The Five Strangest Myths About B2B Email Marketing of 2012 – Busted

You’ve probably read or heard rumors about the “ultimate demise” of email marketing going around. This is one of the “big” predictions in 2012, apart from the Mayan calendar’s December doomsday deadline. There has been a great deal of nonsense raised around anything related to B2B email marketing – from email lists to subject lines – that’s causing unnecessary distress among email marketing specialists, email list companies, and businesses in general. That’s why it’s now time to separate fiction from fact once and for all.



1. Email marketing is dead.
This is perhaps the worst claim that rumor-mongers are spreading. Citing the shift toward the social platform, many people think that email marketing is nearing complete extinction. But the facts suggest otherwise. Around 59% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel they use for generating sales. In addition, investments on email marketing are expected to increase from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $2 billion by 2014, which really doesn’t sound so “dead” at all.

2. Email marketing harms branding.
A lot of doubters say that email marketing damages a brand’s reputation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Apart from the fact that more than one-half of B2B marketers rely on email marketing and a projected growth in spending for email marketing, this channel has been used by companies for building relationships with their customers and prospects. Email is such a trusted form of communication that 9 out 10 individuals prefer to receive updates from companies through email newsletters than through social media.

3. Email blasts are indiscriminate.
Statement 3 is only true in poorly-planned and badly-managed email campaigns. Email marketing is an extremely precise tool that allows you to target criteria-based sections of your email lists. Approximately 84% of B2B marketers are using segment-targeting in carrying out their campaigns. Acquiring quality mailing lists from a reputable email lists provider is an important requirement in thorough segmentation and accurate targeting.

4. Email lists are diamonds.
Diamonds are forever, but email lists are not. Studies have shown a very strong positive correlation exists between age of subscription (contacts from your own list building efforts and those from an email lists provider) and opt-out rates. The older the list, the higher the “unsubscribe” rates are. Email lists older than 4 months have opt-out rates as high as 10%. This highlights the importance of working with only a trusted B2B email list broker.

5. Email subject lines should offer a discount.
This is a bad idea. The words “offer” and “discount” should never be used in subject lines because they’re among the top spam-related terms and are known to cause above-average bounce rates. Alternatively, you should use interrogative or imperative subject lines. Research also shows that writing down the word “exclusive” (within context, of course) in subject lines increases unique open rates by up to 14%.

The above misconceptions would have been quite funny if they weren’t so harmful. Spreading falsehoods like these, whether intentional or not, causes costly setbacks not only for a few marketers but to the entire industry as well. That’s why it’s important to verify claims like these with facts for yourself as there’s still a lot of these things lying around the web. Do you have any other email marketing myth you’d like to share or debunk? Do you think email marketing is really dead?