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Being a successful email marketer means constant testing and analysis, both before and after you send your campaigns. Finding patterns that work is essential. Data, tips and experience of fellow marketers can trigger your ideas, but if you want your messages to resonate with your audience - try everything out yourself.
Don’t just go in random directions without a critical look at how what you’re doing applies to what your subscribers want. To make it easier for you, in this infographic we've put together 8 email marketing myths that you shouldn’t immediately fall for.
Scroll more for actionable advice and description about every single myth!
Myth 1 - Email subject line controls open rate
The email subject line is an important part of any message. An intriguing copy can get attention and spark interest in subscribers that drives them to see more and click open.
Additionally email subject line personalization can enhance this effect. Here’s a good example that got my attention recently:
Obviously, seeing my name helped my brain to filter this particular message in my busy inbox. But at the same time I wondered who the message was from.
In my case, even being aware of personalisation mechanisms in email marketing and knowing that thousands of other people got the same message, I was still attracted to the fact that Neil Patel sent me a special message.
Bingo. Before you spend too much time running A/B tests on your subject line, remember that your reputation of a sender is extremely important and there is more to focus on in email campaign that just a subject line.
According to ReturnPath, for 56% of subscribers, a known and trusted sender is the main factor that persuades them to open a message. The email subject line comes second.
Test and optimize variety of metrics to achieve the best results.
Find out more about the importance of tests in email marketing!
Myth 2 - Open Rate is the best indicator of your success
Open Rate (OR) expresses the number of unique message opens as a percentage of all messages delivered. If you sent 1000 mails and 230 of them were opened, your OR was 23%.
It’s an important performance indicator, but without looking at the OR in the context of how it relates to other factors, you can’t say that it tells you everything you need to know about the effectiveness of a given campaign.
Think about it this way. Which is more important - quality or quantity? Correct answer - both! The OR can inform you about the quantity and the OR in correlation to other indicators about quality.
- CTOR or Click-To-Open-Rate - the percentage of subscribers that opened your mail and clicked on links inside it. The higher the CTOR the better, since it means that recipients found interesting and useful content referred to in your subject line. A low CTOR is a signal that promises made in your subject line were not delivered.
- UTOR or Unsubscribe-To-Open Rate - tells you how many people unsubscribed from your mailing list after opening your message. A high UTOR is a sign that, despite being encouraged to open your messages, subscribers are disappointed with what’s inside.
- Conversion - the percentage of subscribers that opened your email, clicked on a link and completed a purchase or fulfilled other campaign goal. This is the most important measure of the effectiveness of your campaign.
All of these indicators clearly show how easy it is to draw the wrong conclusions if you just focus on the Open Rate of your campaigns.
Other important metrics to consider include, for example, how quickly your subscriber list is growing thanks to your messages being forwarded or shared or the number of recipients who clicked on your newsletter social media buttons.
Measure different metrics to get appropriate insight on how people respond to your communication.
Check also: [FAQ] Common questions about Open Rate
Myth 3 - The best day to send your campaign is Tuesday
At least that’s what most reports say. CoSchedule analysed ten of them and Tuesday was the king. However, if you read more carefully, Thursday was very close behind. And then Wednesday was just behind Thursday. These stats are well known among people in email marketing. So does this mean you can forget about the other days? Well, no.
Email marketing really works if you know your subscribers well and you react to their preferences in the right way. That’s why you should test the highest engagement time of your subscribers yourself.
The best time to send your campaigns depends on the business field that you’re operating in. If you work B2B, your subscribers are much more likely to open your messages on workdays since, obviously, your mail is related to their work.
Do you run an ecommerce store? Try sending your newsletter in the evening and on weekends. FreshMail clients who are retailers achieved excellent Open Rates with this timing. Why? Shopping is a leisure activity, especially for women, who also are a big group among ecommerce subscribers.
They are more likely to open and read marketing messages in the evening and on weekends, when enjoying their online shopping time.
It makes sense to try adjusting your sending times to accommodate subscribers schedules and profiles and see what really works for you.
Recommended for you: How man and woman shop online.
Myth 4 : Never send the same email twice
Nobody wants to read the same email twice, right? But what about subscribers who didn’t open it the first time you sent it? Is it worth sending it again? Of course it is, but do it the right way and remember what has the biggest influence on the OR in your campaigns.
Changing the sender name is something you should only do as a last resort so forget about that for now. Focus instead of coming up with alternate versions of subject lines in order to engage inactive subscribers.
Remember that you’re sending a campaign to people who have already ignored your emails. To catch their attention change up your copy style. Be creative, intriguing, informative. And give them a “little extra”.
Add a preheader that displays after the subject line and is visible even before message is opened. Repeat a call-to-action here to encourage opens. Preheaders play a large role in emails that are opened on smartphones, where the space for subject lines is limited.
