You might think that after 47 years, email marketing has been fully hashed out and we have decided upon a static, unchanging formula for success. Actually, no form of marketing stays the same year after year, because consumer habits and preferences change and we must change with them. The same is true for email marketing.
On top of that, we’ve uncovered a few email marketing misconceptions that result in common mistakes by business owners. If you’ve allowed any of these false beliefs to influence your marketing strategy, you could be missing your mark.
Myth #1: Email Isn’t Effective. Yes, social media and other channels are growing, but that doesn’t mean email is irrelevant these days. In fact, email marketing typically boasts a much higher consumption rate than social media. A well organized email campaign can yield open rates from 20-25% or higher, meaning that more than one in five recipients will open and read your email. Conversely, social media posts pale in comparison with engagement rates typically in the single digits. Email clearly is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Myth #2: A Bigger List is Better. Is it better to fire one hundred arrows into the dark, or wait until daylight and take a better aim? If you believe a bigger email list is better, you’re probably firing into the dark by sending emails that are never opened. Focus on building a list full of contacts who are likely to be interested in your product or service, and you will enjoy a much higher open rate – which is what really counts.
Myth #3: Frequent Emails Will Result in “Unsubscribes”. You definitely want to strike the right balance, so that your emails are frequent enough to be remembered, but not so frequent that they annoy your audience. But we’ve found that frequency of contact is not the sole factor that prompts recipients to hit the “unsubscribe” button.
In fact, it’s more important that you understand your audience, and consider their interests and past behaviors when sending emails. Most will not feel annoyed by a steady stream of information that they value; it’s when that information feels irrelevant that they become turned off. Segmenting your list according to criteria such as prior behavior, interests, location, and so on can help you send more carefully targeted emails. And your contacts are less likely to unsubscribe, regardless of frequency.
Myth #4: The Best Day and Time to Send an Email is ____. Various research studies by different groups have claimed to discover the best day and time to send your emails. MailChimp says it’s on Thursdays, whereas Hubspot claims Tuesday to be the optimal day to make contact. So which is it?
Actually, there is no single day that works best for every email marketing strategy. Depending upon your customer base, your industry, and general trends (which can change over time), the ideal time to send emails can vary. The key is to run a few tests, study your target base, and discover what works best for your own campaign.
Myth #5: Open Rates Depend Solely Upon Great Subject Lines. This isn’t so much a myth, as a misconception. Yes, a great subject line will contribute to higher open rates, but it is not the only contributing factor. Often we find that companies overlook the importance of the sender’s name. Changing to a “friendly” name – such as using your own name, rather than the company name – can increase your open rates. This is another factor that might require a few test runs and some analysis, to discover what works best for your customers.
So, did the truth about any of these myths surprise you? Have you been incorporating any of these beliefs into your email marketing strategy? If so, it’s probably time to rethink your strategy and possibly change things up a bit. Contact us to learn more about an up-to-date email marketing strategy that incorporates current consumer trends.