 to projection for 2019, both users and the number of accounts per user are increasing.
Obviously, email communication is increasing. People expect to send and receive more emails.
Coming to marketing, you’ve heard that you should not send many emails. The reason has been that many emails are simply too much for customers.
And what’s the risk?
There is indeed a connection between the number of emails sent and the number of unsubscriptions. The connection is quite direct. With more emails, unsubscriptions increase.
Although this is a fact, it doesn’t paint the real picture.
The truth about the situation is quite different. The biggest reason for unsubscriptions is not the number of emails but the content of the emails. Your email marketing can be rejected not because of the frequency, but the quality of information you provide.
Think of the reason emails are marked spam. Often, it’s either because the email comes from an unknown sender or is a scam email. But if someone subscribed to your newsletters then receives many emails from you, they would likely just ignore them.
Customers don’t get moved by the number of emails or sales people who speak with them. It is the quality of the conversation that makes the difference. You don’t convince someone to buy your product by talking too much. You do so by making him see the benefits of the product.
As such, you can send your customers more emails. The only thing you have to do is make the message relevant.
2. Unsubscribers pose a threat to your campaign’s success
Following the myth that fewer emails are better is this one about unsubscribers. It has been said that the worst thing to happen to your email campaign is people unsubscribing from your list. Apparently, this has the capacity of causing serious damage.
Is it true?
The reasoning is that if people unsubscribe from your email campaigns, then you will reach fewer people. From the lower reach you will end up with reduced revenues. Therefore, it’s best if no-one opts out.
But just as with the above myth, this is also misleading. Do not fear the effect of unsubscribers as they can’t cause you any significant harm.
But perhaps more important is the fact that you actually need to frequently “clean up” your email list. Email lists are often full of invalid email addresses.
When you send emails to those addresses, you get little response because some of them don’t exist.
Someone may have wrongly typed the email addresses. Some people may also have decided to become dormant and unresponsive to your communication. For that reason, you need to occasionally find out who are really with you.
With that in mind, can there be anything better than customers unsubscribing? Won’t that make your work of cleaning the list easier?
Keep providing the option to unsubscribe and stop seeing those actions as a bad thing.
3. Never send the same email twice
This one sounds very logical. It’s also easy to embrace it unless you consider the reason why you would want to do the opposite. There might be a need to send the same email twice and the reason may be solid.
But for the caution to make sense, it’s assumed that sending the same email twice is a repetition.
The second email will not do anything much since the reader already got the first one.
Indeed, if you were to send someone an email and they read it, then you send another one, what happens?
If it’s the first time it’s happening, they might think of it as a system error.
But if it happens regularly, then it could be frowned upon as spamming your customers.
However, what happens when the first email wasn’t read? Maybe it never even got delivered.
Maybe it was part of many emails selected together and marked as read without really being read.
This happens especially when someone has many unread emails and doesn’t think they are very important.
In that case, re-sending the same email will give the recipient an opportunity to read your email. It will now be among a few which won’t be tiring to go through.
Considering this situation shows a clear example of when it might be a good idea to re-send the same email again. But even as you do that, there are some things that are worth taking into account.
- Re-send only certain emails – having decided that you’ll be re-sending emails, you can’t be doing so for every email. You’ll have to choose which ones to re-send and which ones not to. Re-sending all of the previously-sent emails will be spamming your customers. And that’s bad.
Choose the emails which are critical to your overall campaign. If your strategy was to send three emails, each building on the previous one, you can send the last one twice.
This will be the one intended to generate leads or has the link to your landing page.
This takes care of a situation where the first two emails could have been seen but not read. With this last one, maybe the different subject line, assuming they’ve all been building on one another, will get the customer’s attention.
- Re-send after a few days – do not send an email today then re-send it tomorrow. Do that twice and your customers will start wondering whether all is well. They might start deleting your emails haphazardly not sure which is the original and which one is the repeat email.
Since many email servers are configured to retry sending a failed email, you’ll not go wrong if you wait for 3 days. In case you have a means to know which addresses failed, you can try those ones.
Otherwise, you can send to all of your customers.
As long as this doesn’t happen daily, you’ll be fine.
- Make small changes – as much as you now know you can re-send emails, it can be wise to make slight changes to the original one. For instance, you can change the subject line. The change shouldn’t be very big; subtle enough to make a distinction but still clear on the message.
You can also change the email template a little bit. These are efforts to ensure the email doesn’t look too much like a previously-received email.
4. It’s all about open rates
Generally speaking, marketers understand the importance of their emails getting delivered and being read. This is the only way they can tell that their messages have reached the intended people.
Without being read, the customers or prospects will not have the information they were intended to have. This will simply mean that the company has products or services but no-one knows about them.
Although emails are expected to be opened, not all of them are. Some are deleted without being opened. Others don’t even get delivered into the inbox.
But is opening the email the biggest achievement for a marketer? It’s not.
If you focus too much on open rates and ignore other metrics, you may get mislead by the numbers you collect. There are at least two alternative metrics you should evaluate your performance by:
- Lead generation – every marketing campaign has a goal. There is the achievement expected to be made. Developing and sustaining a relationship with a customer takes time and effort. This process is called the customer lifecycle.
The process has several stages and one of them is lead generation. This stage is important because it’s what brings in the person.
