3 Common Email Misconceptions You Could Have – And How to Avoid Them


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Misconceptions abound in the email marketing space. They can lead you down the wrong path and frustrate you. But what if you know the email marketing mindsets that win? It will save you a lot of headaches. Also, it will give you a realistic idea of what to expect as your email list grows.

Read on to learn about three of the common email misconceptions – and how they can hurt your business. Then, get the expert approaches that will lead to a more lucrative email program.

Email misconception: you need a huge list of subscribers

Many email marketers like to boast about the number of subscribers on their list. Of course, it’s a source of satisfaction to see that your list is brimming with emails, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.

The number of subscribers on an email list is a fraction of the story. A wise marketer wants to know about their level of engagement. How many subscribers ignore the email? Is it possible that a portion of the list consists of invalid or harmful addresses? These are just as crucial as how many people are signed up.

“Sometimes, as marketers, we prioritize email list growth at all costs, forgetting that who joins your list is more important than how many,” said email marketing expert Liz Willits of Content Phenom.

“After all, you don’t want the wrong subscribers on your email list. These subscribers won’t be interested in the majority of your content. They won’t be interested in your product. So they won’t open, click, and engage regularly. They’ll sit on your list, costing you money each month, and hurting your email deliverability by their lack of engagement. It’s better to delete them, or not attract them to your list in the first place.”

As Willits said, you want to grow your list the right way. A big part of succeeding is that you must continuously remove those poor-quality and unengaged email addresses. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that removing emails will hurt your list, but the opposite is true.

Keeping unengaged subscribers on your list hurts your email deliverability, which is the ability of emails you send in reaching the inbox. The people who signed up to get your emails could start missing them.

In addition to unengaged subscribers, there are a host of other harmful addresses you could have on your list. For example, spam traps exist online to attempt to trap senders of spam, but end up snaring legitimate emailers too. Then there are abuse emails, associated with people who like marking emails as spam. They signed up to start getting an email and for whatever reason choose to mark it as spam instead of unsubscribing.

The expert approach for email deliverability? Regular data validation

When you realize the destructive nature of some of the bad data that will show up in an email list, you won’t hesitate to cut bad actors and inactive emails. A good email validation service will identify obsolete data that sabotages your inbox placement.

Any email validator worth its salt will also offer a real-time API that you can connect to all your forms. This will keep off any typos or other types of emails that are functional, but highly risky, like role-based or disposable emails.

Email misconception: your email success will happen overnight

It’s never too late to start your email list. There’s no time like the present – delaying will only make you wish you had gotten your email campaigns off the ground sooner. However, starting an email list doesn’t guarantee that you’ll see immediate results and skyrocketing ROI.

The potential for success with email marketing is certainly there. “It’s got the highest ROI and with around half the planet using email, it’s likely to grow even more,” said Brian Minick, COO at ZeroBounce.

“But, speaking of growing, the best email lists are nurtured like a garden. You create a good environment for growth and you do a little every day to improve the quality of your emails. At the same time, remember to prune your data to help those emails arrive in the inbox,” the email expert added.

Slow and steady wins the race. You’re not likely to hit your goals within the first few emails. Some email marketers stay at it for a long time, but in the end, are grateful for their persistence.

The expert approach: ideal schedule and timeliness

A success-driven email marketer will establish timeframes and goals for everything. So much of email comes down to timing. First, you have to craft a schedule. How many emails will you send? Anything less than monthly will put you in danger of facing deliverability issues. Longer than a month and your readers will forget about you. For a lot of email marketers, it’s once or twice a week, or every other week.

It’s smart to send emails on the same day and time. If you send your emails weekly, make it every Wednesday at 10 AM, perhaps. Sending on a set schedule drives up engagement and keeps you in good standing with Internet service providers.

Create goals for yourself – where would you like your email list to be each quarter? What about next year? This helps hold you accountable.

A classic blunder is to only send an email when you have something to sell. If you sell seasonal items, like beach accessories and resort vacation wear, don’t fall into the mindset that you can skip your emails over the winter months. Your customers want to hear from you all year round, and it’s all about finding new ways to meet their needs. Email is the best way to do that.

Misconception: your emails must appeal to a wide audience

Sometimes, businesses want to appeal to a variety of buyer personas to make more sales. It’s certainly a good mindset to think of new audiences and cater to them, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.

The best approach is to find your niche and communicate with that audience consistently. Also, doing your research pays off. Find out as much information about your audience as possible.

Learn all you can about their habits, needs, and why they’ve come to you. Encourage two-way communication, and avoid using a do-not-reply email. It’s a subtle or overt insult, depending on the perspective of the customer.

The expert mindset: know your audience

Conducting surveys, hiring outside researchers and constant dialogue with your subscribers will help you make your goals.

“You should know your audience intimately and they should feel they know you,” said Uwe Dreissigacker, founder and CEO of InvoiceBerry.

He went on: “Always welcome interaction, and consider even including those interactions and user-generated content in future newsletters.”

At the same time, you have to give your subscribers an easy way out. Include a visible Unsubscribe button in every email template. Not only is it the law, but it helps you avoid spam complaints.

Those who want to receive your emails know your content’s value and want to be a part of it. Those who are not interested? They weren’t your audience anyway.

Deliver value in every email

The best approach that email marketers can have is to focus on creating engaging emails. Your customers are looking for emails that give them value, which they define in various ways, depending on what they seek.

It could be that you offer useful information and timely tips. You may keep them informed about product availability and your latest models or services. Many sign up to email lists for offers and discounts, something that consumers have come to expect.

Whatever value your audience finds in your emails, make sure you deliver it.

Liviu Tanase
Liviu Tanase is the founder and CEO of email validation, deliverability, and email finding company ZeroBounce. As a serial entrepreneur, he founded five companies and has participated in three exits creating quadruple-digit returns. Liviu writes about digital marketing and technology, focusing on email communication. His goal is to help make email marketing work for your business.


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