Yeelen Knegtering
Author: Yeelen Knegtering

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Email marketing remains one of the most effective tools to build your brand awareness. It’s the bread and butter of any serious marketing campaign. And yet, most business owners and marketing teams find it hard to keep up with the ever-changing email marketing landscape.

They struggle to get great conversions due to various mistakes in the whole approach. Creating an effective marketing campaign requires paying attention to small things. Given the maturity of email marketing today, we know which methods are good and which to avoid.

This article will cover email marketing do’s and don’ts that will help you improve growth and save time. Let’s delve into the do’s first and then jump to the crucial don’ts later.

Table of Contents

Do’s of email marketing

There is a wide range of healthy practices to follow in your email marketing strategy. Some will let you make better impressions, while others will help you boost productivity and introduce automation. Here’s what you should do in your email marketing strategy.

1. Everything starts with the subject line

The subject line is the first thing that will catch the eyes of your potential customers in a cluttered inbox. The first impression is the most important one and needs to be treated as such. 

More precisely, 64% of all email users will decide whether to open the email based on the subject line alone. It's a split-second decision. Catching people's short attention span is crucial at this stage.

Make your subject lines engaging. Promise your prospects something interesting, spark their interest. A great subject line communicates value and builds trust.

Implying that there is a short amount of time for the recipient to act creates a feeling of urgency. Use strong words to pull the reader's attention. But don't overdo it. Excessive usage may result in you ending in the spam box. 

2. Automation is your best friend

The needs of the customer mold the marketing trends. If anything had an impact on the marketing business as a whole, it’s automation.

Of course, to be able to make the most of it, you’ll first have to build your email list. Acquire emails with your website, social media, or other platforms, and make sure to encourage sign-ups each step of the way. Include gifts or free content in exchange to provide value in your exchange.

With automation software, you get to communicate with thousands of people simultaneously more easily. 

After segmenting your audience, you can send various emails to different groups in your email list. The best part is that you can create auto-responses and set up email sending schedules. That helps streamline many other marketing processes as your email is automated.

3. Send pure text emails

Email is considered a one-on-one conversation. Therefore, the plain text conveys a personal and natural touch. Sophisticated visual elements may look tempting but lack a particular natural approach.

Avoid structuring your email as one big commercial. None of your potential clients want a giant flashing billboard in their inbox.

There are many beautiful image-based templates for constructing your emails, but those are far outperformed by pure and straightforward text emails. A/B testing has shown that these types of emails have way higher click-through rates. 

There are some cases in which the use of imagery is unavoidable—for example, sending sensitive image content like passport documents, bank statements and invoices. Luckily with the advancements in OCR API technology, these tasks are safer and less time-consuming.

4. Optimize emails for mobile platforms

It's easy to forget that 60% of email communication is done via mobile phone in our day and age. That’s precisely why it’s one of the more critical email marketing do’s and don’ts you need to read through. 

Poorly optimized emails make users less likely to follow through. That's why a structured and strong mobile experience is essential. 

The use of single columns is better. It doesn't matter how much time you invested in creating two columns or how good they look; they will always be displayed as one on a small screen.

The same can be said when using a call to action. Always make sure that it's near the top of the text. Opt for an easily tappable button instead of a text link. That way, it's easy to see, and your recipient won’t misclick it by accident.

5. Keep your emails brief

Make everything exactly as long as it needs to be. People are continuously being spammed with long walls of text, and their full inboxes and limited reading time don’t help. 

Always be focused on your agenda and topic at hand. Don't crowd your emails with any unnecessary information that's all over the place. Edit your emails to be short while effectively placing content that matters.

If your emails are short and precise, they come off as small talk with a friend that you’ve known for a long time. This kind of attitude towards your possible customers will make them feel more relaxed and give you a bigger chance of forming a successful business relationship

6. Time your emails

You can't expect people to open your emails whenever you send them. Most of them have their daily routines and a schedule that they follow. On top of that, they simply get lazy. Everyone does. 

There is a big chance that they won't open your email if it's at the bottom of their inbox. Research has shown that 20% of emails sent are opened within one hour.

