Our top 3 email marketing myth busters

When it comes to email marketing there are still some myths that surround our practices. It can be difficult to know what are the best options for you and your business.

Creating a campaign centred around old practices can be damaging to your email marketing ROI and may even result in you losing subscribers. To stop this negative impact on your business we have collected a top 3 of the most common myths surrounding email marketing and what the current best practices are.

1. Email marketing myth: ‘It’s all about the open rates’

When email marketing first came about an email was just an electronic version of physical mail. It performed a basic function and followed the old school thinking of ‘batch and blast’. Open rates were the first step in a chain of events that would indicate your campaign’s success. So, they were a good measurable result that what you were doing was a step in the right direction.

This has now, of course, changed. What about this change? Attitudes changed when user behaviours changed. The internet is a liquid state that is in constant flux. As users became more sophisticated so did the campaigns that were targeted towards them. Email marketers now send out series of campaigns, instead of one. Emails are targeted, segmented, personalised and a part of marketing automation. 1-2-1 emails are used. Even large scale campaigns can target individuals so that they receive completely unique data-driven content.

This new interactivity and flexibility means that open rates are only one part of a larger picture. For example, when emails are read on mobile devices images are not always displayed and therefore opens not tracked. The titles of emails have also changed user’s attitudes. Offers, confirmations and notifications can easily be identified in the subject. That means users may not open their email at all for it to be of value to them.

It’s also important to remember that email marketing engagement is linked to open rates. For example you may have a user open your email, which would contribute to your open rates figures, however it doesn’t necessarily mean they are clicking through and engaging with your product/company. This feed of slightly false information can skew your campaign’s numbers, making the campaign appear more successful than it is.

Engagement can also happen when someone doesn’t open an email at all. The user might not have time to read the whole email, but they have seen the title of the email and it reminds them about your products/services later. These types of conversions could have been missed simply because they didn’t open the email. So, open rates are an important piece of information, but they’re not the only thing that reflects a campaign’s success.

2. Email marketing myth: ‘Size doesn’t matter’

Sometimes sending information in bulk can be seen as a negative. However, in the world of email marketing ‘bulk’ means ‘volume’ and volume means more eyes on your campaign. The important thing to remember here, as it is with so many things on the internet, is relevancy.

Sending out a highly targeted campaign to 5.000, with a 60% open rate (3.000 openers) will be more effective than sending out a non-targeted campaign to 30.000 with a 15% open rate (4.500 openers). You want to target information that your users want and then send it to as many relevant & interested people as possible.

Doing the opposite of this and sending out masses of emails to people that aren’t interested in your message or information will cause issues. It will result in complaints, unsubscribes, a smaller list and poor deliverability. What’s important is sending out quality content and then improving your data off the back of this. This will help you to use your data in a more intelligent and effective manner.

Solely focusing on size or volume is wrong – so make sure you are smart with your data and think about the end user. Volume and relevancy is a recipe for success. Read this helpful guide on list growth, so you can see how to implement it in your own strategy.

3. Email marketing myth: ‘Send fewer emails’

Relevancy works best alongside frequency. Once you’ve targeted your audience and identified what content or offers are relevant to them it’s also important to come up with a re-mailing campaign. Re-mailing is when you send the same messages more than once. Re-mailing ensures that your list of recipients are reminded of your offers and promotions to keep your brand at the front of your mind. It encourages engagement with your brand.

For example, if you have a current campaign that uses one welcome email, try using a campaign with 2-3 emails. This acts a helpful prompt and it won’t be seen as spamming as the user has shown interest in your product or service already. It’s important to remember to match frequency with relevancy.

If you decide to change your campaign and make emails more frequent make sure you have data to support your decision, or it may hold a negative impact. Re-posting has been shown to work in social.

Michael Barber

Michael works at Communicator as Head of Marketing Services and is responsible for delivering customer research and developing customer centric propositions, as well as managing all elements of the Marketing function. Michael has extensive experience in the software industry, previously working for a leading international SAAS provider where he was responsible for launching their flagship SAAS.