Email marketing is an important part of any wide-reaching, holistic digital marketing campaign. With email marketing, you can reach customers who rarely visit your online shop, bring people who have abandoned their carts back to your store, and announce special deals to drive engagement and traffic on the most important days of the year.

But for all its value, lots of online business owners subscribe to popular email marketing myths. These myths can be damaging to your email marketing campaigns and marketing approaches. 

To make sure that you leverage email marketing correctly and successfully, let’s debunk these email marketing myths one by one.

No One Signs Up for Emails Anymore

The first myth is that most modern web shoppers, namely Millennials, don’t sign up for emails any longer. We’re not sure where this myth came from, as Millennials are the number one demographic that’s both highly online and willing to spend money (as GenZ is still a bit too young to make up the primary shopping demographic for most industries).

Indeed, most Millennials are always on their phones and are constantly checking their emails. That means there’s ample opportunity to get Millennials to subscribe to your email marketing list, opening them up to special deals, cart abandonment reminders, and more.

It is true, however, that you may need to sweeten the deal to get more Millennials to sign up for email marketing in the first place. You can do this by:

  • Not making it difficult to sign up for emails overall. Don’t make it an involved, multistep process
  • Offering free shipping or other perks for those who sign up for marketing emails
  • Making store membership available only to those who receive marketing emails

Make it a trade, and you might find that Millennials are among the most willing shoppers to sign up for marketing emails in your entire customer cohort.

Your Subject Line Has to Be Super Short

Lots of email marketers also believe that subject lines have to be as short as possible. To them, this is a nonnegotiable aspect that can’t be denied; it’s common wisdom, so it is often taken as gospel without real investigation.

In truth, you can stretch this “rule” to some extent. Remember, a marketing email subject line is useless if it doesn’t attract customers and inform them about what they’ll get if they open your email. 

It is true that, if given a choice between two equally effective subject lines, you should choose the shorter of the two. But if you have to pick between giving your potential customer or converting more information or less, opt for giving them more information.

How Long is Too Long?

Generally, marketing email subject lines should be no longer than two sentences. You can have one quick introductory sentence, then a second sentence that expands on the initial concept introduced.

You should also try to avoid making your subject lines much longer than what a customer can see on their email screen. To test this, send a test marketing email to yourself and examine how much of the subject line you can read. If it’s enough to get you interested in the email’s contents, then it’s fine. If it’s a bit too long, try to shorten it or switch some of the information around.

Some of the best email marketing tools can help by telling you whether a subject line is too long or short.

You Have to Avoid Certain Words to Stay Out of Spam Folders

One of the most pervasive email marketing myths is that you absolutely must avoid certain words, such as:

  • Free
  • Special
  • Deal
  • Offer
  • New
  • Gift
  • Etc.

If you fail to heed this advice, you’ll find that your marketing emails get automatically routed to customers’ spam folders! That’s the worst possible scenario for any email marketing campaign.

But this is not 100% true. In fact, while spam filters are pretty good at detecting actual spam, your marketing emails will not show up as spam if you compose them properly and if you construct subject lines wisely.

The Trick: Using “Spam” Words Carefully

You can and should use trigger words, such as “free” and “offer”, regularly; they attract customer attention and get people interested in what you have to offer. However, you have to use them carefully and sparingly, as well as use words you know will connect with your audience.

For example, you shouldn’t repeat one of the above words three times in a row just to get someone to open an email. Instead, you should include one or two engagement words at most, then include important information in the email’s subject line and in its body text.

Spam filters are pretty effective at detecting whether an email is or is not spam based on its contents. If the rest of your email is well-designed and has useful information without being full of buzzwords, it’s unlikely it’ll automatically be filtered out.

Of course, don’t hesitate to make use of A/B testing and other tools to see which versions of your emails get the most engagement. That way, you can constantly update your email text and formats for the best results.

Lost Subscriptions Are Always Bad

Lastly, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that every time you lose a subscription, it’s a net negative sign for your email marketing campaign. Lost subscriptions aren’t always bad, even though it can feel bad initially to see the subscription number for your campaign go down.

Why aren’t subscriptions bad? Doesn’t that fly in the face of all conventional marketing wisdom?

While it’s true that you generally want more subscriptions than not, that’s only the case if those subscriptions are being generated by your target audience members. It wastes your time and the time of other people if those who aren’t interested in your brand or products subscribe to your marketing emails.

So, when you lose an email subscription because a visitor stumbled upon your website, signed up for emails, then decided after the fact that they were not the right customer for you, that’s a victory! It means that your marketing messages are working by filtering out people least likely to buy your products.

Every digital marketer has a limited amount of time in the day. You simply don’t have enough time to market to everyone across the Internet. When someone unsubscribes, stay positive and remember that it just means your marketing emails are now more targeted than ever before.

Plus, any of your data gathering tools won’t collect data from non-target audience members. This, in turn, can help you further refine and streamline your marketing emails to be even more effective for the people you want to market to. It could very well lead to better cash flow in the long run!


At the end of the day, email marketing can have a seriously positive impact on your traffic generation, conversions, and brand awareness. This is doubly true when you use high-quality email marketing tools like Benchmark.

Benchmark’s email builder tool, for example, allows you to effortlessly design and send out emails to your target audience members in no time. Sign up for our free plan today and let us help you master email marketing.

Author Bio

Lee Li is a project manager and B2B copywriter from ShenZhen, China, and is currently based out of Singapore. She has a decade of experience in the Chinese fintech startup space as a PM for TaoBao, MeitTuan, and DouYin (now TikTok).