Here’s the truth about email marketing.
> It’s not just about sending more emails.
> It’s not about a beautiful design.
> It’s not about the subject line.
I see experts and influencers hammering on these points like they’ve been chiseled in stone for millennia.
Like ANY marketing, it takes TIME to figure out what works for you, your business, and your customers.
Here’s why the hottest recommendations in email marketing are wrong.
Email Marketing Myth #1:
Sending more emails will instantly make you more money.
Truth: Sending one email/month to your list isn’t enough to get you where you want to go.
I typically recommend sending an email weekly to your list. (Of course, every business differs).
Here’s where it gets slippery.
Once you start seeing returns on your email campaigns, you/your leadership will tell you to start sending more.
Yes, your revenue will most likely go up. But revenue does not equal profitability!
Do you know what else I’ve seen change when you start sending more emails?
- Open rates go down. You’re now giving your subscribers too many emails to choose from. When we overwhelm people with too many choices, they stop choosing.
- Unsubscribes go up. Every email you send is an opportunity to unsubscribe from your email list. The more opportunities you give people to unsubscribe, the more likely they are going to do it. (Especially when you’re crowding an overcrowded inbox).
What happens when your open rates go down and unsubscribes go up?
You start a repetitive cycle of chasing more opens and new subscribers. When revenue is the ONLY metric you’re looking at, that can mean taking shortcuts.
Shortcuts that look like:
- Misleading subject lines that piss people off.
- Less than transparent ways of opting in new subscribers.
You get on a hamster wheel of chasing the almighty dollar instead of looking at ways to be more strategic about sending and subscribing.
Yes, revenue is important. (Hi, paychecks. We love you!). But when you’re wasting time and resources on inefficient tactics, you’re wasting money instead of being profitable.
Email Marketing Myth #2:
Beautiful design means better emails which means better performance.
If you are a visual brand, then yes, beautiful emails are a priority. I’m talking about fashion, consumer products, etc.
But beautiful design can sacrifice usability.
For example, I’ll see brands put ALL of the text of an email in a graphic and send it out.
Why is that an issue?
- Compliance. ADA requirements mean you need to make sure your emails can be read by a text-to-speech reader. If all of your text is in an image (and you don’t include alt-text), then your visually impaired subscribers can’t read your email.
- Mobile-responsiveness. Text in an image doesn’t resize to the screen size your subscriber is using. It just shrinks. If you’re not paying attention to your font size, then you’re ignoring how well over half of your subscribers are viewing your email.
Don’t get me wrong, beautiful emails can be eye-catching and engaging. Having an amazing design builds credibility.
However, if your design isn’t usable, then it’s not helpful to lead your subscribers to a conversion.
Email Marketing Myth #3:
Having a fantastic subject line means more opens.
Let’s take a step back even further here. What’s typically behind this myth is an assumption that more opens mean more sales.
Let me put this one to bed. Higher open rates do not equal higher conversions.
This idea leads people to use all sorts of clever tactics to get an open.
- Misleading subject lines
- One word subject lines
- Teasers and sensational promises
Guess what? If the content of your email doesn’t deliver on the promise of your subject line, you’re gonna piss off some folks.
And what do annoyed people do with annoying emails? They unsubscribe.
A better way to boost your email open rates is to look at your engagement data.
That’s all available in my free guide, Boost Your Email Open Rates ASAP.
So what does a profitable email strategy look like?
There’s a ton of bad advice out there about how email marketing is going to make you millions of dollars.
Most of those strategies come from business influencers (who learned email in their own businesses and that’s it).
They promise quick results by cranking out email after email.
A profitable email marketing strategy looks like this:
- Sustainable with your current resources. You have a limited amount of time and talent. Start small with the resources you have and build out from there.
- Leads with empathy. Pinpoint the signals, interest, and warmth of your subscribers and you can deliver offers and messaging that’s helpful, not icky.
- Organized. Streamline as much as possible with procedures and templates. If you can take part of the mental load off of your plate, you can be more strategic and creative with your email campaigns.
No, that advice isn’t super sexy. It’s not promising you results ASAP.
It’s giving you realistic expectations that you need to figure out what works for you, your business, and your customers.
Yes, you can use email to make money quickly. But at what cost? Burnout? Turned off subscribers? Impulsive buyers who won’t be back?
It takes time to figure out. It takes time to refine and tweak until you find your footing.
That’s why I do what I do. I know all of the tactics. I know they can drive results fast.
But fast doesn’t always feel good. It’s a flash in the pan that becomes harder and harder to repeat because it isn’t sustainable.
Stop listening to the influencers and gurus who tell you the only way to do it is their way. Just because it worked for them, doesn’t mean it works for everyone.