Email marketing is a critical element to nurturing and retaining customers, but many brands make assumptions that incorrectly guide their email marketing strategy. Let’s break down some of the major misconceptions around email marketing:
Related content: Email Marketing Best Practices
Having a high email open rate could mean that your email was successful but it could also indicate a false win. You can’t earn conversions without users opening your email, but opens don’t always lead to conversions. Without relevant content or clear CTAs, click-through and conversions will be low. Try to avoid subject lines that are vague, inconsistent with the content or come across as click-bait.
There’s no denying that design is extremely important, but it isn't always the driving force of engagement. The success of your emails hinges on a variety of factors, the proper balance of which depends largely on the product or service you're selling. It’s often the simplest (i.e. least designed) templates that most effectively encourage conversions. In many cases, plain-text messaging is the best route to take. While there is a time and place for a beautifully designed email, don't get so hung up on design that it keeps you from following up with your audience consistently and with purpose.
Engagement is far more important than size when it comes to your subscriber base. It's better to have a smaller list of highly engaged users than a larger list of users who don’t open, read or interact with your emails. In fact, we recommend cleaning your list of inactive subscribers every 6 months to improve list health and strong KPIs.
Blast campaigns (or sends to your whole list) can be a good short-term revenue driver, but, if overused, will ultimately hurt your KPIs and revenue. By repeatedly blasting your list with content that isn’t relative to your various customer segments, you’ll condition subscribers to ignore your emails. By segmenting your list in order to send relevant content to smaller customer segments within your list, you’ll earn higher open rates and more conversions.
What is the best time to send an email? This is a question we get from almost every client. The answer is - there often isn’t an answer. For one thing, as soon as any credible report claims that, for instance, Tuesdays at 7pm are the best time to send an email, every brand that’s paying attention will jump on it. Suddenly users will begin to see their inbox flooded with promotional emails at that time - the time becomes saturated, almost immediately losing its effectiveness.
Optimal send times vary from one brand to the next. As with so many email best practices, it comes down to what you’re selling and to whom. Testing and gathering data is the only way to see what your audience responds best to. And remember - behaviors change, so your testing should never stop.
It may seem counterintuitive, but unsubscribes are a sign of a healthy list. When a user unsubscribes, they are electing to remove themselves from your list and thus won't be marking you as spam. Furthermore, when disengaged users unsubscribe, they are no longer counting against your good users in your engagement metrics.
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Hayley is Hawke's Email Marketing Manager, overseeing the execution of all email and messenger marketing campaigns for clients.