Email marketing has become one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website and boost your sales. Anyone who is looking for tips to improve their practices can turn to the web for helpful advice. Unfortunately, not all advice that people have gathered on email marketing is correct anymore. There are many common myths associated with email marketing that are preventing companies from truly gaining the most from this marketing medium. After speaking with some of our team at BlueHornet, I hope to debunk some of these myths and help you get back on the path to maximizing your email marketing efforts.
Myth 1: Too many emails will irritate your customers.
There seems to be a sentiment amongst people that sending frequent emails to your customers or subscribers is the wrong thing to do. And that by doing this, your subscribers are tuning out your messages. This is not true, to a point. Each business needs to find the right email frequency, which may be tough and a little nerve-racking to do. But there have been studies that show the majority of consumers average less than six branded email messages per day. When crafting your emails, ensure the body content and subject lines are fresh, varied, personalized to the recipient and not spammy. Then pay attention to the opt-out rates of your messages. If you see a jump in the number of people asking to be removed from your emails, you’ll need to make changes…quickly. And remember that an easy way to save subscribers that are considering opting out is to give them an option to reduce the number of emails they receive rather than unsubscribe altogether.
Myth 2: Testing a small percentage of a list will show the effectiveness of a message.
When testing an email message, the statistical sampling must be large enough that the actions from the audience are an accurate portrayal of how the whole list might react. Unfortunately, I can’t just say that testing a set percentage of a list will always produce accurate results – because it won’t. There are simply too many variables unique to each email marketing campaign. But here is a simple rule to keep in mind. The large the test group, the more accurate your results will be. Don’t have a marketing analyst to give you a deep numbers dive? Don’t worry! There are also some great online tools to help you determine how to best size your test sample.
Myth 3: There is no need to clean up an email list. If the address is old or defunct, it’ll just bounce.
Do not fall into this trap! Any inactive addresses from email campaigns should always be filtered out on a regular basis. You don’t need to completely remove them from your database, but you should stop sending email to them. Immediately. Repeatedly sending emails to inactive addresses could cause your ISP to blacklist your domain, and you’ll really be in trouble. Once you’re blacklisted, it can take an extremely long time and a lot of effort to be removed. So keep those lists as clean and updated as possible.
Myth 4: All emails need to be short and to the point.
Not all emails need to be constructed in the same cookie-cutter manner. While some should be short and sweet, it’s ok for some emails to be lengthier. If the product you are featuring in your email is complex, your subscribers may expect you to include a larger amount of content and will be perfectly happy to scroll to learn more or see additional content. Regardless of the length of your email marketing messages, there are common components that every email should contain. For example, include an extremely obvious, clear call to action and always, always, always place it above the fold.
Myth 5: Open rate is an extremely effective metric to monitor
Many email marketers place a lot of credence into the open rates of their messages. These are typically the basis for results of A/B tests and are seen as good indicators of whether or not your email was effective. This is not the case. Open rates can be extremely misleading for a few reasons:
1 – Most email providers indicate a message is opened once the images are downloaded. Any subscriber on your mailing list using Outlook has images blocked by default. Outlook users can also view a message in their preview panes without ever clicking to open the message. In this instance, your email was read, but the open rate doesn’t accurately reflect that.
2 – Recently Google announced that it will automatically display images within Gmail. Prior to this change, image blocking was a very common practice among email providers. We have our images blocked by default so all of the people who message me daily might be thinking that I’m not reading all of their messages.
3 – The standard default for many mobile devices is to display email messages in text format. Again, because images are not downloaded, open rates will reflect a much lower number than is accurate.
Therefore, instead of relying on open rates, consider looking at more concise tracking options like click through rates and number of new leads generated. These more accurately reflect what subscribers are doing with your messages and will give you a better idea both about what was effective and what needs to be changed.
There isn’t a standard template that will ensure every email marketing program is successful. Many of the common “no-no’s” don’t apply to everyone. Thus, it’s crucial to the success of your email marketing campaign to take the time to learn what your subscribers want and how you can reach them most effectively.
Do you know of other myths about email marketing? Let us know in the comments section below!
5 Myths of Email Marketing