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It happened again the other day: I was introduced to someone new and we went through the usual questions. When my new acquaintance asked me what I do and I replied email marketing, he exclaimed, “Oh, so you send all that spam I get!”

Face palm. Rolling eyes. Angry frown. Sob.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times:

Email marketing is about sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Thus, email ≠ spam.

But I realized there was more to this explanation, and that there are several other prevalent email myths. Here are some that come to mind:

  • Email is spam. No! You’re helping subscribers by providing deals and information, from educational content to help on how best to buy online. Assuming you’re not committing the cardinal email sin of buying a list, all of your subscribers are signing up for your messages and want to get your emails. If you’re doing it right, you’re actually providing a benefit!
  • People get too much email, so we shouldn’t send a lot. You want to strike a balance, but what is ‘a lot’ to you may not be a lot to a subscriber. Some companies find success emailing subscribers daily!  While this might not be the best strategy for the majority of companies, ask this question: does this email provide value to your readers?
  • We should send to all of our readers to get the most out of our list. Wait one minute there. Content that seems right for one reader may not be right for another. Segmenting your list doesn’t just improve the quality of your email program for your readers, but can also help you maintain a good sending score. Email clients (like Gmail or Ymail) look at your open rates and spam complaints to judge whether your email makes it into the inbox. Providing the best content gives you the greatest chance of doing that!


  • Unsubscribes are bad and should be avoided at all costs. When judging an email list, you have to look at both the quantity and the quality. Some people will find that your email program doesn’t serve them – and this can be for a ton of reasons, from a change to relocating. You don’t want to sacrifice the opportunity to engage with your key readers just because you will have some unsubscribes.
  • Shorter subject lines/sending during the morning/sending Tuesday-Thursday is better. When it comes to email, what works for one company may not work for another. A/B testing is critical to determining what works best for you. And since even less robust email platforms generally have this functionality, there’s no reason not to test!


Hopefully you’ve found a good counterpoint or two to some of the most common email myths. And if you already knew these myths and points, wonderful! Feel free to share with your more skeptical colleagues. At the very least, I hope this separates me from all the Nigerian princes.


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