E-mail Marketing: 4 common assumptions that are undeniably false.

by Mar 7, 2016Tactical, Web0 comments

“… as always, the quality over quantity argument reigns supreme, especially in the context of e-mail marketing.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have proposed e-mail marketing to a lot of companies and most will dismiss the idea at first. Everyone is too busy – they often say – receiving another e-mail will waste their time. They are bound to delete them and unsubscribe! That’s what I would do… This argument might make sense if the world were made up of time-poor business owners. But it’s not.
These are the most common email marketing assumptions that I’ve come across and will now disprove:



1. E-mail marketing is basically scamming.

You might have associated e-mail marketing with spam. That’s probably because once upon a time your inbox was full of suspicious e-mails that you didn’t ask to receive. You might have seen subject lines like these before: “Need Viagara? Cheap and limited supply for $2.39.” “Lose weight FAST!!! New fast-acting weight loss treatment recently discovered” “Notice of decease: Ms.(Your last name). Please claim heritage.”
You’re right, there have been a lot of scams and e-mail spamming over the years. It has given e-mail marketing a bad rep. But that is seriously changing. E-mail hosts, like Hotmail, Gmail, and the likes, are so good at spam detection that they are known to flag ordinary e-mails as spam if they seem even a tad suspicious. Then you get a call from your aunt asking you if you received her Thanksgiving dinner invitation. You’re left to sheepishly explain that it wound up in your junk folder!

“… there have been a lot of scams and e-mail spamming over the years. It has given e-mail marketing a bad rep. But that is seriously changing.”

My point? Spam is dying. Even the best e-mail marketing platforms, like MailChimp and Constant Contact, are very strict about how you can use their services. They won’t let j.d.179._xd@email.com (or anyone for that matter) abuse their system because they have legislation to respect and a reputation to maintain.

2. No one has time to read e-mails anymore.

False. No one has time to read irrelevant e-mails anymore. A few years ago, it was common practice to try and add anyone and everyone on your e-mail distribution list. The more people you had, the more conversions you would get. Let’s say that 5,000 more e-mails at a 0.002 conversion rate equates to 10 sales. 10 additional sales for some companies could mean thousands of dollars in additional revenue. But, as always, the quality over quantity argument reigns supreme, especially in the context of e-mail marketing. It is way better to have 100 highly qualified and targeted subscribers than 1000 that aren’t. Chances are that these 100 subscribers will be highly engaged and interested to read your e-mail when it appears in their inbox.
So, if you have a targeted message for a targeted distribution list, they will find the time to read it. Because the information you provide, or the products you sell will be highly valuable and relevant to the members of your e-mail list. The outcome? Your e-mail campaigns will have far better results. So, you’re right. No one has time to read e-mails anymore, if these e-mails don’t provide any value. The key: Figure out how you can provide value to your users. Maybe you add value by providing customers with exclusive discounts to reward their loyalty. Maybe the blog articles you send via e-mail are informative, interesting or even inspiring enough for people to take the time to read. Find a way to add value through your e-mails and get them to the right people. Trust me, they will take the time to read them.

3. E-mail marketing is expensive.

Again, not the case. You can start e-mail marketing for free with Mail Chimp if you have fewer than 2000 subscribers. The free plan has all the options that most startups need. Even paid plans that offer A/B testing and a lot of other neat features are very cheap too. They can be had for as little as $30/month.

4. E-mail marketing won't drive sales.

Really? There have been tons of research and cases proving that e-mail marketing can lead to sales. You might say that this is only true for big players, like eBay and Amazon, that have e-commerce stores and are selling stuff online. Also false. The same can be said for small Ma and Pa stores, or for local service providers, if their e-mail marketing is done correctly (which is another topic altogether). If you don’t believe in this last point, then you might not understand how e-mail marketing can be used, or what it can achieve. One marketing principle that people often forget about is frequency. The more times you are exposed to something, the more you start to believe it, even if it’s not true.

“Nutella is a healthy hazelnut breakfast spread” – No it’s not. It is a good excuse to eat chocolate in the morning though.

“Gatorade replenishes electrolytes after a workout” – Well, this may be true... But what they're not saying is that you probably don’t workout hard enough to lose electrolytes in the first place.

“The Jews are the reason we lost the First World War and for the economic disparity in Germany” – Adolph Hitler repeated this enough times for a nation to start believing it.

These examples are extreme. My point is that the more frequently you communicate a message to an audience, no matter how true or subtle it may be, the more likely it is that this audience will start to believe it. This is where the beauty of e-mail marketing lies. It enables you to communicate frequently with a (hopefully) targeted audience. So, maybe the message you’ll want to reinforce through your e-mails is:

  • “I’m an expert in my field”
  • “Our prices won’t be beat”
  • “We offer the highest quality product”
  • “We’re a local, family-run business”
  • “Thank you for being a loyal customer”

Regardless of the message, e-mail marketing will help you to reinforce it every time you send one out. Maybe it will take 50 e-mails before your potential clients get the point. But they will eventually! When that happens, you’ll be top-of-mind. You’ll be the one they’ll contact to satisfy their need. The e-mail marketing sales-cycle may be longer for some companies than others, but that doesn't mean that e-mail marketing won't drives sales. It does. And it will.

To recap

I understand that e-mail marketing isn’t for everyone and some businesses won’t be able to find the time to do it. But don’t let your false assumptions prevent you from considering it. It can be a very viable marketing option.   Do you have another assumptions about e-mail marketing? Leave it in the comments below.

Meet the author.

Taro Abarbanel-Uemura

Marketing Strategist

Meet Fortified Marketing's founder and lead marketing consultant. Taro loves reading fascinating articles on various marketing-related subjects, just as much as he enjoys writing about them. When he isn’t savouring a latte while working on his newest blog post, he can be found at a coffee shop in Ottawa's Little Italy, or marathoning shows and documentaries on Netflix.

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