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Seven Myths of Email Marketing [Infographic]

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Many beliefs that email marketers hold true regarding email are simply false, according to research and analysis conducted by my email marketing agency, Alchemy Worx. We analyzed data sourced from our work with customers and industry figures to arrive at our conclusions.

Here are seven such email myths, which are also presented in an infographic at the end of this article.

Myth 1. Consumers are drowning in emails from trusted brands

Figures from Alchemy Worx and the Direct Marketing Association's Email Tracking Report show that around 40% of consumers who receive brand emails are getting no more than three per day, on average, and almost two-thirds (63%) receive no more than six. Research from Merkle also suggests that three-quarters (74%) of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email, which means that consumers prefer emails from brands over contact via any other channel

Myth 2. There is a best time to send emails, and it is 3 PM on Thursday


This myth assumes that consumers simply are waiting for a brand to email them, and that consumers act immediately on every email they receive. Data from Alchemy Worx shows that while 76% of email opens happen in the first two days, four out of five purchases (79%) take place after that two-day period. One-third (32%) of purchases take place more than two weeks after the consumer receives an offer email.

Myth 3. You should stop sending emails to inactive users after six months

According to figures from Alchemy Worx, 20% of a brand's annual unique opens are from people who have been inactive for the first six months of the year. So, by not sending emails to users who are deemed inactive for just a year, brands are potentially missing out on one-fifth of their annual opens.

Myth 4. Consumers are trigger-happy with the spam button

In fact, according to data from Return Path, less than one subscriber in every 2,000 will mark an email as spam.

Myth 5. If brands send more email, consumers simply ignore more

Though it's true that increasing send frequency tends to reduce the open and click rates for a given message, Alchemy Worx's own customer data shows that over a three-month period, if a brand increases the number of emails it sends to consumers from one per month to four, doing so more than doubles the number of consumers opening one or more emails (from 10% to 24%). That increase in email volume also, on average, results in an additional 11% of revenue for the brand.

Myth 6. Short email subject lines give better results

Analysis of more than 200 million emails by Alchemy Worx highlights that short subject lines (fewer than 60 characters) will only help increase open rates. However, if brands want consumers to engage with emails—by opening and clicking on the content—then 70 characters or longer will be more successful. The longer the subject line, the more likely consumers are to click on the content within the email.

Myth 7. Emails end up in the spam folder because of the subject lines

Alchemy Worx analyzed data from eData Source of more than 200 clients and 540 billion sent emails, which shows that keywords often thought to ensure an email will end up in the junk folder actually have little or no effect. Whether an email ends up in a junk folder is more complicated than that, with the main reason being the sender's reputation. And that is generally based on what information the mail filter or receiving ISP can gather about the sending habits of your IP address, rather than the contents of its subject line.

* * *

Email marketing has put up with these myths for long enough, and many of them are rooted in the belief that marketers must send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

Marketers must move beyond the pursuit of the Holy Trinity of email---segmentation, timeliness, and relevance---and no longer see email as simply a direct marketing tool. Instead, brands should see the benefits of email as a broadcast channel, allowing marketers to communicate a message to millions of subscribers regularly rather than sending less email, to less people, less often.


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Dela Quist is CEO of Alchemy Worx, digital marketing agency dedicatedsolely to email. With offices in Atlanta and London, Alchemy Worx has a diverse client portfolio that includes Getty Images, Hilton, and Sony Playstation.

Twitter: @DelaQuist

LinkedIn: Dela Quist

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Comments

  • by Sandhya Ramesh Mon Nov 11, 2013 via web

    Very true! I especially agree with the email subject line. Most times, a lot of effort is but into an email and the subject line is made very passable just to bypass filters or not sound spammy. When our customers use Agile CRM, they come back with saying that many of their customers aren't even opening the emails (our tracker can track open emails and link clicks). More often than not, their subject fields are along the lines of "hello". I also agree with continuing to send emails to inactive users. A steady input flow of emails keeps the name imprinted in their minds and causes familiarity, which every brand wants.

  • by Gracious Store Mon Nov 11, 2013 via web

    Thanks for sharing these email myths, Most of your findings are interestingly counterintuitive. II would have thought that many people do not give it much thought to "pull the spam trigger and trash most of the emails in their email boxes"

  • by Alan Smith Tue Nov 12, 2013 via web

    Thanks for sharing very useful Infographic. Many people don’t value the benefits of the email marketing; it’s a very useful technique for your business. You have very wisely highlighted all the common myths which is quite famous among the marketers.

  • by Beth Worthy Wed Nov 13, 2013 via web

    Thanks for sharing this post. The infographic is quite alluring and interesting. I think people who actually do not value the benefit of email marketing will find this post really useful.

  • by pilists Thu Nov 14, 2013 via web

    Great Infographic. I think a lot of businesses shy away from email marketing because they don't want to 'spam' their prospects. The key to email marketing is to be relevant. There's a huge difference between receiving a random email from china promising cheap penile enhancements and receiving an email from the local tire store advertising winter tire right after the first frost.

  • by Therese McGee Mon Nov 18, 2013 via web

    A clarification question: Are these stats about B2C or B2B email activities?

  • by Preetham P Mon Dec 30, 2013 via iphone

    Thanks for the great information. I somehow cant make sense from myth 6,objective of subject line is to get readers attention and make him open/ read email.. Rest of the actions taken by customer purely depends on content of the email etc. How can you establish readers engagement on basis of long and short subject lines?

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