Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts


Email Marketing Best Practices

Get better open rates on your email marketing

Are you finding that people aren’t opening your emails or worse, marking them as spam? Studies performed by reputable marketers from Vertical Response, Wordstream, Moz and Kissmetrics show that email marketing is the cheapest and one of the most effective forms of marketing used in 2016. Nevertheless, despite its popularity, email marketing is one of the least understood marketing techniques. Follow the tips and steps listed below to ensure your email copy has the maximum impact on your subscribers.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Design is key: a basic rule of email marketing is ensuring you have a pleasing  email design, one that doesn’t look like spam or created by your 12yr old nephew. You can create this effect by adding images that are compelling and can spike interest and if you have the capability, use CSS styling to enhance the look and feel. Images must also abide to the 600-pixels wide rule in order to be optimized for mobile devices. You can also use pre-made templates if you have less experience with HTML/CSS coding, check out some of our favorite free downloadable email templates here. Also, keep in mind most email clients block images at first, so don’t rely on images to make or break your email design. Use them as pleasant accents only. Here are some excellent tips on how to design your email for mobile devices: Creating emails for mobile.


Template vs personally-written: With our clients, we find that heavily designed emails work best for things like Newsletters and some promotions where the product is a physical one and needs to be show cased. However, results tend to be dramatically better in terms of response and call to action clicks when emails appear to be personally written, in other words, no fancy headlines, logos, or graphics – but an email that appears to be personally typed out to the recipient.


Use the right subject line: the most important part of your content is actually not part of your content. If the subject line does not spike your subscribers’ interest, you will get a very low open rate (of below 20%) and consequently low conversions (if any). According to the marketers from Wordstream, the best subject lines are simple, funny, controversial or even a single world.

Here are some examples:

  • “Is it time to panic about your lack of sales?”
  • “Your Marketing Sucks: Top Reasons to Think Local”
  • “Do marketers dream of HTML5?”
  • “Trust me! Enterprises love fresh content”
  • “Don’t miss out our limited offer”.

Additional Email Marketing Best Practices

  • Do a lot of A/B testing (Send out the same message with different subject lines and see which one has better open rates) with subject lines until you find the winning formula. Then go to the next two components.
  • Precise title and content: the title and the content in your email should be concise and precise. Make them straight to the point and do not offer too much information, unless you are sending an informational email. You could include promotions and special deals for a bigger impact and a higher clickthrough rate.
  • Position the call to action (CTAs) perfectly: most marketers agree that an email should have no more than 3 CTAs. Place at least one above the fold and one at the end. If you choose to go with 3, you can add another call to action in an image and place it on the right side.
  • Don’t forget to add the privacy policy, unsubscribe button, and your business information (ie. Company Name, Address, Phone, etc). This is the equivalent of a guarantee and usually increases clickthrough rate.

Email Practices to Avoid

Here are some practices to avoid if you want your emails to reach their destination without being marked as spam:

  • Do not buy email lists, use lead generating funnels in addition to existing customers as your list
  • Do not take email addresses from “free” online databases
  • Avoid using all CAPS in your email subject line or content
  • Stay away from using too many exclamation points
  • Try not to use JavaScript, Flash or Video Content in your emails
  • Do not include attachments
  • Avoid spam trigger words: here is a complete list: Spam Trigger Words

In Summary

Be creative, do a lot of A/B testing with each component of your email, including images and templates, and stay away from the practices you have to avoid. Use the email marketing best practices listed above and you will get on the right track to success.


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