50 Quick Tips for Creating Better Email Marketing Campaigns

In spite of ever-more-crowded inboxes and the prevalence of spam, phishing, and amazing offers from deposed Nigerian princes, email marketing remains one of the cheapest, easiest, and most effective forms of digital marketing. As a permission-based strategy, it starts with a major advantage over traditional advertising techniques that just play the numbers in the hopes of being seen by interested parties. It’s also a great way to reach mobile users, which is increasingly where marketing magic happens. 

Email marketing campaigns are simple to manage, execute, and track with programs like MailChimp and Constant Contact. Here are 50 tips for getting the most out of your efforts: 

  1. First, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act so you don’t end up in trouble and on the hook for some hefty fines.
  2. Do your target market and buyer persona homework before launching any email marketing campaign so you know who you’re talking to and what they want.
  3. Build a relevant subscriber list by prominently asking site visitors to supply you with their email addresses.
  4. Further build your list by asking your site’s targeted traffic for their email address in exchange for some valuable information.
  5. Put up posts and/or run promoted ads on social media sites leading people to a landing page with a call to action (CTA) to give you their email address and opt in to communications.
  6. Always make it clear that people are signing up to receive periodic emails from you.
  7. Let people opt in; don’t hope they won’t notice that they have to opt out.
  8. Ask people to select particular interests relevant to your brand when signing up.
  9. Create segmented lists and tailored emails based on these interests.
  10. Advertise that subscribers gain access to special offers that others don’t get.
  11. Deliver special offers that make it obvious to subscribers that they’re your VIPs.
  12. Respect people’s time; generally, it’s inadvisable to send more than one mass email per week.
  13. Send an email at least monthly though to stay in people’s minds.
  14. Don’t abuse people’s attention; only send emails with content of value to them.
  15. Create strong parallelism between the look, feel, and content of your emails and the landing pages they take recipients to.
  16. Write your emails consistent with your brand voice and brand personality.
  17. Keep subject lines to 50 characters or less.
  18. Subject lines should create a sense of urgency or intrigue.
  19. Offer an incentive for savings in some subject lines; according to HubSpot, this increases the open rate by as much as 50%.
  20. Live up to any and all promises made or expectations created in your subject lines.
  21. Never write subject lines or email bodies in all caps; it’s off-putting and a trigger for spam filters.
  22. Keep emails short.
  23. Don’t write boring emails.
  24. Use the opportunity to get personal and humanize your brand.
  25. Speak directly to your readers.
  26. Write like a person, not like a carefully crafted corporate statement.
  27. Stick your logo in the upper left corner (where people are used to seeing it) to add credibility and reinforce brand awareness.
  28. Use images to add visual interest.
  29. But don’t use more than two or three fonts and typefaces, as this is obnoxious and undermines credibility.
  30. Aim for emails that are around 500 pixels wide, but never go over 650; if you do, recipients will have to scroll horizontally, and everyone hates that.
  31. Share upcoming events and news about yourself and your industry that affect your customers or clients; a Nielsen study found 28% of web shoppers subscribe to newsletters to keep up with the brands they like.
  32. Include coupons, discounts, and other money-saving special offers frequently; the same Nielsen study found 27% of online shoppers sign up to save money.
  33. Incorporate video into some emails; a recent Relevancy Group study found this raises resulting revenue by 40% on average.
  34. Take advantage of the real-time marketing capabilities and potential of email.
  35. Whatever you do, make recipients happy they opened your message.
  36. Use highly visible, clear CTAs that make it obvious what you want the recipient to do next.
  37. The primary CTA should appear “above the fold;” CTAs lower down won’t be seen by as many as 70% of your recipients.
  38. Thank your readers for their time and attention.
  39. Proofread and proofread again; if writing or editing isn’t your forte, let someone more qualified write your emails.
  40. It wouldn’t hurt to brush up on some tips for strong business writing.
  41. Ask recipients unobtrusively for feedback, explaining that you want to keep improving their user experience.
  42. Before you send a message, ask yourself how you would feel about receiving it.
  43. Request that people who unsubscribe let you know why they’re doing so; watch for trends.
  44. Always include a link in every mass email for recipients to easily unsubscribe from your mailing list; it’s not just courteous, it’s the law.
  45. Track results for each campaign, including open rates, inbound traffic rates, and unsubscribe rates.
  46. Keep tweaking your efforts based on what’s working and what’s not.
  47. Check your bounce rates after each mailing so you can catch email address typos, deactivated accounts, and other undeliverable mail.
  48. Monitor for spikes in subscribers after mailings; these often mean recipients forwarded your message, so it obviously got something right.
  49. Watch for no growth in your subscriber list, too; this often means recipients are not finding anything of value in your messages.
  50. And just once more because it’s the most important part: deliver something of genuine value to your recipients in every single mass email you send out.

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