It’s like setting up a shop then a buyer walks in to buy something. Managing to draw him in is a big achievement.
If your intention is to generate leads, then measuring the number of leads generated would be the best metric. If the customer followed the link to the website to check out your products, then you have made considerable progress. Merely opening the email isn’t enough progress.
- Conversion – this is the ultimate in any marketing campaign. The reason you do all the marketing you do is to convert. You intend to turn leads to loyal customers. And that isn’t automatic.
Knowing exactly what you want to achieve, it becomes easier to measure your success. As such, measuring the open rates only will likely give you an incomplete picture. You won’t be able to see how much of your efforts have paid off.
5. The best day to send email is Tuesday
Many studies have been made in an effort to know how to make the most out of email marketing. Among the most popular questions has always been about the best day to send emails.
Which day sees the highest open rates?
From a lot of email data, the results have shown that Tuesday tops the list of days. Thursday and Wednesday have also been seen to be days when people open their mails.
And with that, it has been concluded that to get people reading your emails, you should send them on Tuesday.
It’s however interesting to see how despite the data-backed conclusion, no-one sees the lack of logic in this conclusion. It is simply impractical. Here are reasons why.
- If most emails are opened on Tuesdays, does it mean they were sent the same day? – this is very unlikely. The studies seem to ignore the fact that not everyone opens their emails the same day they receive them. Some even take days to do so.
If someone doesn’t regularly communicate via email, they may even check once a week. Maybe on Fridays. And the data shows that there are people who open their emails on Fridays too.
As such, advising people to send them on that day is misleading. Consider the person who receives 30 emails per day. If a week’s emails were sent on Tuesday, that would mean 210 emails received in one day. Will he be able to read them all and respond accordingly?
- If everyone sends emails on Tuesdays, what happens to the internet traffic? – the internet is like a big highway of many interconnections. Internet services are often charged in terms of traffic allowed.
Let’s use our above example recipient of 30 emails per day. Think of what would happen if a week’s emails, 210 in total came in on Tuesday while he’s still doing his normal browsing. Won’t his network connection suffer?
And what if this was the case the whole world over? Whereas email servers can receive many emails per second, the network may have limitations. Even computer performance will be affected.
- Should the industries which thrive over the weekend also send emails on Tuesdays? – think of the retail industry. Although shopping takes place every day of the week, weekends are peak times.
To maximize on the weekend sales, offers will be promoted through out the week. Come Friday, the hype created around the offers will be taken a notch higher. If you are a retail store manager, are you to send your marketing emails only on Tuesday so as to have them opened?
Will you have generated enough buzz for the weekend sale if you only sent emails on one day of the week? And just how many will you send on that day?
It’s clear that the data is right and the conclusion is right too. But the advice coming from the conclusion is wrong. There is just no way marketers in the whole world will send emails on Tuesday.
The retail industry is one of the most active in terms of marketing. They definitely cannot afford to follow this advice. Neither can anyone else.
One of the reasons marketing happens throughout the day is because brands need to be in the consumers’ minds. That is why marketing is important. Get forgotten by the consumers and you risk being overtaken by the competition.
6. Avoid “spam” keywords
Some words are synonymous with marketing. Words such as “FREE,” “DISCOUNT,” “OFFER,” “SAVE” and the like. These words will rarely miss in any marketing communication.
Being in virtually all marketing material, these words have ended up being misused by scammers. As they try to entice victims, they use these words in emails.
Many started being wary of such words.
Old spam filters used to watch out for such words. If working on auto-pilot, they would immediately send the email to the spam folder or delete it. That’s how traditional spam filters protected their owners.
On the basis of this, the advice goes that you should avoid these words.
Such advice doesn’t take into account how spam filters work. If you look at your inbox, you’ll notice many marketing emails containing these words.
Did they get flagged as spam? No.
Did you see the “spam” words and rushed to delete the emails? No.
Yet you’re supposed to believe that using those words will get your emails deleted or flagged as spam.
The same way those emails got to your inbox, yours will also get to your customers’ inboxes.
Do not be stressed out by this. Technology has advanced and today’s spam filters are smart enough to identify spam from legitimate marketing email.
7. Email marketing is dying
And now to the last myth we’ll look at. This statement has been thrown around for some time too.
Could it have come from the social media world in an attempt to quickly overthrow email as a marketing channel?
Indeed social media changed the way marketing used to be done. It also has its share of the market. You can’t successfully do marketing in the current digital world without using social media.
That said, social media has not replaced email marketing. And it may not replace it any time soon, if at all it’s to happen. The reason is simple: businesses cannot abandon email for business communication then go for social media.
Social media is too social for serious business transactions.
Sure, businesses do make transactions on social media but there are limits to it.
As long as businesses are communicating through email, the place for email marketing still exists.
This means that email marketing has potential that’s not yet tapped into.
With such numbers, there is no death in email marketing. None at all. In fact, businesses should be quick to invest more resources in it.
Coming from numerous conversations based on studies done, these myths are powerful. And the presence of data make them seem accurate and authoritative.
However, it’s always wise to ask yourself some questions about the conclusions and advice given.
Don’t just follow the popular route. Instead, do some of your own research. Analyze the information provided and make conclusions which make sense for your business.
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