5 email marketing best practices

5 email marketing best practices

Never see the inside of a spam folder again.

Still shaking off sleep, you sit down with your morning coffee and have a scroll through your inbox. Just as any other day, you watch dozens of new messages roll in. You prepare for the deleting spree:

‘Sign Up for Your Exclusive Free Trial!!!!’
‘LAST CHANCE: Special Offer Just for You’

Bad marketing emails are a nuisance. They clutter your inbox and assault your eyes with horrible subject lines. They pester you to act immediately or forever lose your chance. With over 400 billion emails sent per day—86% of which qualifies as junk mail—we’ve all learned to delete unopened messages on autopilot. This means that now, more than ever, your company has to rely on an email marketing strategy that will set you apart. These five tips will help you improve your marketing emails and keep you out of the trash folder for good.

First thing’s first: let’s talk about that subject line.

Subject Lines

Your subject line is the hook that draws your clients into the email. It’s critical to make it engaging and upbeat. That being said, an overly-eager subject line will only drive customers away. Avoid excessive use of capital letters and exclamation points, as well as words and phrases like “urgent”, “breakthrough”, “open me”, “one-time offer”, as they make your company look desperate and unprofessional. Keep the tone relaxed, witty and concise—tell the customer what you want to say in 30-50 characters, including spaces. Subject lines like, “Your free audiobook awaits!” or “10 Ways to Remix Your Drink Order” are good because they spark curiosity and speak to the customers’ interests without being pushy.


Alright, so you’ve gotten the user to open your email. Congratulations! Now you’ve got to keep them looking at it. Aesthetics are key for keeping users engaged. Make your emails as beautiful as that stunning website of yours. Be consistent with your colour palette, fonts and photos so that your emails reinforce your brand image. Put your logo in the upper left-hand corner to remind users who you are. Keep the critical points of the message, along with the call to action, above the fold. Images in the body of the email are a great tool for increasing engagement, but be sure to use them to support, not make, your point. SendGrid recommends a text to image ratio of between 60/40 and 70/30.

Call to Action

If you want the user to do something, make it obvious. Use buttons to make your call to action spring forward. Choose a standout colour from your palette for the background and a light colour for the text to make the icon physically pop. The text on the button should be no more than five words, and should be clear about what action the button represents. The best text begins with verbs and describes a simple action: “Let me in!” “View my options” “Upgrade me”. Ensure your text is legible and the button is easily clickable on mobile devices by making the button at least 75×75 pixels. As stated before, the call to action button should be above the fold, but can be repeated later in the email.


Straightforward incentives are a great way to increase open and clickthrough rates. If your subject line offers something free, keep your word, no caveats. Send users discounts when they sign up, and give referral incentives to encourage your customers to spread the word. Offer your customers something of value before asking anything of them—want your clients to follow you on LinkedIn? Send them a 20% discount code first. Want them to tweet some feedback your way? Send them a fun free download.


We all know the importance of addressing clients by name, but big consumer data now allows for personalisation on another level. Products like MailChimp and Emma not only help make your emails beautiful, but also provide user data complete with geographic locations, open and click rates, mobile or computer preference, etc.. They can also help keep track of customer patterns in order to send behaviour-triggered emails such as welcome emails, re-engagement emails and cross-selling emails.

In addition to personalising content based on the client, it’s also constructive to show your personal side – Hubspot found that open and clickthrough rates jumped when members of the Hubspot team sent emails directly, rather than from a general corporate account. These personal emails can even include some unique thoughts or commentary by the team member in order to open dialogue. In short, personalisation is all about building a connection between your clients and your team members, as people.

In this day and age, email is an essential marketing tool you just can’t afford not to put to use. These simple guidelines can help you develop a knockout strategy that will keep your customers clicking.

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