Let’s look at an example. In a reactivation campaign that FreshMail ran for BDsklep.pl, we sent exactly the same message that half of the subscribers didn’t open the last time it was sent and we were able to engage an additional 50% more recipients.
Take a look at the two versions of the subject line:
Message 1 - “We updating all of your data, will you take a look?”
Message 2 - “Your account configuration, take a look and get a 30 voucher”
Don't give up on inactive subscribers! Try to re-engage them. You can find actionable tips how to do it here!
Myth 5 - The more you send, the higher Unsub Rate
Email marketing gives you lots of possibilities to reach customers in a place where most people visit daily - their inboxes. If you are doing everything according to the principles of permission marketing, like using the double opt-in model, you might think that it’s better to keep the number of messages you send to a minimum. After all, you don’t want to bombard subscribers with daily messages, right?
Well, guess what? HubSpot found out the more often you send messages to your subscribers, the less they resign from your mailing list.
Get your subscribers used to more frequent communication right from the beginning. If you send two campaigns a month and then boost it way up to a few a week, you’re going to confuse and probably irritate your audience.
However, if you establish a frequency straight away and stick with it, subscribers will remain receptive as long as you are sending quality content. That will have a positive effect to your deliverability.
More frequent campaigns boost your OR because you’re statistically increasing the chances of higher email read rate.
Even if someone will mark you as spam, what happens to all of us, higher sending frequency implies higher engagement rate. In a long run it protects your sender reputation.
Myth 6 - Graphic emails performs better
Internet loves visual content. It suits perfect not only for entertainment purposes but also for digestible and clear data presentation. In email, this might not always be the case.
HubSpot conducted a survey in which they asked more than a thousand respondents whether they preferred email coded in HTML (mostly graphics) or plain text emails. Almost two-thirds chose graphic emails.
Great, so why not send only graphic emails? Well, after conducting the survey, HubSpot experimented with both types of emails and it turned out that text emails got a lot more opens.
If done properly, both graphic and text emails can achieve similar deliverability rate. But graphic ones may get less noticeable place in someone's inbox. They might for example get filtered and end up in Gmail's promotions tab.
Promotions tab is grouping all commercial mails in one place, which is good from users perspective. However, as it is in this case, it can have a negative effect on Open Rate.
So what’s the lesson here for you? There are no set rules that clearly set out what kinds of emails would work better for your business. For example, if you operate in a field that depends on visual representations of, say, products or people then graphic mails are for you.
In other contexts, well-written “old school” copy and plain text can sometimes be all you need in your email marketing communication.
Take care of your campaigns results and send out an email segmented to Gmail customers with advice on how to get their emails placed in the Primary tab rather than the Promotions tab.
Here’s an example from The Outnet:
Myth 7 - Email marketing means sending just marketing offers
This myth appears among subscribers who have been turned off by previous experience as well as marketers who treat email only as a way to make a quick sale instead of using it to build relationship with subscribers.
Fortunately, more email marketers are waking up to the possibilities of email marketing beyond its strictly commercial role. They don’t use their campaigns to keep the focus on themselves by sending offer after offer. They know that a campaign with only sales content isn’t effective, it’s just boring.
More and more subscribers are consenting to receive marketing emails. DMA tells us that campaigns that use segmentation techniques, targeting and autoresponders bring a return of 77%.
Email marketing is a tool that lets you communicate directly with consumers via personalised messages. The fact that this pays off is proved by the number of satisfied customers from countless email marketing campaigns.
Marketers build long-term relationships with subscribers by using the potential of content marketing and personalisation. If they are helpful and engaging, the can effectively maintain interest, lead to conversions and enhance brand awareness and loyalty.
If subscribing to your newsletter can help recipients keep up with trends, learn new things, achieve their goals and then eventually buy something, so much the better. This only serves to make a better impression on customers and keep them coming back.
Learn more about:
Myth 8 - Millenials are your target group
The hype about millenials that has stolen the spotlight from everyone else is often an obligatory starting point among marketers for creating communication strategies.
Millenials also show up in email marketing. Why? A survey from Adobe tells us that 98% of them check their private email at least every few hours while at work and 87% of them check their work email from home.
They also check their email while in bed or when going to bed or while driving. In one sentence: they live on email :)
So why should you be critical of the obsession with millenials? Because you can’t precisely define the preferences of such a large group with just a few characteristic traits.
Millenials are not a good example of segmentation. Know your subscribers and categorize them according to data they have given to you or you the data you managed to gather about them.
Mark Ritson had some interesting things to say about the buzz around millenials during Marketing Week 2016. He ran an analysis of online marketing magazines headlines in the UK and measured how many of them mentioned millenials and how many didn't.
The proportion was 42:1 for millenials! Watch his full talk:
Simply don't fall for buzz words.