Email Marketing Myths: 3 Untruths You Can't Afford to Believe

Don't give up on email marketing just yet: It could be the key to a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.
April 24, 2014

Pundits talk about the death of email, but marketers tell us a different story.

"We send out weekly emails, and they get read," says Mitch Goldstone, president and CEO of ScanMyPhotos. "Whether it's a flash sale, where we scored a 22 percent open rate and a 9 percent order rate, or simply sending news updates, [emails] show that your business is constantly reinventing and has things to talk about."

Even in the social-media driven, mobile-rich milieu of 2014, brands may do well to continue to pay close attention to their customers' inbox. According to market research firm Global Industry Analysts, the global sector for email marketing is expected to reach $15.7 billion in just three years (by 2017).

Despite its popularity, however, marketers still aren't always sure how best to deploy an effective email marketing campaign. A new report from Campaigner, an email marketing solution provider, highlight three myths marketers may be buying hook, line and sinker about email.

Let's take a look at these myths and note some ways that deploying email as part of your next marketing campaign could give your customers exactly what they want.

Myth #1: No one knows which customers are email friendly. When it comes to email campaigns, properly configured data analytics can help marketers identify loyal customers and provide insight into their preferences, allowing for more targeted messages and, inevitably, increased sales. Evidence that customer loyalty drives revenue is clear, as repeat customers spend an average of 67 percent more than first-time buyers. Email can help you tap into this phenomenon—these customers have already told you they'll likely welcome fresh contact.

Myth-Busting Tip: Treat your customers like people, not just numbers. Send tailored messages that adhere to specific preferences, and consider implementing a loyalty program.

Myth #2: Only send emails on a certain day, at a certain time. Specific customer feedback and interactions, not general industry data, should drive your email timing. For optimal results, you need to study your individual lists and campaign analytics. 

Myth-Busting Tip: Use e-mail service provider data and toolsets to determine optimal timing and preferences for a specific audience, which may be different from those of the broader industry.

Myth #3: Email frequency should be the same for all customers. Many marketers struggle with the issue of how much email is too much (or too little). It's imperative to get this right in order to maximize your revenue and minimize your unsubscribe rates. The key is to assess individual industry preferences and understand the data by utilizing automation, segmentation and A/B split-testing to determine what resonates best with your particular customer base. 

Myth-Busting Tip: Allow your customers to guide email frequency by analyzing their actions. Reach out more often to those with high interaction rates, while giving the others some space.

The bottom line, when it comes to email marketing? It's all in how you use it.

"The best types of email marketing campaigns come from opt-in and related items," says Joe Palko, chief marketing officer at 3dcart. "If you have a client in an opt-in status, you know they're already interested in what you're marketing.

"An example would be a follow-up marketing email based on a previous purchase or interest," Palko says. "Say a customer has purchased a certain CD. Targeting them for a T-shirt email campaign for that artist would most likely have a higher conversion rate than a randomly sent email."

No matter how often you use it, there's something special about email—it's like a second date for marketers and customers. Once that connection has been established and there's a spark to build on, email's one-to-one communication is an energy that fosters relationships.

Deployed with care, it can help you build a brand-consumer partnership that will never die.

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Photo: iStockphoto