“Between 2014 and 2018 the average office worker received about 90 emails a day.” – claims Templafy. It’s obvious that we can’t open and read all the email messages we get every single day.
Usually, we categorise emails between what’s important and interesting and what’s not. Promotional newsletters and other marketing messages either belong to the first category. Or the second one – “delete without opening”.
So how do you write a perfect email campaign that gets opened every time? How do you make sure your email doesn’t gather dust in your customer’s inbox, or worse, get sent to spam?
The first thing you can do is forget the myths around email marketing that are either out of date, or just plain untrue.
There are tons of best practices floating around that are leading marketers astray. Here are seven main myths that are holding marketers back from their full potential with email marketing.
Myth #1. Subject line personalisation by using the first customer’s name improves open rates
Although marketers work hard on personalisation, and current technologies allow us to reach new heights when approaching customers, putting the customer’s name into the subject line isn’t necessarily the best way to grab a customer’s attention.
Using the first name in the subject line might work for some time in the beginning when this first became popular and people were surprised at seeing their names in their inbox, but now the fad is passé.
Nowadays it doesn’t seem natural. Everyone understands that brands use their name automatically. This touch no longer seems personal.
In fact, the vast majority of Omnisend marketers feel the same way. Only 3.5% of all emails in our study had a personalised subject line with the customer’s first name.
When it comes to open rate results, subject lines with a name included only had 0.2% advantage in front of other subject lines. Emails with a name included were opened at 18.1% on average while emails without personalisation were opened at 17.9% on average.
Wrapping up this myth, don’t waste your time and energy on personalising your subject lines this way. The difference in results may not be worth the effort.
Myth #2. The More Emails You Send, The More Irritated Your Customers Will Be
Email frequency is a hot topic for most “best practices,” and the general consensus is to opt for the “less is more” sending frequency.
While it’s true that you don’t want to spam your customers with three emails or more per day, you should think of this in a different way.
Your customers don’t want one random message per week, but they will want two highly relevant messages per week.
The key is to make sure you’re only sending a message that is pertinent for what your customers want and need. If you can nail that every time, it pretty much doesn’t matter how many messages you send. With relevancy, your customers will barely notice.
Myth #3. Use Exclamation Points to Excite the Customer!!!
From almost a billion of email campaigns, the 30 best email subject lines were selected and almost half of them had exclamation marks.
We separated promotional newsletters from automated email workflows to get a better sense of how exclamation points performed in the two categories. The results we’ve got are quite interesting.
For promotional newsletters, it seems that exclamation marks can slightly reduce open rates. The average open rate of subject lines without exclamation marks was 18%, those that included exclamation points measured a 17% success rate.
And the more exclamation points they contained, the lower the open rate was. Subject lines with two exclamation points measured a 16.7% open rate, and with three exclamation marks a 16.5% open rate.
Surprisingly, exclamation points had the opposite impact on automated email workflows. It seems that email recipients react differently to the urgency and exclamation points when the email is more relevant to them.
Automated emails with one exclamation mark measured 29% on average, meantime the emails with two or even more exclamation marks were opened at 35%.
The difference between these two categories is significant. It’s worth testing for your own automated and non-automated email campaigns.
Summing up this myth, the conclusion is dual. The study results confirm the myth that exclamation marks can look spammy at the promotional newsletter case. On the other hand, when the email is highly relevant to the recipient, exclamation marks are appreciated rather than punished.
Myth #4. It’s a Bad Thing When Subscribers Unsubscribe
In general, yes, you don’t want customers to unsubscribe from your campaigns. It’s generally a sign that your message isn’t relevant anymore, and that they don’t want to hear from you.
But unsubscriptions are not necessarily a bad thing if they happen every once in a while. You don’t want your campaigns going to people who don’t want to see them.
Why? Because they won’t engage with your campaigns like those who do want to see them. The fewer people that engage with your campaigns, like opening and clicking them, the more your campaigns will get sent to spam, and the more your sender reputation will drop.
It’s important to clean your email lists from time to time, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if your customers take it upon themselves to do it for you. They’re making your list higher quality, so your open and click-through rates will be higher.
As long as that unsubscribe number isn’t climbing with every campaign, you’ll be fine.
Myth #5. A sign of “%” is more effective than “$” sign
An Omnisend study showed that a discount with a “%” sign was more used by marketers than the one with a “$” sign.
Subject lines that contained “$” sign resulted in a 29% open rate. Meanwhile the “%” sign only in 25% on average. There are a few reasons why this result occurred.
First, using an actual currency amount for a discount is less popular and perhaps stands out a bit more. Alternatively, it could be interesting for a customer to know exactly how much less they’ll be spending before they even start shopping.
So this myth can be neither busted nor confirmed. It depends on your customer and how much they spend on average. Test it out with your own customers to see how they respond to a more tangible discount.
Myth #6. Short subject lines get better open rates
Subject lines with 21-30 characters are the most popular among marketers and they have the best open rate.
According to this chart, long email subject lines with 61-90 characters also have a great open rate. However, the frequency of this kind of subject lines is significantly lower. So it wouldn’t be right to say that long subject lines are more effective than shorter ones.
Plus, long subject lines can’t be fully displayed on mobile devices. So even if you write a long one, only a small amount of your subscribers (desktop users) will see it the way you want them to see your subject line.
I would say this depends on whether or not the majority of your emails are opened on a desktop or on mobile. If you have a desktop-heavy customer base, it might be interesting to test out longer subject lines and see how they work out for you.
Otherwise, carry on writing short subject lines. The best shot is between 21 and 30 characters.
Myth #7: Email Marketing Automation is Expensive and Only for Large Retailers
Email marketing automation being expensive and only accessible to the biggest of the big retailers is a myth that was propagated from yesteryear, when technology wasn’t advanced enough to be accessible to everyone.
But today, marketing automation platforms exist that are both easy to use and affordable. With the advances that technology has been making, there is even more possible than what the large retailers had back then.
Because email marketing automation doesn’t do the same kind of job by itself anymore.
Today, customers are, by default omnichannel. They will engage with a brand across several channels and devices without a second thought. E-commerce marketers have to be ready to engage with customers where they are, on each of those channels.
And the message that the customer sees needs to be relevant and adapt to that customer’s stage in their purchase journey.
Today, marketing automation platforms can access customers across each of those channels with an auto-updating message that personalises itself based on the customer. And those platforms are available for just about anyone to use.
It’s hard to know what to believe nowadays, especially in a domain that changes as quickly as digital marketing and e-commerce. However, staying up to date on the latest data and practices can help you stay on the cutting edge of what technology can do.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to look at your customer data for answers. What will work for one marketer may not work for another, so it’s critical to test and improve your processes constantly.