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8 Email Marketing Myths Debunked

Digital marketing moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and evaluate performance once in awhile, you could be missing out on sales. Marketing is an industry built around best practices. When a strategy works for one business, others jump onboard and attempt to duplicate that success. Because of that monkey see, monkey do mentality, some "best practices" have invaded marketer's brains, never to be reevaluated. That's a problem because we should never rely on the status quo. Marketing practices should be analyzed early and often. 
Email marketing is a very competitive space and a space in which best practices are heavily relied on. With over 236 billion emails sent and received each day, standing out in the inbox can seem like a daunting task. However, building an incredible email campaign that grabs attention and drives clicks is easier than you think. Below are the biggest misconceptions about email marketing. Avoid these and you're on your way to a successful send: 

1. Email Marketing is Dead

Anyone who tells you that email marketing is a dying practice hasn't been paying attention. 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation. Setting up email workflows and a consistent email campaign calendar may be the biggest return on investment you see from your marketing efforts. Don't buy into the skepticism of others when it comes to email. With 13 million businesses investing in email marketing daily, there can't be that many dummies in the industry.

2. Subject Lines Should Be Short

As marketers we're taught to write within certain constraints - tweets between 140 - 280 characters, expanded text ads under 80 characters and limited text in Facebook advertising images. It's no wonder many people are under the assumption that short subject lines outperform lengthier versions. However, a study from Return Path found no correlation between subject line length and read rate.
So what does improve read and open rates? Personalization! People love hearing and seeing their own name, and it's no different with marketing messages. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.  Think about how you can utilize the data you have for your contacts to provide the most personalized experience.

3. Preview Text Doesn't Matter

Email PreviewIf email recipients are anything like me in the morning, they're likely browsing through their email inbox a little bleary-eyed. Because our inboxes are packed with new emails daily, we've trained ourselves to skim through the inbox at an alarmingly quick rate. While the subject line is no doubt the primary focus for a reader's attention, the preview text is a close second. 

Preview text should generally mirror subject line best practices. Add a sense of urgency to your message and include important snippets of information that a recipient can learn more about within the body of the email. Including preview text for your email campaigns can make a big impact on your email open rates and is just another aspect of email marketing for you to test and perfect for your brand. 

4. Be Professional

While I don't recommend that you include "dude" in your emails, brands have moved toward a more conversational tone with their marketing messages. With 63% of email users now accessing their inbox via a mobile device, it's important for marketers to think about the setting in which a recipient will read their email. For a lot of us, that's the train on the way to work, on the couch while we're "watching" Netflix or at dinner with our significant other (please don't do this). The setting in which we read emails is typically informal, so it's almost expected that the tone of emails should be fun and easy to digest. Utilize tools like Really Good Emails to gain messaging inspiration from other brands.

5. Literal Button Copy is Best

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Calls to action bombard us every day - "Click Here", "Learn More", "Shop Now". We've almost become desensitized to these call outs. As marketers, that gives us permission to move past generic CTAs to include more creative actions in our materials. Trust that users know what to do with a button, and have a little fun with your button copy. Use the real estate to give more detail about the action or include fun alliteration. 

6. There is a Universal Best Time to Send

Did you know that Tuesday mornings at 9:32am MT is the universal time when everyone stops what they're doing to check their email inbox? No? That's because it's not true. The "best day" and "best time" theories are not universal. While extensive research has been done on when you'll find the best open rates, relying on that information is a detriment to your business. Open rates vary for different industries, so it's important to test your own emails to determine the optimal time for email sends. You might just find that your audience is the most engaged Friday afternoons, but you won't know that unless you do the research yourself. 

7. Stop Sending to Unengaged Users

Unengaged users are typically defined as contacts who haven't engaged with your marketing materials in a certain period of time (90 days, 180 days, etc.) or contacts who haven't opened the last 20 emails sent to them. A lot of email marketing platforms will suggest that you remove these unengaged users from your email sends. However, in doing so, you miss out on a huge opportunity to re-engage these contacts and potentially close them as a customer down the line. Michael Barber, one of Marketo's 50 Fearless Marketing Leaders, recommends that you wait 4-5 years before putting contacts in a sunset campaign. 

8. Unsubscribes are Bad

There's a reason the unsubscribe link is buried at the bottom of emails; marketers are hoping no one will click it. In clicking that link, users are telling us that they no longer want to hear from us, but that action isn't necessarily a bad thing. These unsubscribers are helping to clean your database, making it more valuable to the brand. Unsubscribes also provide a opportunity to clean out your CRM and save money with platforms like Constant Contact and HubSpot, that charge per number of contacts in your system. 

These myths are a great reminder to rethink what you've been told about email marketing. If you internalize just one thing from these recommendations, it should be: test, test, test. Learn what works for your business and create your own best practices. It's our responsibility as marketers to evolve. If we were still relying on the marketing best practices of yesteryear, we'd still be focusing on keyword stuffing and buying Facebook Likes. 

Talk with our team and learn how you can streamline your inbound marketing.

Matt Walde
Post by Matt Walde
September 18, 2018

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