Proven Email Marketing Best Practices

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we talked about strategies that can help you have more successful email campaigns and how to boost your open rate by having appealing subject lines. In this blog, we want to leave you with some valuable best practices that the best email strategists keep in mind for their own email campaigns.

Get personal

If you have a customer’s email address, you probably have their actual name, too. Use this to your advantage and catch their eye by addressing them directly.

A 2013 study by Experian Marketing Services found that personalized promotional mailings had 29 percent higher unique open rates and 41 percent higher unique click rates, compared to non-personalized mailings. This is strong evidence that personalization matters. Big time.

Let customers know they’re more than a pair of eyes or a prospective sale. To you, they’re a person with a name.

Connect the dots between the first line and subject line

Aim for brevity in the subject line, but don’t let that dissuade you from being descriptive. As we mentioned in Chapter 2, tease your recipient with a great subject line without being too cryptic (e.g. “You won’t believe this!”) or too general (e.g. “February Newsletter”). And then deliver on that tease, and do it quickly.

Small business owners should carry a sense of urgency into their email campaigns, always remembering that they have a limited amount of time to communicate value before the reader sends the email to the trash.

Remember, too, that first lines will appear in the preview text in the interfaces of most email platforms.

Keep it short and sweet

like your subject line, your email should be concise. If you’re like most marketers, your big picture strategy probably revolves around your website. Keep that in mind when making email content decisions. House the majority of your content on your site and link to it in emails to drive traffic to your hub.

With this strategy, think of your email as a menu that describes the meaty content available on your site. Be sure to get your key message across in the email, but don’t serve it as a main course. If readers want to know more, they’ll click through. Be sure that every word has a necessary function in communicating your message.

Be clear, personal, and non-salesy

If you’re not careful to make sure your message is coherent and free of ambiguity, it doesn’t matter how well-worded the subject line is, what time the message arrives, or how dazzling your layout is. It won’t be understood.

When writing the message, too, be sure to make it more personal than general. Emailing is personal, after all. It’s not a billboard; it’s a doorstep conversation.

Believe in what you’re selling, but be respectful. Use tact; don’t diminish your brand’s reputation by filling your recipients’ inboxes with something they may deem spam. It’s a relationship, so it needs to be based on trust and respect.

Ask questions

Your email message is meant to generate a response— whether a click, a visit to your site, an R.S.V.P., a subscription, or otherwise. Keep this in mind as you craft your content.

One way to engage readers is a simple conversational tactic: Ask questions. Perhaps you’re looking for real feedback on a new product, or maybe you’re simply looking to tease a page on your website. Asking is a simple way to accomplish both.

Remember mobile users

Make links clickable and use a responsive sending program, which will cater to mobile users. Direct users to pages on your website, which work well for mobile browsing and keep the HTML in the message simple for fast loading.

Measure engagement and tweak, tweak, tweak

As a follow up to A/B testing, metrics should mean everything to the modern marketer. In an age where measurement is only becoming easier, be sure you’re taking advantage of the sign posts that can help you constantly improve.

Compile as much data about your readership as you can and hedge your bets. Measure all of the above against your subscription list. What subject lines get you the most opens? Do first person, conversational tones help you to get click-thrus?


The best marketers incorporate email as an integral part of their campaigns year after year while avoiding the temptation to ditch the practice altogether for greener, more dazzling pastures. In fact, a 2014 study by GigaOM Media—a San Francisco-based technology research and analysis firm—found that professional marketers depend on email marketing more than any other practice, including social media, mobile and display advertising, paid search and search engine optimization, referrals, and several other applications.

The reason is that email is direct, showing up on the digital doorstep of customers: it can be personalized, not just generalized to a broad user base.

Combined with marketing automation software, like Infusionsoft or Constant Contact it can be one of the most efficient ways to reach out to, and engage with, your customers. And it’s cheaper than most other commonly used marketing tactics.

As such a powerful tool, it’s critical for small business marketers to understand more than just the basic function of email marketing; they must also recognize the potential power email can offer and seek to harness it for their business.