There are plenty of myths, rumors and assumptions about email marketing that are taken for granted when they’re not even true. Not every marketer specializes in email marketing, so I thought I’d dispel a few of the common myths that can actually hurt your ROI in email marketing.
1. With Email Frequency, Less Is More
“Less is more” – such a simple statement, but so true in many areas of life…fashion, dessert consumption, sun exposure, time with your mother-in-law, etc. “Less is more” doesn’t apply in email marketing though, at least not universally. Believe it or not, sending too few emails can hurt you.
A retail industry study cited in Marketing Land revealed this: People receiving one email per week from their favorite brands are 21 times more likely to flag the sender as spam than those who receive three emails per week. So, less can be more, but more can also be more…up to a point. Where do you draw the line?
Not Too Much, Not Too Little – Just Right
Every person’s threshold is different, in terms of the number of emails they can handle from you before considering you a pest and sending you to spam. Your best bet is having your users opt into a certain email frequency…or set your emails to automatically reduce in frequency for those who rarely open them.
2. Marketing Emails Are About To Die Out Like Dinosaurs
Email marketing isn’t shiny and new. It’s old, and in digital years, it’s fossil old. Not to mention the fact that people’s inboxes are stuffed full like a pair of tight jeans after Thanksgiving dinner! Who wants more emails?! Apparently, a lot of people do, so email is sticking around.
This statistic may surprise you: The ROI of email marketing in the U.S. is 122%, according to an eMarketer study. That’s more than four times higher the ROI of social media, direct mail and paid search – the supposed holy grail of online lead generation!
3. Email Marketing is Spam – So Use It Sparingly
We all dislike spam in our inboxes, so the fear of spamming our new leads is understandable. The thing is, spam has less to do with frequency and more to do with the type of information you’re sending out and how you’re customizing it. If email marketing is done correctly, it’s not spam. Marketing emails are not spam if they meet these criteria:
A. The recipients can easily unsubscribe with little effort via a link in the email.
If you make it very easy to unsubscribe, you’ll have fewer spam complaints and you’ll reduce the risk of giving your brand a negative reputation.
B. The information you’re sharing covers a topic you’re certain interests them.
The only way you can be sure what topics interest them is to ask. On your website, this means you need forms that ask the appropriate questions.
For example: Say you’re in charge of marketing for a law firm that handles divorces, adoptions, and estate planning. You’ll need some type of a sign-up or subscribe form on your site that requires users to select which of the three types of legal assistance they need.
You’ll also need a way to track which leads become customers. After all, a current customers should receive different messages in his inbox than a lead who has never purchased from you. For the lead, your goal is to sell. For the current customer, your goal is to serve the person, keep her happy, and to nurture your relationship with her so she continues to buy, gives you great reviews, and refers you to her friends and family..
Once you’ve collected information via your forms, your CRM should be able to sort your leads into the right list based on their interest and lead status, and allow you to set up emails to automatically send to these leads and customers after they’ve filled the forms out. Each lead will receive emails only about what interests them and applies to them. This isn’t spam; it’s useful information
C. The information you’re sharing is useful.
Many companies love to send newsletters, which isn’t necessarily wrong…but it can be if the information isn’t valuable to those who receive it. Ask yourself these questions: “Do my leads really care about the information in this newsletter? Am I providing information that will make their lives easier in some way? Does every single bit of information in this email serve a useful purpose for my leads?”
If you can put yourself in the shoes of your potential and current customers, and truly answer “yes” to all of these, then your emails aren’t spam. If you answer “no” to one or more, you may be spamming your leads and customers.
4. Keep Subscribers On Your Lists, No Matter What
Size Doesn’t Matter – It’s Quality That Counts
Anyone who’s a fan of Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones knows that size isn’t everything. What’s important is quality. This applies to email lists too. The idea in building email marketing lists isn’t to increase the size, it’s to make sure your lists only include people who are interested in your offerings.
Sometimes, people lose interest in your emails. It could be because they no longer need your services, are interested in other brands, or moved to a hippy commune and decided to meditate, live technology-free, and not shave for a year. (Hey, you never know.) Whatever reason, it’s OK to let unsubscribers go.
Chase Down New Subscribers, Not Old Ones
If you’re delivering emails that are useful and target your audience’s interests, chances are that their decision to unsubscribe has nothing to do with you. Chasing old subscribers down is a waste of your resources, while putting effort into finding new ones is a smarter decision.
Also, it’s better for you if people who don’t engage with your emails unsubscribe. If you send too many emails that go unopened, you risk being marked as a spammer and having your email sending abilities restricted.
5. The More Segmented Your Lists Are, The Better
Why have a plain email list of people who are shopping for social media scheduling software when you could segment that list based on age, race, political party, favorite beer, snoring tendencies and opinions about what type of plastic surgery Angelina Jolie had?! There’s a reason why – because some of these things just don’t matter.
Although the above was an exaggeration, many marketers who are novice to email marketing strategy tend to over-segment with no real purpose behind it. It’s exciting to work with a new email marketing/CRM software and it can be tempting to experiment this way. I get it. It’s just not useful.
Only segment lists to the point that it would be financially beneficial to you to change the information you send to fit the different segments. It’s almost always useful to segment your audiences based on the different types of services or products you provide. Beyond that, make sure that all of the segmentation you do has a purpose and can serve to drive more revenue.
Old With New Improvements
Email marketing is old, but the way marketers use it to target customers is ever changing and ever improving. The number of new developments in the email/CRM software industry proves that year after year. Marketers who understand their consumers and continue to use email marketing with a clear purpose in mind will win over those who assume that old means obsolete. So, email away, marketers! May the force be with you!
About the Author
Chiara Tedone is an SEO and content marketing manager. She develops and implements content and SEO strategies across all internet platforms, including websites, blogs, social media, email, online ads and more. Her strategies help companies improve their credibility, raise Google rankings, gain leads, nurture leads, increase brand awareness and conduct PR, all online. Chiara has developed and implemented strategies for mid-sized and small businesses in the following industries: restaurants, retail, education, healthcare, professional services, fitness, non-profit, animal care and sports.
She graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. in 2007 with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Spanish. In 2016, Chiara graduated from the University of South Florida with an M.B.A. and a specialty in Marketing. Visit Chiara’s LinkedIn profile for more info!