Email Marketing Best Practices: Debunking 4 Common Email Marketing Myths

Black Friday, 2015, was another record breaker for online sales, with Americans shelling out almost $4.5 billion, a 25% increase over 2014 sales.  What didn’t make headlines at the time was the part email marketing played in pushing those sales.  Now Capterra reports that email marketing was the biggest single driver of Black Friday transactions in 2015, accounting for more than 25% of all sales.

The marketing departments of large and small businesses, and both B2B and B2C companies, know the power of email marketing to move consumers through the buyer journey, with 89% of marketers reporting that “email is their primary channel for lead generation.”  For marketers who are still new to email marketing, however, there are still some residual doubts.  It’s often observed that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing—nowhere is this more the case than regarding email marketing.

Separating Fact from Fiction:  the Myths about Email Marketing

If you’re chief marketer for a small or medium-size business, you have limited dollars to help your company achieve its primary business objectives—that means understanding what works and what doesn’t, and confronting your reluctance to leverage strategies which have worked for your competitors. 

Despite the head-turning statistics—about ROI, lead nurturing, conversions rates and relative ease of deployment—which attest to email marketing’s efficacy, several myths persist.  Here are 4 common myths about email marketing, and the facts which prove they’re not true:

1.  All Promotional Emails Are Spam

The reasons this myth persists are several—some marketers have themselves received unwanted promotional emails, or received emails they did sign up for, but which weren’t even close to what they expected.  Others wonder why, if email doesn’t equal spam, they continue to receive so many of them.  Whatever the reason, their belief that all emails are spam, or that spamming regulations are too complex to steer clear of, prevents them from embracing email marketing.

First, the reason spammers continue to flood cyberspace is that spamming can be profitable, especially for high-ticket items.  Spam emails have an extremely low response rate, but they’re incredibly cheap to deploy, with spamming houses typically charging clients 1/100th of 1 cent per email.  At those prices, spammers can afford low response rates, persuading a tiny fraction of recipients to make a purchase, and still turn a profit.  But those profits are not sustainable, given the damage spam does to the reputations of the companies which deploy it.

Reputable businesses want sustainable growth, not a quick profit.  This, in addition to the fact that email providers are extremely effective in identifying and stopping spam, the laws (like the CAN-SPAM act) designed to prevent it, and the no-tolerance policies of email marketing software providers (like Constant Contact) are among the reasons the vast majority of promotional emails are not spam.

2.  Consumers Don’t Like Promotional Emails

It’s true that consumers are increasingly wary of advertisers, one of the reasons some 200 million have joined do-not-call lists to avoid telemarketers.  Since email marketing is so pervasive, some marketers have simply assumed that consumers are equally frustrated with promotional emails—but that notion isn’t supported by research on the subject. 

In fact, according to a survey of 2,000 US consumers conducted by MarketingSherpa, more than 91% reported they liked receiving promotional emails from “companies they do business with,” and 61% saying they wanted to receive those emails at least once a week.  It’s important to remember best practice dictates that recipients must opt in to email marketing campaigns, and can unsubscribe whenever they want. 

3.  You Need Special Expertise to Create Effective Emails

Some marketers hesitate to create promotional emails because the some they receive look so good, leading them to believe that they need special training or deep experience to create them.  In fact, one of the reasons email marketing is so successful is that the agencies which provide email marketing services make those services so easy to use.  They offer professionally-designed email templates, for example, which businesses can easily adapt to the marketing messages they want to send to their target audiences.  They also offer robust customer service to help when clients encounter problems.

4.  Maybe Email Marketing Is Good, but Social Media Is Better

Social media marketing, particularly when your business partners with a competent digital agency, can be among the most effective marketing channels to build your business—but with social media marketing, you don’t really “own” your network, or move the entirety of a given market segment at any one time.  You’re essentially playing by the rules established by Facebook or Twitter on which of your customers get to see what you want them to see.

According to Constant Contact:

“Email marketing is a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox.  In fact, email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers (McKinsey, 2014).”

In fact, email and social media marketing contribute to your success in different ways, and are most effective when used together.  According to that same Constant Contact study, companies which integrate email marketing with other marketing channels achieve a 73% increase in customer engagement, and 57% more new customers.

Conclusion

If you want to increase your marketing ROI and boost your company’s revenues, email marketing is among the most effective strategies you can choose.  Your efforts will be most successful if you partner with a digital marketing agency with deep knowledge and experience in helping businesses like yours achieve their objectives.

BJC Branding is that kind of agency.  The leading Master Certified Constant Contact Partner in the US, BJC will focus on locking down your digital marketing with professional email and social media marketing programs, and a mobile-responsive website.  To learn more about the ways we can help you create effective digital marketing programs to grow your business, contact us today.

Jake Burns