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Email Myths: Not Everything You Hear Is True

In this article David Baker, Vice President of Email Solutions at Avenue A/Razorfish, tells us not to believe everything we hear or read about email marketing best practices. He advises us to use best practices, studies, and guidance from the experts as a starting point, but don't consider their advice to be absolute.

You need to adjust your e-mail for your target audience and for what you want to achieve. Most importantly: test, test, and test some more.

The first myth he debunkes is this one: "never create an all-graphic e-mail because no one will see it or it will get flagged as spam. Instead, your e-mails should be in HTML text or even better-text--so none of your graphics are blocked. Just say "no" to graphics".

Wrong. It depends on the situation, your audience, and what you are trying to achieve. Earlier this year the AiMA held an e-mail event where one of the participants talked about an all-graphic versus HTML test they performed for the Olympics. Which e-mail was hands down the more successful campaign? You guessed it, the all-graphic version.

Here are some other favorite myths:

Preview pane

  • What you hear: Ensure your most compelling content is at the top and to the left so it appears in the preview pane.
  • Reality: Test different layouts and designs to see which is most effective for your audience. What may be compelling in your eyes may not be compelling in the eyes of your customers.

Below the fold

  • What you hear: Everything below the fold will not be seen, so the e-mail will not be successful.
  • Reality: You need to define success before you can determine if something is not successful. More often then not, I hear people say an e-mail was not successful because the links below the fold did not receive any clicks. First off, if you are measuring an e-mail's success by the number of clicks it receives, we need to talk. If it is a direct response e-mail, then sales or leads is a better measurement. If it is a reference tool, then measure opens over time. If it is informational, counting the number of clicks makes sense, but you may want to complement this information by tracking time on site and where users go on the site.

Short content

  • What you hear: Make sure your message is short and to the point. No one has time to read a lot of copy.
  • Reality: This is a blanket statement that cannot cover all situations. Especially when it comes to direct response e-mails, the key is to test long versus short and different designs and layouts. The value of some products cannot be conveyed in just a few sentences. The headers tell the story, grab attention and then the copy fills in the blanks for those who need more information.

Thanks for confirming this, David :o)

Source: MediaPost's Email Insider

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