Email Analysis

Myths of email marketing

Accepted wisdom is as much a danger to email marketing as any other industry.

I was taken to a small animal zoo when I was a kid and presented in front of a vivarium over which the word CHAMELEON was displayed in various colours. Our guide told us that it was an exceptionally clever animal as it changed its colour in order to melt into the background and so avoid predators. 

My family and I stared at this predominantly green creature, clear against the dark blue background. After a few seconds my father asked the question that so many others must have done before and was told that ‘it doesn’t always feel like it.’ 

Despite my confusing observations I believed that chameleons changed colour for the purposes of camouflage as it is easy to accept what those in charge say. Modern herpetologists on the other hand are not so convinced.

The scepticism that this little lizards has since engendered in me has been extremely useful over the years and I have often doubted as facts those things which people state with extreme confidence. Take our craft for instance.

If you go online and search for myths of email marketing you will find various lists of accepted wisdom which various people suggest are wrong. You will see statistics and logic produced to prove their conclusions. However my point is that this approach is fundamentally wrong. Let me explain.

One specific piece of accepted wisdom is that the best time to send marketing emails is at 3 PM on a Thursday. One commentator produced data which showed that all but one percent of emails are opened within 48 hours. Indeed, the commentator states that all but 5% are opened within one day. Case proven you might feel. Certainly the commentator believes this is so.

This type of logic misses the point. Whilst it might destroy the myth as an eternal truth, the fact is that the best time for you to send an email is unknown; unknown that is before you experiment with send times. Until you get the returns from your email marketing software you have no idea of the best time to aim for.

My research suggests that there is a limit to the number of marketing emails I can effectively send without there being a drop-off in open rates and a significant increase in unsubscribes. If I suggested that I knew the figure that could be applied as an eternal truth I would, of course, be wrong.

The first thing you must accept is that you are special. Those on your email marketing list differ from those on everyone else’s to a greater or lesser extent. Unique is an overused word but the response of your subscribers will vary from those of all you competitors. It is up to you to find the best frequency of emails you send for the maximum return on investment.

By all means use accepted wisdom as a starting point but for success you must discover what is best for you.

So there is indeed one eternal truth, one fact of email marketing life which applies to everyone: that thre is no eternal truth, just testing.




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