Mark the time at which your leads reply to you. That’s exactly the time you'll be wanting to send your email. Try sticking to that timeframe versus sending the emails at your convenience. Doing that will ensure your emails will be among the first ones seen by your recipient that day.

Also, we can see that the best days for sending emails are likely Tuesday and Wednesday.

7. Choose the best email sender name

Remember the subject line? The second thing your recipient will notice is the name associated with it. In some cases, it might even be the first thing they see. It plays a vital role in how your email is perceived in your recipient's mind. 

Receiving an email from a faceless brand will affect customers' judgment. You should always try to use your company name as the sender name, as it’s the most common practice. 

If your brand is still relatively unknown, but you as the company’s CEO are influential in other business spheres, use your name. 

Lastly, if you provide a specific service, your email should contain a hint about it, such as Wise invoice or City Bank billing.

8. Include statistics and numbers

An intriguing stat can catch your customer’s attention or incentivize them to click a specific link. 

Words can sometimes be vague and misleading. Numbers, on the other hand, are concrete. Including an interesting statistic or percentage is good practice. 

Some companies use inaccurate information, which might create a sense of confirmation in your customer, but at what cost? Yes, you will lead them to proceed and click your CTA, but if they research the information, you will lose all credibility.

Sometimes the numbers are only partial and don’t show the full picture, which could also be detrimental for your company. 


The bottom line is, use statistics and numbers, but only if they show the full picture.

9. Always keep track of your metrics

Make sure you can visualize your metrics. It's a top priority in choosing the right email marketing tool. 

That includes keeping track of:

  • Email open rates
  • New subscribers added to your emailing list
  • Their entry point
  • Click-through rates 
  • Unsubscription rate

With this insight, it's way easier to plan your ongoing and future marketing campaigns. Highlighting potential flaws and bottlenecks of your marketing operation becomes a breeze.

10. Do A/B tests

Split testing or A/B testing refers to the comparison in performance of two variables in your email. Businesses that integrate this method in their everyday practice yield a marketing return of 37% compared to companies that don't. 

In the context of email marketing, it can mean a lot of things but has a single purpose, finding out what works for you and your situation.

 straightforward example of this method is the subject line. By sending two different subject lines, you can gather data that can significantly help with your conversions. Test continuously and frequently to detect trends and develop strategies for future endeavors.

Other examples of A/B testing may include the preview text, sender name, length, imagery and other email elements. Test each of them to get to the most effective email template.

11. Utilize the preview text

Many copywriters dedicate a good chunk of their time to finely craft the preview text. It’s the second thing people notice after the subject line in most email clients.

See it as a space to add more context to your email and support the subject line. If your subject line has sparked some curiosity, the preview text should give out more specific information. 

If you aren’t sure what your email preview will look like, you should try using an email preview tool. Leaving it blank or showing some vague instructions is thinning down your chances of the email opening and reading. 

12. Avoid ending up in spam

Spam filters prevent suspicious and malware-infested emails from ending up in your customer’s inboxes. Having them around is a timesaver. Still, a lot of emails from marketeers with good intentions end up in the Spam folder. 

Always make sure you point out to your subscribers to add you to their whitelist. Here, buying ready-made lists can become a problem since you don't have anyone's permission to send them any messages. 

Avoid using caps and subject lines that sound like spam. Also, add an easily spottable unsubscription button in your emails. Customers hate being a part of an email list they don't want to be.

Don’ts of Email Marketing

Following the tips mentioned above will keep you on track towards making an effective email marketing strategy. However, there are plenty of pitfalls to be aware of as well. 

Preventing mistakes is equally empowering as following the best practices, as a single mistake can take you back several steps. Here’s what you should avoid doing in your email marketing efforts:

1. Buy or sell an email list

Buying an email list might sound like a good idea, but it’s just spammy and, in some countries, even illegal. If someone didn’t provide you with an email address willingly, your emails shouldn’t end up in their inboxes. 

It’s an unethical way of advertising to an audience uninterested in your product or services.

Furthermore, it’s the quickest way to end up in the spam folder, and you don’t want that for your brand. Once your emails start appearing in users’ spam folders, your reputation will start going downhill.

