Three Popular Email Superstitions – Debunked!

It’s Friday the 13th! Many people in western culture are superstitious about today’s date.

But is Friday the 13th really an unlucky date, or have we simply believed in the idea for so long that it feels true? And how, exactly, does all this relate to email marketing? Read on to find out!

According to, a superstition is simply “a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.”

Superstitions can apply to all kinds of things, including our beliefs about email marketing, how to do it, and now not to do it. Following are three long-held beliefs in the email marketing world that could be considered superstitious, and the facts that prove them wrong.

Email Superstition #1: If you use *that* word, it will trigger a spam designation. 

Fact: Spam filters have become far more sophisticated of late, and now evaluate many criteria to determine whether or not your email is spam. If your email is legitimate and includes good, solid content, chances are you won’t have to worry about it.

Email Superstition #2: If someone unsubscribes, it’s the end of the world. 

Fact: Email is only one way to keep in touch with your prospects and customers. We’re all experiencing information overload these days, and not everyone has the time or inclination to commit to your brand at the email subscriber level. So instead of fretting about unsubscribes, be proactive and provide links to your social media networks in your unsubscribe acknowledgement message. This gives them the opportunity to stay in touch with you at a lower level of commitment. That said, if they do choose to walk away from your brand, let it go and move on. Your products and services are not going to be a perfect fit for everyone. Instead of crying over spilled milk, focus your efforts on continuing to build a tribe full of followers and subscribers who actually want to hear from you.

Email Superstition #3: If you measure your open rate, you will know how successful your email was.

Fact: Open rates can be very misleading. Here’s why: A common practice for many email clients is to block images. Unfortunately for email marketers, an “open” is indicated when an image is downloaded in an email. As a result, if image blocking is in place, even if the subscriber opens the email, it doesn’t get recorded as an open. In addition, if images aren’t set up to automatically download on a mobile device, the email defaults to text format. This will also skew your open rate stats.

So instead of tracking open rates, analyze clickthroughs resulting from  calls to action, and leads generated per email. This is a far more accurate way to measure the success of your email campaigns. And hey, at the end of the day, lead generation is still what it’s all about.

As you can see, our long-held assumptions about what’s true in email marketing don’t always hold up under closer scrutiny. Go forth and question your beliefs, and see how many you can prove wrong. Your results will speak for themselves.

Have you ever proven a common email superstition false? Share your experience in the comments!

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