11 Email Marketing Myths - Busted

Tami Wessley
Posted by Tami Wessley on July 3, 2013

Last week we talked about the Top 7 Reasons Email Marketing Fails. Since then, we’ve learned that there are still a lot of myths out there causing angst for marketers. Today, we’ll address 11 of them and bust ‘em wide open.

1. Only using trigger words like FREE or SEX send you right to spam 

Spam filters have become much more sophisticated at identifying spammers. If you’re a legitimate sender with a strong online reputation, trigger words may raise a couple red flags but won’t dramatically impact your deliverability. There are a few things to remember about spam filters:

a. Don’t be spammy but if you need to use a trigger word to communicate your message, use it!

b. Trigger words are only one part of the equation

c. Other spam filter equation components include no-nos like content that:

  • Talks about lots of money
  • Describes a “breakthrough”
  • Looks like a mortgage pitch
  • Contains “URGENT” matter needing attention
  • Offers a money-back guarantee
  • Includes over punctuation (like a crazy amount of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Colors font bright red or green
  • Includes sloppy HTML coding – usually happens when converting a word file to HTML
  • Is one big image – because filters can’t read images, they assume spammers are trying to trick them
  • Includes “test” in the subject line

2. Sending a lot of emails annoys customers

While it’s true that customers can be quickly turned-off by receiving continual stale, salesy or spammy emails, sending fresh, valuable content regularly not only keeps you top-of-mind but works to loosen the mindset of your customers and prospects because you’re familiar. Some recipients may unsubscribe but they will probably be those least apt to need your product or service

3. Always send on Tuesday

When email marketing was in its early stages, sending on Tuesdays was thought to be the perfect day. Recipients weren’t in Monday moods, had settled into the week and weren’t focused yet on the weekend. Today, we have measures and metrics to pinpoint the best days specifically for your message. The key is sending when your prospects and customers are ready to receive them. For example, if your list is made up of Type A personalities looking to get a jump on the week ahead, try sending on Sunday morning

4. Don’t send the same email twice and always create fresh copy

As much as we’d like it to be so, it’s wishful thinking to believe that everyone on a list will read every message you send the first time they get it. Resending your content to those who didn’t open the email the first time greatly increase your chances of catching a few more prospects with the right message at the right time. And, there’s no need to recreate the wheel with every send. If you’ve already talked about an offer but feel it’s important to share again – go for it. Chances are those who read it six months ago won’t remember the exact wording.

5. Emails should always be short and sweet and highly designed

Give your content a chance to tell the whole story. It’s true that less is usually more when it comes to email, but make sure you include enough detail to provide value. Use easy formatting elements like bullet points and subheads to break up big copy chunks. When it comes to design, keep it simple. Overly complicated or artsy emails make prospects feel marketed to instead of communicated with. Plus, email platforms like Outlook often don’t render images without specific user instruction and can mess up your intended flow.

6. Subject lines should be descriptive only

The CAN-SPAN Act clearly defines compliance guidelines for email. Subject lines and headers cannot be false, misleading, deceptive or fear inducing. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be interesting! Creative subject lines that make a reader look twice greatly improve the likelihood of opening the email.

7. Companies should send email newsletters instead of multiple emails

People like small digestible chunks of information. When was the last time you read 6-10 articles in one sitting? By segmenting your list and sending very specific information to just the right people, your message has a greater chance of being read and generating leads.

8. Everybody on your opt-in lists want to hear from you

Sometimes, sometimes not. Chances are, you’ve got recipients on your list who have never opened or clicked through any of your messages. Keep your list clean and up-to-date by removing those who’ve demonstrated disinterest and focus on those who’ve engaged at some level.

9. Unsubcribes are bad

Unsubcribes are natural list cleansers. As long as you don’t experience a significant spike, your unsubcribes are natural attrition of those that you don’t need to talk to further.

10. Email isn’t a lead generator

What?! First, you’ve likely got contacts who are prospects but not leads at this point; a well-segmented list has those contacts identified and will help convert those prospects into leads. Second, contacts have the ability to forward your message to others in their network they feel may be interested in talking to you.

11. Open rate is an important metric to track

Nope. Focus on click-throughs; opens mean nothing for two reasons. Most email users make use of their preview pane – preview panes automatically send back an “open” response to your email even if the content hasn’t been read. Conversely, if an email is opened but the images haven’t downloaded, an open response isn’t sent even if every word is absorbed.

Want email marketing to work harder for you? Download our 10 Ways to Make Your Email Marketing More Effective Tips Sheet.

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Topics: Marketing Automation, Email marketing

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