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9 Email Marketing Tips and Best Practices

| Email & SMS Marketing

Ready to get started with email marketing?  Here are 9 quick tips and best practices that will get you on the road to success.


#1.  Build Targeted Lists

Email marketing today is unequivocally permission-based.  You can only send emails to people who opted into your list and expressed a desire to receive your content.

Spamming is a lost cause.  Don’t buy lists and send unsolicited emails – it will backfire and damage your brand.

Take the time initially to build out your list.  People who subscribed with interest are more likely to stay subscribed.  Spam is viewed so negatively that even if you reach someone interested in your offer, they’re likely to unsubscribe.


#2.  Automate Drip Campaigns

As JB says, “Don’t wait, automate.”

Much of the email content you’ll send out will be from prepared email sequences you use as drip campaigns.  This requires more content creation work up front, but once that’s complete, you can automate your email marketing to the point that it’s virtually effortless.

At first, you might be tempted to put together emails on the fly.  This is more work and results are sporadic.

Take advantage of planning and email marketing software to automate your email marketing.  In the long run, you’ll deliver higher quality content and save a lot of time.


#3.  Personalize Your Emails

Sometimes business owners new to email marketing think they need to send their email manually so they can give the communication a personalized, one-to-one tone.

Another big advantage to email automation software is that it will dynamically insert names and other personal information so your emails take on a personalized look without having to do it manually on each email.

Better yet, connect this to your CRM software where you can layer personal information and other customer details to send even more personalized content.


#4.  Design for Mobile

Today, the only fully effective email marketing is mobile friendly.

So many people check emails on mobile devices today that your content must load and display well on those devices.

A key tip:  make sure your main message appears above the fold on a mobile screen.  That’s a small space, so you need a concise, engaging opening to get people to scroll down.


#5.  Have a Catchy Subject Line

The subject line is one of the most important parts of your email content.  It’s all people see initially, so you have to draw them in.

Take care with subject lines.  You want something that catches attention and is essentially a teaser (a headline intended to get people to click through), but at the same time you must avoid coming across as spammy.

Avoid overly salesy language like “buy now” or “free” (these terms will land your email in junk folders).

Sierra Trading Post keeps it to the point:

email subject line simple


I can rarely resist Seth Godin’s blogs, which always peak my interest with a clever statement or question:

email subject line

Look through your own inbox for examples and test different types of subject lines.


#6.  Choose Days and Times That Get the Best Open Rates

If you can figure out when your audience list tends to open emails, you can schedule your blasts to go out at those times.

Studies show that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays around lunch are generally a good time to send new emails, but the times you choose will depend on your audience.  For busy CEOs, early Monday can be a good time.  For students, you may find evenings get better open rates.  For parents of infants, you might schedule for the middle of the night.

Test your send times and use the data to discover what does best.


#7.  Create an Unsubscribe Link

By regulation, your email must provide a business address and unsubscribe link:

email unsubscribe

Don’t neglect this.  You can get fined if you spam people and don’t provide an unsubscribe link.


#8.  Test Before You Send

Most of us know the sinking feeling when we realize we just sent an email with a dumb mistake or inappropriate content.  Once you hit send, it’s gone.

Don’t make this mistake with your email marketing.  Do a test send to yourself and a colleague to make sure you didn’t miss anything and that the email is rendering correctly on mobile.

It only takes a moment and might save you a heap of embarrassment.


#9.  Use Data to Do More of What Works

In the end, email is another digital marketing channel.  That means you can track your results and make modifications based on them.

Email marketing software will render these reports so you can test subject lines, times, images, content headlines, offers, and calls to action.

Email is really useful because of its immediacy.  After a blast, you can gather data – in just a matter of hours – on how engaging your content is.

As you learn more about what messaging, images, and offers work best in email, you can test that content in other areas of your marketing.  In terms of time, email is a micro marketing campaign.

Email is a stalwart of online marketing.  It’s a tried and true way to reach people, and today’s tools let you target very specific audiences.

Take advantage of this proven, effective marketing channel.

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