3 Myths that Hold Email Marketing Back

By Barry Eitel

With many of our email addresses approaching the legal voting age, email marketing has, understandably, a whirl of myth around it. Whether you’ve been in the industry for five minutes or five years, you’ve probably heard dozens of generalizations about email, generalizations that don’t bear fruit if you want to launch an effective campaign. Fears, myths and fallacies are holding back email marketers when the truth is that nothing has replaced, displaced or outpaced email as one of the most effective, and innovative, means to engage customers and build lifetime value for brands.

These myths will be busted at the DMA Email Evolution Conference happening this May in New Orleans. There is a wide range of learning opportunities, from the keynote speeches to discussions on the exhibitor floor, but the email track of panel discussions will be extremely illuminating.

At the “The Fears, Myths and Fallacies that Hold Email Marketing Back” session Tuesday, May 2, Justine Jordan, the vice president of marketing at the firm Litmus, will share her secrets. Based on a decade of observations, dozens of surveys and thousands of data points, this session will ease the fears, bust the myths and correct the fallacies which have deterred marketing pros from questioning the status quo and handicapped true in innovation in email.

Here are some myths that will be broken.

Code Like It’s 1999

Many people believe the coding that powers the best email campaigns is stuck in the Clinton era. However, with advances including HTML5, that is demonstrably untrue.

“Email does present enormous earning potential, but that potential often remains untapped because so many marketers are stuck in 1999,” counsels Jordan in a blog post for Smart Insights. “They see email as merely a workhorse moneymaker instead of a source of inspiration and brand engagement. Email strategies can do more than serve marketers. When done well, they can also serve their recipients.”

Jordan points out that marketers can provide value for customers via email, like sending a device user an email when the device’s battery is low.

Email Marketing is Easy

Hopefully, as an email marketer you understand that email marketing is not something just anyone can do. Yes, almost everyone these days sends and receives emails, but that doesn’t mean anyone can turn around and pull in major revenue with a few clicks.

Effective campaigns require testing and analysis – a few words in the subject line can have a massive impact on whether an email is opened. Unlike many other forms of marketing, including social media ads, email performs very well when it comes to developing relationships with your customers.

“This type of marketing is efficient because it still allows businesses and organizations to establish and maintain a strong relationship with consumers,” writes marketing expert Anthony Sostre. “If emails are used in the right way, you can improve the quality of this relationship and increase the chances to collect useful information from your potential and existing clients. This is the first activity that you should opt for when building an email list.”

And, yes, it requires effort and skill to develop such a relationship.

Email is Dead!

This myth has been kicked around for decades, and it still isn’t true. Email is one of the most popular activities online, even in 2017, and email campaigns have proven themselves to be effective over and over again.

“A classic scene from the film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ evokes the state of email marketing: A ‘dead’ man being offered up to the ‘dead collector’ plaintively insists, ‘I’m not dead,’” claims analyst firm Gartner in a report from late last year. “The scene features Monty Python’s trademark deadpan humor, but email’s role as digital marketing’s connective tissue is no laughing matter. In fact, even if email lacks the shininess of mobile and social media marketing, it’s difficult to imagine any brand’s marketing efforts succeeding without this results-oriented mainstay.”

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Email Evolution Conference, May 1-3, 2017, in New Orleans.