Email Marketing Myths Debunked

At Questline, we send a lot of emails on behalf of our utility clients. Our team of account managers are always answering client questions about email best practices and the best way to get the utility’s message to their customers. With the internet full of information, sometimes marketers end up finding contradicting information – and that can lead to a lot of confusion. Today, we’re going to answer a few of the most asked questions and debunk common myths of email marketing.

Spam words always cause your email to get filtered 

“Free,” “Save” and “Win” are just some of the words that have been labeled as “spam trigger words,” inspiring fear among clients who might have used them in their emails and subject lines. In reality, these words aren’t necessarily the trap everyone thinks they are. This is an after-effect from years ago when email was full of spammers and inbox providers used 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 these filters, the email inbox providers got more sophisticated. More and more, these providers are evaluating the larger picture including sender reputation, deployment patterns and recipient engagement. Those have more weight on whether your email gets delivered than those spam words marketers still avoid. Check out this post on Cloudmark, for a great look at how this works.

There are exceptions that give more weight to email content than others. These providers use an algorithm where content plays a larger role than the more common providers discussed above. They tend to be your smaller cable providers, but−depending on your audience−they could be the majority of your list. When sending emails, it is important to monitor your list and know what email inbox providers your customers are using.

CAN-SPAM Compliancy = Automatic Delivery

Your email meets all the requirements of CAN-SPAM, so it will go straight to your customers’ inboxes. Not so fast! As mentioned above, many email inbox providers are using algorithms to determine if an email is spam. Just because your email meets CAN-SPAM requirements, it does not guarantee a free ride to the inbox.

Remember 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.

There is a perfect day and time to send my 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 3pm, or never send on a Monday. 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 they are most likely to engage with the emails you are 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 are likely to sign up for text alerts.

The bigger the list size, the better

We’ve already written a whole blog post on this subject, but it’s worth reiterating. A good list is about the quality of your recipients. Every year, you lose a portion of your lists 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 the algorithms determining deliverability mentioned above? 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 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.