3 Email Marketing Debates Even Top Marketers Can't Agree On

Getting a straight answer when it comes to email marketing can feel like to trying to solicit tax advice from a four year-old. How the heck are you supposed to know who's wrong, who's right, what works, and what doesn't when it comes to your email marketing?

If you take a quick look online, you'll quickly stumble upon expert debates on the topic. One marketing guru swears by long emails packed with information, while another insists upon "short and sweet" emails to increase conversions.

Still other marketing experts debate about media - whether or not to include photos and videos in your email marketing, whether you should send plain text or HTML emails, and so on.

Here are a few of the biggest debates in email marketing today, and which side of the fence you should fall on when it comes to marketing your business via email.

To photo or not to photo?

Many marketers insist that subject lines indicative of a [PHOTO] inside get higher open rates. Others guarantee that emails with photos are 10x likely to get higher click-through rates.

So why wouldn't you include a photo in every email blast you send?

Well, marketers who are "anti-photo" cite loading time as the reason to opt out from using photographs. If the recipient is using a slow Internet connection or a slow 3G/4G connection to open your email, your photo could take longer to load and might therefore encourage them to skip it or delete it before your message is read.

Also, many Gmail users have their inboxes set to the default "hide photos" setting, making an extra click required to view any included photos.

Our take? Depending on your target market, most of your prospects are likely to have fast Internet that supports quick loading times. In this day and age, we don't see slow loading speeds as reason enough not to include a photo, when photos have been shown to increase engagement so well!

HTML or Plain Text?

Will your audience respond better to a beautifully-designed, professional-looking email template, or to a plain text email with no design whatsoever?

The benefits of an HTML-based email are obvious: the ability to incorporate great-looking photos and graphics, the power to increase a small business' stature with professional, eye-catching templates, and the freedom to tweak new design elements as your brand evolves.

But some brands may have a lot of success using simple, plain text emails that look like they were sent from a friend. Casual subject lines with lower-case letters and emails that contain nothing but the Internet equivalent of a handwritten note are great for service-based businesses like coaches and speakers.

Our take? Know your audience. If you're looking to impress with professionalism, go with HTML. If you want to appeal on a personal, heart level, opt for plain text.

As always, don't be afraid to test and mix 'n match until you find the style that works for you.

Long or short?

This is perhaps the most divisive debate in email marketing circles. Fans of long emails claim they build trust because they can address all of the prospect's fears and eliminate reasons to say "no."

On the other hand, shorter emails are said to increase curiosity and make the prospect more likely to click a link through to your website.

Our take? Test! Your customer base is unlike anyone else's. Only by testing your open rates and click-through's will you discover the perfect length for your emails.

Forget the email marketing debates, but don't be surprised if you encounter conflicting information online.

The main thing to keep in mind is your target market. Test to find out which email marketing style resonates with them, use that style to increase leads, conversions and profits, and be consistent in your efforts!