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Conde Nast emails

Facebook, Twitter, and iPhone apps may be the flashy part of your marketing plan, but e-mail marketing still gets it done. Here are five myths.

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E-mail, e-mail, e-mail. What the heck did we do before e-mail?  Can you send me an e-mail? Hold on, I just have to check my e-mail. Did you see what that person just e-mailed? Oh my gosh delete that e-mail.

I mean seriously, people have lost jobs, people have lost sleep, and people have probably lost their minds, all because of e-mail. And that’s just the row of cubicles next to you. In fact, can you name a synonym for the word e-mail or inbox? Online correspondence? Please.

So how influential is e-mail?

– There are about 1.3 Billion email users worldwide
– 1 in every 5 people on the planet use email
– The average  person receives 304 business emails and 274 personal emails each week
– 7 out of 10 people check their personal email at work
– Nearly 1/3 do so 3+ times a day
– 6 out of 10 people use 2+ personal email addresses (that’s not a work email and a personal email… that’s 2+ personal e-mail accounts)
– In short, there are 2 million e-mails sent every second

And like it or not, from a marketing perspective, e-mail works. But with longevity and success, come certain fallacies. Here are…

Five E-Mail Marketing Myths:

email montage

Myth #1: Companies send ’email blasts’
The term ‘blast’ conjures up images of the veteran marketing manager standing at a computer with a large, flashing red button saying ‘deploy.’  With the press of the button, millions of e-mails will be scattered to unsuspecting readers across the universe at random.

Reality: Major companies like Conde Nast send highly-targeted, permission-based e-mail campaigns. They obtain consent every time, and a specific calendar of frequency and content is adhered to.

Myth #2: Companies should buy email lists
There are dozens, if not hundreds of companies that are willing to sell you lists of e-mail addresses. Like the little old lady that only drove the used car to church every Sunday, each rep will assure you that this is the most highly-targeted group of individuals on the planet. Each and every one of them has a brand new Gmail account with nothing in their inbox, and they check it 3x per day in hopes of receiving their first piece of correspondence.

Reality: The only legitimate way to grow a quality list is by obtaining permission. The best policy is to go for quality over quantity, respecting privacy and instilling trust over time. If your relationship isn’t 1:1, you don’t have a relationship.

Myth #3: All your e-mails get delivered

Congrats! You’ve built your list up to 10,000 people. You can’t wait for those 10,000 people to get your newsletter!

Reality: So many factors work against deliverability. So many people have so many accounts, but since people change jobs and companies close down free accounts after a certain amount of inactivity, bounces are just the beginning.  The reputation of the seller has a lot to do with deliverability, as well as the reputation of all included links. And content matters. If you think all your e-mail will automatically get through, just take a second to remember the time you missed getting an e-mail, only to find out that it got sent to your junk folder by mistake.

Myth #4: Companies should make it hard for users to unsubscribe

You’ve worked hard to build your list, and made sure users knew what they were getting. Is it ok to bury the unsubscribe link or make them come to the website and opt out from a preferences page?

Reality: The reality is that companies need to strictly adhere to CANSPAM, the 2003 law that established standards for sending commercial e-mail. Some of the necessary policies that need to be followed are:
a) E-mails cannot be misleading
b) Physical mailing address of the sending company has to be included
c) Working opt-out link

Companies need to stay up to date as these laws continue to evolve.

Myth #5: There are average email metrics
What’s the average open rate? What’s the average click through rate?

Reality: Email is the only direct marketing channel without specific benchmarking stats.  Because there are such a wide number of variables influencing performance, there really aren’t any magic numbers. Each company needs to study subscriber trends to understand the impact of their mailings.

So there you have it. With advertisers spending almost $500 million dollars on e-mail marketing in 2008, e-mail might not be sexy, but it’s still a proven consumer touch-point.


You might also like:

Episode 54: Marketing to your fan base with Facebook Public Profiles

Special thanks to Jennifer Gaonach of Brides.com for information for this post/podcast.

For my newly-engaged  female readers, you can sign up for any of several awesome wedding-related e-mails by clicking the ‘Join Now’ link on Brides.com.

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