On the other hand, if you decide to sell your email list, you’re selling the trust people have put in your brand. That’s another way to ruin your brand’s reputation, as some people will be able to tell that your organization sold their email to a third party.

2. Forget to segment your audience

Sending one-size-fits-all emails will not lead to good email marketing results. On the contrary, you need to send personalized emails to your subscribers to spark interest. Getting the most optimal results will require you to segment your email list. 

That will ensure that you’re sending relevant emails to your audience. 

You can segment it into different categories with a sizable email pool—everything from their age and demographic to specific interests. That, in return, helps you set up your software to personalize the content they receive. 

There are endless possibilities and ways to segment your email list. Some of the examples include,

  • Demographics
  • Website activity
  • Engagement rate
  • Budget size
  • Their status in your funnel

Taking that approach will help you write more effective emails that appeal to the customer with the right message at the right time.

3. Send emails to everyone at once

Your subscribers likely live in various locations around the world. That’s another reason why segmentation is essential.  With the help of automation, you can reach out to different groups of subscribers at other times.

Avoid sending emails at once because it’ll negatively impact the conversion rates. While the time for one receiver will be 1 PM, another receiver might be getting their email at 3 AM.

The result for the latter case would be as good as if you hadn't sent an email in the first place.

That’s why following your analytics is a great way to learn more about your subscribers. It provides you with a detailed insight allowing you to send emails that someone will open and read.

4. Write too long emails

Keep your message to the point. Seeing a wall of text is not something people hope to see when they open up an email. Use short paragraphs broken up by images to keep the reader interested in your message. It’ll increase the chance of them reading the whole email and engaging.

For example, if you’re promoting your product, start by introducing its name and stating its purpose. Then, include an image with a link towards a landing page. Those who are eager to learn more about the product can do so on the landing page. 

There’s no need to overwhelm the user with unnecessary details. It would only make the email longer and reduce the chance of the user clicking on the image.

5. Add too many links

Every email should contain a couple of clear calls to action. However, adding too many links looks spammy. Also, it can confuse the reader, causing them to close the email and go on with their day. 

Prevent this from happening by writing a short message with a clear call to action on what the reader should do.

Make sure that the link is visible for both desktop and mobile users. Use different colors to attract attention. There are a couple of crucial things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the link is leading to the right place — If your links lead to a different location, your emails will quickly end up in the spam folder. It's deceitful behavior that’ll negatively impact your brand.
  • It’s a clear call to action such as: “Click Here” — Stating a clear message will tell the user what they need to do next.
  • Font, size and color — Make everything about the link easy to notice, click and tap. The user should immediately tell where the links are in your layout from the moment they look at it. Create a pattern that you’ll use for all your emails. As users get used to your links over time, they’ll quickly identify them in all your newsletters and other promotional materials.

6. Forget to add contact information

Add your PO box information to reveal how people can reach out to you. Forgetting to do this will lower the trust that your reader has for your brand. With an address and contact information added, they’ll know you’re a legitimate business.

Therefore, include a professional signature that has all the contact details. Aside from making a better first impression, some people prefer other contact methods and might decide to reach out to you via phone or social media.

7. Hide the unsubscribe button

One of the quickest ways to end up in the spam folder is to leave out the unsubscribe button. It’s an unethical practice to remove the unsubscribe button from your readers. All your subscribers have the right to remove themselves from your email list.

Add the unsubscribe button in your every email and make it easy to notice. A good idea is to include it in your standard email layout, so it’s always there whenever you send an email.

Many businesses overlook these don’ts, and they wonder why their email marketing strategy is not effective as they would like it to be. Check whether you’re avoiding all the don’ts of email marketing to create an excellent foundation for your email marketing efforts.

Conclusion

There are many smart email marketing do’s and don’ts that a business should follow. However, you’ll learn the most significant lessons from running an email marketing campaign. Follow the tips to create an effective marketing strategy from the start.

But don’t forget to follow analytics and learn from your audience’s behavior. You’ll quickly discover more do’s and don'ts of email marketing that’s specific to your industry only. Over time, you can rest assured that the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns will improve.