Don’t Fall Into the Trap of These Four Email Marketing Myths


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Every day billions of emails are sent to consumers. Breaking through a noisy and crowded inbox has never been more difficult for marketers. Many of the email campaigns that you spend time developing, designing and targeting fall through the cracks.

There are a whole host of reasons why emails don’t get opened, but something that I run into time and time again is marketers holding onto outdated practices and long dispelled misconceptions that are hurting their email campaigns. Here are the four most common email marketing myths that retail marketers need to forget:

Myth #1: Higher Email Frequency Means Less Engagement
Frequency is one of the most common myths. Too often marketers are afraid to send additional emails to customers because they believe that it will have a negative impact on engagement and potentially inbox placement. The truth is, there isn’t a secret number of emails that retailers should be sending — your frequency depends entirely on your customer base and whether the content that you’re delivering is relevant.

In fact, on average retailers send 1 email per day. Those that go the extra mile to personalize email content with product recommendations, hit the right tone and craft attention grabbing headlines, won’t see customers complaining if they receive a couple more emails.

For example, Bells & Becks tailors their email marketing to connect with older customers, paying close attention to tone and language, including words that appeal to women like ‘luxury’ and ‘polish’. If your email content is relevant, frequency is non-issue for customers who are already advocates and loyal to the brand. Moreover, targeting, personalization and employing a segmentation strategy can help to ensure even your batch and blast messages are optimized to drive maximum value.

Myth #2: Batch and Blast Campaigns Should Drive Bulk of Email Revenue
Most digital marketers believe that the majority of their revenue should come from ‘batch and blast’ emails. But, that’s an unhealthy ratio. Realistically, retailers should be aiming for a 50/50 split between ‘batch and blast’ and triggered emails.

On the surface, ‘batch and blasts’ are appealing because they are simple to piece together and less labor intensive for marketing teams, but they don’t take buyer behavior and browsing habits into consideration. Triggered campaigns (such as order confirmations, cart abandonment or a seasonal offer) are important to weave into the mix. Not only do they take behaviour into account, but their timeliness and relevance to individual consumers tend to drive stronger engagement.

What’s more, most consumers want these types of emails, and less than half a percent unsubscribe from them. Triggered campaigns are also automated and, once they are set up, they can run for an extended period of time without intervention. At the end of the day, the ROI is significant because retail marketers don’t incur the cost of an individual spending time making daily creative updates to get emails out the door.

Myth #3: Any Test Is A Good Test
Marketers constantly get the advice that in order to drive successful email campaigns, they need to test, and then test some more. They’ve become so obsessed with testing that they forget to ask themselves why they’re running experiments in the first place. Increasingly, marketers are treating testing as a box that they need to check off. Too often, I see them A/B test a subject line, once, but not take away any learning from that trial.

Where testing quickly goes awry is approaching it without a plan or a hypothesis. Going forward, marketers need to get clarity about their philosophies around testing. Creating and delivering impactful campaigns requires marketers to test several different variables, consistently, and then piece together the results to understand the bigger picture and results.

Myth #4: If It’s Something You Wouldn’t Like, Then Others Won’t Either
Regardless of the field that you work in, personal biases have a tendency to creep in. Whether it’s favoring information that confirms your worldview or recommending a strategy based on your own preferences, giving your biases too much influence in decision making can have a significant impact on the performance of a campaign.

For example, a colleague suggests adding SMS as a way to generate additional revenue. Text messages are extremely adaptable, can be presented a different times and have a 98% open rate. Despite the fact that SMS marketing can boost customer lifetime value, the marketing lead turns down the idea because he/she doesn’t personally like receiving texts from retailers.

This is just one example, but too often, personal opinions and preferences impact marketing decisions. Not only does this result in a campaign falling short, but it also leaves a lot of money on the table.

At the end of the day, marketers are all focused on a similar goal: to maximize revenue. Email marketing campaigns are only effective if the message reaches a customer’s inbox, is opened and results in some kind of action. Debunking these myths with your teams is a first step to stronger digital marketing strategies and increased revenue.

Karen DiClemente
Karen DiClemente is the Director of Client Strategy at Listrak, an industry-leading marketing cloud focused solely on retailers. She has a decade of ecommerce expertise in helping hundreds retailers maximize ROI on cross-channel marketing initiatives. Prior to Listrak, Karen served as an ecommerce Marketing Officer for Fulton Financial Corporation, where she executed corporate marketing initiatives.


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