5 Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing



For maximum effectiveness, marketers will need their emails to stand out amongst the billions of messages sent per day. This article was originally published on


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While email marketing remains a simple method for reaching potential clients, it has become increasingly saturated over the past few years. Whether it’s promotional discounts or dinner receipts (it still bewilders me that some shops and restaurants give you the option to receive an electronic receipt!), inboxes are currently being flooded with tons of emails.

Although I personally believe the number to be incalculable, a recent study conducted by a California technology market research firm found that the total number of emails sent and received per day in 2015 surpassed 200 billion.

But don’t let these big numbers scare you – email can still be leveraged as a powerful marketing tool. It’s just that, for maximum effectiveness, marketers will need their outreaches to stand out amongst the billions of emails sent per day. To help, here are some tips for marketers to consider when sending out email campaigns.

1. Do Write an Enticing Subject Line

One of the most important aspects of an email marketing campaign is constructing an enticing subject line. Seriously, if you consider the amount of emails sent and received per day, people probably check and delete their messages quickly. (I know I’m certainly guilty of this.) But an interesting subject line has the potential to snap people out of this check-and-delete automation. Marketers know that even a few seconds of interest can make a lasting impression, so make sure you take subject lines as serious – if not more so – as your copy.

Remember, a subject line is often the first – and sometimes only – point of reference for recipients. So try to construct a pitch that is enticing and gets readers wanting to explore further. Here are some examples:

  • “You’re Missing Out On (x)”
  • “8 Essentials Tips for Simplifying Your Life”
  • “How (x) Can Save Your (y)”

2. Do Provide Immediate Value

Now that you have an enticing subject line, you will need to make sure that your outreach copy provides immediate value to the reader. If we again consider the billions of emails sent per day, it’s fairly obvious that successful outreaches are the ones that provide the recipient with value immediately after opening. Think of your own experience with emails, is there anything more confusing than receiving an email without an extremely obvious purpose?

Of course, you don’t have to provide potential consumers with a huge discount. In fact, it doesn’t have to concern money at all. It could be as simple as an idea of how your product could improve their life.

Keep in mind that your provided value should be something that you know your audience would want. Some messaging tips to consider:

  • Does your wording make your content or service sound appealing and useful?
  • Does your content or product come across as unique?
  • Does your content provide the recipient with a sense of urgency to take action?

3. Don’t Send Generic Emails

If it isn’t immediately obvious, then an easy way to highlight you or your product’s value is by personally explaining the benefits. Many marketers roll their eyes when it comes to personalized emails, claiming that they don’t have enough time. Trust me, I definitely understand. Personalized emails do require more time and research, but in the end the hard work pays off with higher click-through rates and more conversions (i.e. more people performing an action, such as buying a product of yours).

For example, an Online Personal Experience study found that almost three-fourths of consumers (74%) become annoyed with generic, impersonalized content. One of these bad experiences can be bad news, particularly for small businesses that don’t have the brand awareness of massive corporations. To keep your emails from causing any foul distaste, make your emails as personal as possible by incorporating some of these tips:

  • Always address them by their first name
  • Briefly mention why you think they might be interested
  • Compliment them on a recent article, post, award, etc.
  • Explain how your product or service can directly improve their live

4. Don’t Assume Open Rate is a Sign of Success

Naturally, marketers will want to know how successful their outreaches were. But many get in trouble assuming that open rates are a sole source of success. Yes, high open rates can be a positive sign, but don’t forget to track and analyze other metrics like click-throughs, bounces, conversions, and unsubscribed.

Combining all of these metrics will not only provide you will a more thorough and accurate assessment of your efforts, but it may also provide inspiration for future outreaches. For example, if you segment your audience by opens, click-throughs, conversions and bounces, you will have a much better idea of where your different audiences are at in the funnel and can market to them accordingly.

5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Last but not least: don’t forget to follow up. Whether on vacation or mere forgetfulness, there are a ton of reasons why potentially interested consumers might have failed to take the next step in the sales funnel. By following up, you are not only reminding them of your outreach, but you are also presenting yourself as a well organized marketer. There are countless occasions of recipients responding to follow-ups with, “Thank you for staying on top of this, I completely forgot.”

Keep in mind, it’s typically best practice to follow-up 4-7 days after an initial outreach. Also, make sure to keep your follow-up brief and to the point, saying something along the lines of: “Hi (name), I just wanted to follow up quick and see if you were interested in [fill in the blank]. Thanks so much. Have a great rest of the day.”

By incorporating these tips into your outreaches, you can be certain to improve your email marketing strategy. Remember, email marketing is largely a game of hit-or-miss, so don’t give up if you are struggling. Persevere through the doubt and use the struggles as a lesson to improve your future outreaches.

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