Email facts emerge from questionable myths

Email Marketing Myths Debunked: Spam, Filtering & List Size

At Questline Digital, we send a lot of emails on behalf of our energy utility clients. And our client success team fields a lot of questions about email best practices and the best way to get an energy company’s message to their customers. The internet is full of contradictory information — and that can lead to a lot of confusion. Let’s answer a few of the most asked questions and debunk the most common email marketing myths.

Myth 1: Spam words always get your email filtered

“Free,” “Save” and “Win” are just some of the words that have been labeled as “spam trigger words,” inspiring fear among energy utilities who might have used them in their subject lines.

Email facts: In reality, these words aren’t necessarily the trap everyone thinks they are. This is a lingering myth from years ago when inboxes were besieged by spammers and email providers used simple content filters to determine what was spam.

Content filters look at subject lines, email content and even the image-to-text ratio. As the spammers figured out how to get around those filters, email providers got more sophisticated. More and more, email providers are evaluating the larger picture to identify spam, including sender reputation, deployment patterns and recipient engagement. Those have more weight on whether your email gets delivered than using the occasional “spam word” in your subject line.

Myth 2: CAN-SPAM compliance leads to automatic delivery

Your email meets all the requirements of CAN-SPAM, so it will go straight to your customers’ inboxes, right? Not so fast! As mentioned above, many email providers are using algorithms to determine if an email is spam.

Email facts: Just because your email meets CAN-SPAM requirements it does not guarantee a free ride to the inbox. Overcoming CAN-SPAM is about meeting legal requirements, not deliverability standards.  

Make sure you are abiding to email best practices and sending relevant content to the right audience to keep your sender reputation positive and engagement metrics high.

Myth 3: There is a perfect day and time to send emails

A popular question in email marketing is, “When is the best day and time to send my emails?” Marketing blogs are full of answers — send early in the mornings, send Thursdays at 3 p.m., or never send on a Monday.

Email facts: The truth is, there is no perfect day and time to send your emails. It comes down to one thing:  knowing your audience and their preferences. You need to know when your customers are most likely to engage with the emails you’re sending.

How do you figure this out? When tracking your metrics, include the day and time you sent the email. Then, evaluate the days of the week and times of day where you see high engagement. Don’t forget to also look at the type and topic of communication. Maybe your audience prefers to read email newsletters on a different day than when they engage with promotional messages.

Myth 4: The bigger the list size, the better

A lot of marketers think that list growth is always a good thing, and many of the energy utilities we work with ask for help getting more customers on their mailing lists. While you do want to reach as many relevant customers as you can, connecting with them isn’t as simple as just adding them to your list.

Email facts: A good email list is about the quality of your recipients. Every year, you lose a number of subscribers to abandoned or changed email addresses as a result of new jobs or new internet providers. Sending to these abandoned and inactive email addresses negatively impacts deliverability to your valid email addresses by hurting your sender reputation.

Remember those algorithms that determine deliverability? Sending to a large number of inactive subscribers can hurt your sender reputation, ultimately harming the chances of delivering your message. Doing a re-engagement campaign for all inactive subscribers will help you clean up your list. You may lose a portion of your list, but the quality will improve and you will start seeing better results.

Many of these email marketing myths come down to knowing your email audience. Make sure you are testing, tracking and analyzing what you find. Most importantly, keep the questions coming! We’re happy to help.

The digital deployment experts at Questline Digital can help you separate email marketing myths from best practices.