5 Email Marketing Myths, and How to Better Approach Your Email Strategy

marketers debunking common email marketing myths

Email marketing has been around as long as any digital strategy. In those decades of success, of course, some email marketing myths have naturally sprung up that too many business professionals and even marketers tend to believe.

The problem is that they’re generally not true. Even worse, following them blindly may cause you to make marketing decisions that either lead to missed opportunities or a failed campaign.

That’s why we wrote this guide. Keep reading to learn about:

  • The five most common myths about email marketing
  • How following those email marketing myths may hurt your current campaigns
  • How you can better apply sound email marketing strategies to attract, engage, and convert your audience

Email Marketing Myth #1: Email Is No Longer Effective

Some variation of this myth has been around almost as long as email marketing itself. You’ll see it when “experts” pronounce email marketing dead or dying. The latest variation is this: younger generations no longer read emails, making it an ineffective tactic to promote your online products or communicate with current customers.

The Truth: Good Email Marketing Continues to Bring High ROI

As you might expect, this marketing myth couldn’t be further from the truth. 95% of Americans still rely on their emails every day. Also, more millennials and members of Gen Z prefer to use email when shopping than older generations. These are reasons why email marketing, which returns $36 for every dollar invested in it, continues to have a higher ROI than any other digital marketing channel.

How to Adjust: Build Relevant Emails for Opt-In Audiences

As with most email marketing myths, of course, there’s a reason why this one persists. While email marketing continues to be highly effective, spam emails that are irrelevant to your audience will not bring the results you’re looking for. Instead, build campaigns around sending emails that actually benefit your audience. Also, send them to specialized audience segments to increase their relevance.

Email Marketing Myth #2: Optimized Send Times Can Make or Break Your Emails

One of the most commonly found email marketing guides revolves around when to send your emails. You might find very specific suggestions, like Wednesdays at 3 p.m. or Monday mornings at 10 a.m. They all tend to be well-reasoned, or backed up by at least some research. Unfortunately, they tend to take a view that’s much too narrow.

The Truth: Modern Email Marketing Has Flexible Timing

Here’s the truth: most of your audience won’t immediately open your email when they receive it. In fact, they’ll often wait a day or two until they go through their inbox. Add that to the vast number of trigger-based emails in which you cannot influence timing at all, and you begin to realize why this is one of the biggest email marketing myths.

How to Adjust: Know Your Audience and Adjust Accordingly

There are some basic guidelines around email sends that continue to make natural sense. You probably don’t want to send anything at 2 a.m. on Monday morning. If you do, a flurry of work emails may bury it just a few hours later. You can, however, adjust based on your own reports on when most of your audience takes action on email messages.

Or you can use a tool like Klaviyo, whose Smart Send Time feature adjusts your send times accordingly to gain maximum opens and engagement.

Email Marketing Myth #3: The Shorter Your Email, the Better

Studies showing that the ideal length of a marketing email is between 50 and 125 words have evolved into a firm belief that anything longer than that will immediately lower your results. But is that really the case? Does a shorter email always outperform its longer counterpart?

marketers learning the truth about email marketing myths

The Truth: Email Length Depends Entirely on the Subject Matter

It’s true that wordy emails tend to underperform because of limited audience attention spans. But that doesn’t mean shorter is always better. If a short email doesn’t deliver on what the audience expects, you will not get the clicks and engagements you were looking for.

How to Adjust: Build Goal-Focused, Skimmable Marketing Emails

Start every email development with a clear understanding of what the email should achieve instead of formatting it around arbitrary email marketing myths. Then build your body copy accordingly. If that means the email is longer than 125 words, don’t fret. As long as you use tactics to make your message easy to skim, your audience will engage with it. Use features like:

  • Engaging graphics
  • Buttons
  • Bulleted lists

Email Marketing Myth #4: Remove Inactive Subscribers ASAP

Keeping your email list clean is key to successful long-term marketing. But somewhere along the lines, this basic truth morphed into a myth that requires purging subscribers as soon as they haven’t engaged with a message for a few months. Unfortunately, that oversimplification can actually hurt your email efforts.

The Truth: Inactive Subscribers Are Winback Opportunities

Inactive subscribers are not necessarily uninterested in your messages. They just might not be in the right customer journey stage to take action. Ignoring them, or purging them from your list altogether, makes you miss an opportunity to re-engage them for future sales.

How to Adjust: Build Situation-Specific Email Winback Flows

Instead of purging your inactive subscribers, build specific flows to get them back into action. Address the fact that they haven’t been active, and then offer them an incentive to jump back in the fray. According to Klaviyo’s research, open rates for winback campaigns are near 30%, showing the potential success of these types of campaigns.

Email Marketing Myth #5: Certain Words Are Automatic Spam Prompts

Email service providers continue to be on the lookout for irrelevant or spammy emails to improve the experience for their users. At some point, that understandable effort morphed into an assumption that if you include any of this large list of trigger words in your subject lines, your email automatically goes to spam.

The Truth: Email Providers Don’t Filter Common Trigger Words

ISPs try to keep their users’ inboxes free of spam. But their analysis is much more comprehensive than just checking for a few words. Sender credibility, timing, and other factors all play into their evaluation. That’s why analyses continue to find that terms like free, affordable, or limited time have no adverse effect on deliverability rates.  

How to Adjust: Experiment With Wording to Optimize Performance

If a few terms alone don’t have an impact, test your emails to see which words and phrases are most likely to drive desired results. Klaviyo’s A/B testing tool can help build easy experiments that optimize performance over time. You can also use a number of third-party deliverability testing tools integrating with Klaviyo to ensure your emails always make it to your recipients’ inboxes.

Optimize Your Strategy Instead of Following Common Myths About Email Marketing

Email marketing has been such a popular promotional tactic for so long that some email marketing myths and untruths were bound to pop up. Rather than simply believing them, create an optimized strategy — based on your own metrics and with a reliable, expert partner by your side. Are you ready to build a more successful, fact-based email marketing strategy for your online store? Contact us to get started today.