Email Marketing Best Practices: Do's and Don'ts

No doubt, you’re aware of the fact that email marketing is a powerful means to drive your business forward and help you gain new customers. But you’re not the only one who knows this and uses emails extensively. Your inbox is literally flooded with sales emails every day, but how many do you open and actually read?

So, it turns out, using the refined email marketing software (check out our post on choosing it here) and writing the most creative copy isn’t enough to ensure success for your email marketing efforts. What matters, then? Read on for our easy-to-follow list of email marketing do’s and don’ts for your successful email campaigns to top the list of read and expected, and turn your subscribers into loyal customers.

Email Copy

email marketing mountain

DO Focus on a single topic

It is confusing for your readers if you try to pay attention to multiple points within one email. They may end up clicking one of the links or switching to another message in the inbox.

DO Make it personal

You’ve definitely heard it hundreds of times that including a person’s name in the email works to your benefit, and you even may try to put it in the email subject line. However, this is not the only means of personalizing your email. Thanks to user segmentation capabilities, you can create a few messages to target certain groups of your subscribers with maximally personalized offers for a better conversion rate.

DO Provide useful info

Do you want people to open your emails? Give them the reason to! Instead of sending another message shouting “I am here to sell you something”, include the information that is worth reading. It can be news, a tip, a funny/educating/review video, etc. - and then you can paste your sales pitch. Experiment with the types of content your users would most willingly respond to, and you’ll finally manage to stand out from the crowd.

DO Make your subject line super catchy

The subject line is what decides the fate of your email marketing campaign, so failing to come up with a fabulous one may leave your message unnoticed or worse - drive it directly into the spam folder. There’s no recipe or secret, so turn your creativity lever to the max and go ahead!

DO Keep it short

Without a doubt, you aren’t ready to spend half of your day reading lengthy newsletters, and neither are your subscribers. Therefore, be so good as to value their time and stick to the list in your email messages. They’ll appreciate it, for sure.

DO Make it easy to look through

It’s important not only what you write, but also how you write or rather organize the content. Keep in mind that people are short of time, so make sure they’ll grasp the main idea just by looking at your email. Use short paragraphs and bullets for clear structure and bold/italics to highlight the key points.

Email Design

email marketing book

DO Create a distinctive design

It’s not just about making your email look beautiful and picking trendy email templates. Subscribers should be able to recognize the sender without even looking at the signature, so include your logo, brand name, and motto (if applicable) in the message header, and make a smaller footer with these elements. It would be a good idea to make them clickable as users would expect it (leading to your homepage, for example).

DO Ensure your design is mobile friendly

A big part of your audience will view your email on their tablets or smartphones, so it is important that the message gets through in a form not distorted by the differences in dimensions.

DON’T Make email and landing page designs different

If the purpose of your message is to drive customers to a specifically created landing page, make sure their designs are corresponding to each other, if not similar. This helps avoid the confusion a user may feel when going to the page that looks totally different from the email promoting it.

DON’T Forget to add text descriptions for graphics/images

Some browsers may display your message incorrectly, or a user may choose not to view the pictures. Therefore, your message should be understandable even without images, and each of them should have a corresponding description which will be displayed in its place when needed. We think it is one of the most useful email marketing best practices.

DON’T use Stock photos

Stock photos are so yesterday, especially if they look like they were downloaded from the image storage. Take photos with your smartphone or ask someone to borrow some for a great purpose. They are lively and cost nothing. Besides, you can snap your logo on someone’s t-shirt, corporate cup, pen, notebook, or uniform, or even take a picture of your Instagram feed.

Technical Stuff of Email Marketing

email marketing man

DO Let them opt-out

Your email absolutely should include the unsubscription form. However, instead of leaving you altogether, offer the subscribers to point out the types of emails they don’t want to receive. This may save your list from shortening. Moreover, be creative with the unsubscription phrase as the typical ones may trigger spam filters.

DO Use a spam checker

To ensure maximum deliverability, run your message through a spam checker (they are frequently included in the email marketing software) to see how well it can pass through the spam filters of email service providers. If any problems are detected, you’d better fix them even if they seem trifle - why take chances?

DON’T Send your email without the previous testing

Once your message is good to go, don’t hurry to send it to everyone on your email lists. First of all, send a test copy to yourself. Open it in different browsers and devices, check for broken links, and see that all content is displayed correctly. Only if everything is as it should be, can you proceed with sending your newsletter or promotional emails to your subscribers.

No Need to Remind, but Still...

funny man

DON’T Send emails too often

Spamming your subscribers with an endless list of messages “to remind about your business” in all probability will lead to the opposite results. So, don’t send an email unless you really have something to say or offer. Email frequency is a key to being useful, not annoying.

DON’T Sell your contact list. Ever

This one doesn’t need an explanation - if you care for the privacy of your subscribers and respect their confidentiality, you don’t need this reminder, but if you don’t - it can hardly stop you. Nowadays, there are many email marketing tools to find email addresses without buying or selling, so we suggest not stooping to such a level.

Effective email marketing examples

When plenty of email marketing tips are combined together we receive awesome results. Your letters are short, targeted, appealing, and with a high open rate. Here is one of the best practices of email marketing shown by the “Task rabbit” - a company that offers support for everyday situations (repairing, cleaning, delivery).

Email Marketing Task Rabbit
Task Rabbit email

This is a demonstration of a splendid job performed by email marketers. Note that the company offers help, not a service. Also, they use corporate images instead of stock photos. The letter is clear and short and contains the receiver's name.

Email marketing strategy and campaigns

Lots of marketers think that email marketing is dead. However, according to Statista research, there are 4 billion daily email users and this is expected to increase to 4.6 billion by 2025. Also, many companies use this marketing channel to reach the target audience. Here are the best tips on how to do email marketing and increase your email open rate.


Divide your customers into groups and avoid annoying them with messy email flow. Probably, your news or updates are not interesting to every customer or potential client, so segment them by different indicators such as age, product or service usage, location, language, etc.

Delivery time

Take into account the time when you launch the campaign, as timing is everything and it varies depending on the industry and the part of the day when your audience is the most active. How to learn it? You may collect this information from general statistics or from email tracking tools. For instance, Growthdot prepared a solution for Zendesk users. Our Email Tracking app tracks email opens and displays the best time for sending a reply to every customer based on their activity.

Email Marketing Email Tracking

Email Tracking for Zendesk

Choose the best email marketing tools

Effective email marketing campaigns also mean reducing the time and costs for marketers to launch the campaigns. A reliable tool is a must for it! Mass email software is a time saver since it helps to build email communication with hundreds of customers using triggers, shortcodes, macros, automations, etc. Moreover, combining trackers and mass email senders can help you to measure and plan your email campaign.

We know about that, so our team also created Proactive Campaigns for Zendesk - a tool for email campaign creation and sending without leaving Zendesk. Proactive campaigns works together with Email Tracking to perform and measure your campaign’s results.

Proactive Campaigns

Proactive Campaigns for Zendesk

Wrapping up

Before you are totally immersed in creating your awesome email, we’d be happy to hear your opinion on the points above. Nobody’s perfect, so we might have missed something important - you’re more than welcome to share your recipe of a successful marketing email in the comments section below.

You can also download and use the infographic with all these rules.

Infographic Growthdot

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