Email Marketing Myths You Should Ignore

  •    Freelance journalist covering women, business, policy and social good.

The next time you hear that email marketing is dead, consider this: Over 70 percent of adults say they prefer companies to communicate with them via email, according to research group Marketing Sherpa.

Other data confirms that email use is alive and well: The number of email accounts created worldwide is expected to grow from over 4.1 billion in 2014 to over 5.2 billion in 2018, research shows.

Before you can create a great email marketing strategy, however, it's helpful to debunk some of the common myths about email use. Check out the guide below to get the real information you need to plan a successful email marketing campaign for your website or business.

Myth #1: People hate emails

People like emails. Some 91 percent of U.S. adults say they like to receive promotional emails from their favorite companies, reports Marketing Sherpa. Of course, it's up to you to make sure that you send emails with information that's both relevant and helpful to your readers.

The good news is that many consumers already have a positive outlook towards email marketing: Some 95 percent of consumers who sign up for a newsletter from a brand they recognize say they consider the email useful.

Make sure that the tone of your email is friendly, and that you're engaging the reader in a meaningful conversation, rather than talking at them, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. Also remember that less is more. Although consumers like emails, it's possible to have too much of a good thing.

Myth #2: Social media is more effective

Emails are actually about 40 times more effective than both Facebook and Twitter combined when it comes to acquiring customers, according to McKinsey. Taking a broader look, emails not only prompt purchases at a rate that's three times higher than social media, the average order value is also 17 percent higher, McKinsey reports.

To ensure that you're making the most of the sales opportunity that email marketing provides, focus on the journey, and not the click, advises McKinsey. In other words, understand that opening an email is just the first step in a consumer's decision journey. Be sure that you also include links that send consumers directly to the landing page for the item or offer you are featuring in your email. And don't forget to optimize your emails for mobile users, who are unlikely to return to your site if they have a bad experience.

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Myth #3: Emails don't generate new leads

Many marketers believe that while emails may help to develop customer relationships, they don't generate new leads. In fact, emails are frequently shared with other people who are not in your marketing database.

One tip for inspiring more email forwards is to include a “share with your network" call-to-action in your email. Emails that were forwarded the most frequently were 13 times more likely to contain a prominent sharing link in the main body of the message, reports Marketing Land.

And don't discount those relationships you build, which can also increase sales. About 7 in 10 U.S. adults have made purchases that were influenced by a company's email, according to Marketing Sherpa. In addition, half of U.S. shoppers who have left an item in an online shopping cart say email reminders are helpful, the research group reports.

So don't believe the hype that email marketing is dead. In fact, thanks to its affordability, email marketing offers one of the best returns on your marketing investment. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing delivers an average 4,300 percent return on investment for U.S. businesses. And that's a great reason to consider email marketing as part of a successful strategy to grow your business.

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