Email marketing can be a brilliant way of small businesses promoting themselves to their customers and their potential customers.
With software like mailchimp and the like it is easy to get onboard with this aspect of marketing. Apart from the time spent compiling and sending your emails, email marketing can be either very low cost or no cost depending on your email marketing provider and the size of your list.
Still, some people aren’t too sure about certain aspects of this useful tool and there are a lot of myths around about what you can and can’t do and what will and won’t work.
So let’s bust 5 of those myths right now!
1. You can’t use FREE in the subject line
Oh yes you can. Putting the word ‘free’ in your subject line will not send your email to the spam bin. The only reason to consider whether to use the word FREE or not (and indeed to shout it in capital letters) is if you feel the tone jars with your brand. If not, go ahead. It’s generally speaking a work that piques interest. You can also compare the open rate on emails with the word in the subject or not, or even do a bit of A/B split testing if you’re unsure how it will be received.
2. Personalisation is cheesy
It can be but it doesn’t have to be. The trick is to use personalisation judiciously so the person reading it knows it’s for them, but doesn’t get the feeling that they’re talking to a salesman who mentions their name every 5 seconds to try and build ‘rapport’.
There’s evidence that a small amount of personalisation in the subject line increases the open rate so it’s worth considering. Certainly within the body of the email, starting and ending with a mention of the recipients name can help the email to seem friendlier and therefore be received better.
3. You can email anyone you like so long as it’s only once
Hmm. No not really! Strictly speaking, if you have stored someone’s data anywhere, even if you only intend to use it once, you should have their permission if you want to stay the right side of the Data Protection Act. Use your website and social pages as well as other face to face methods to ask for and collect people’s data for email marketing. Don’t hoover up a load of business cards at an event and pop them all in your database. Don’t collect details for a competition and then add them to your mailing list without being clear that people are also signing up. Don’t buy dodgy email lists from the internet… and don’t continue to mail someone who has asked you not to!
4. A good open rate equals success
It is and it isn’t. Getting someone to open an email is one thing. But what then? Did they call? Did they email back? Did they sign up for something? Did they visit your website?
If an email had a high open rate but a low click through or response rate, arguably it wasn’t as successful as it could have been. And remember that often it looks like someone has opened an email when really they have only clicked on the mail and not really read the content – certainly not in any detail. At best you’ve prompted a bit of brand awareness. A much better measurement of success is a higher click through rate to your website or response rate in some way.
5. There is a best time of day and day of the week to send your email
Untrue. This all depends on who you are, who your list are and what you are selling. There is simply no magical time when you’ll get a better open rate. The best approach to take is to start with common sense based on your company and your list and then monitor and adjust depending. You can also use A/B split testing here if you want to try out a coupler of options and get accurate feedback.