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High Performing Email Marketing Best Practices

These High performing email marketing best practices will help you take any email marketing campaign to the next level, improving not only open-rates but other important metrics and conversion rates. Now that you’ve worked on your database, and created and segmented your lists, you’ll need to make sure your emails are worth reading. It’s more than just finding your target audience. Give them a reason to open and read your well-crafted email that’s offering them something they will find valuable.

Whether it’s a free white paper or e-book, a webinar that helps them, or a special deal, make it worth their time to read what you have to say.

Don’t Just Send Anything

It’s not enough to send out a random email, and rely on opens and clicks. Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%! But there is work involved to get to that return. It’s not about just sending out emails. More than clicks and opens, it’s about growth. There are no returns without work.

Your email must be not only valuable to the company, but valuable to your reader. Just because your company “normally sends out email every month” doesn’t mean you should just send anything. Without value, your emails will not be read, will probably be deleted, and eventually, unsubscribed.

Email Marketing Best Practices

These three email marketing best practices will help you create your best email and get more conversions.

  1. Determine a primary goal for your email.
  2. Optimize your email for opens.
  3. Compel your reader to take action.

The Primary Goal

Start by determining a good primary goal for your email, and optimize it for opens. You want to compel your reader to take an action once they do open it.

But you can’t write a good email if you don’t know why you are sending it to them. Again, don’t send an email just because you can. Answering each of these questions will help you create a high-performing email. It won’t take long, and the answers will give you a clear path to start writing.

Start by figuring out the answers to:

  • Who—is your audience? Make sure what you have to offer is relevant to the individuals receiving your email, or your email will be ignored.
  • What—do you want them to do? Clicks and opens are metrics, not your primary goals. They aren’t the reason you send them, so make sure you have a clear, quantifiable goal, such as subscribing to your blog, downloading content (free report, white paper), registering for a webinar, etc.
  • When—is the appropriate time to send an email? There isn’t a specific, one-size-fits-all formula, but testing can help you figure out what works for your company. Make sure there is a clear purpose for sending the email before you do.
  • Where—is your audience going to read it? Will they be using their PC, a tablet, or the most common method, their smartphone? Chose a template that’s responsive with a big font that’s easy to read on each device. Include a big button for the CTA (minimum 44 px square, no smaller) that’s easy to tap on each one.
  • Why—is your company sending this message? Does the reader benefit, or is it strictly a promotion, just for the company’s benefit? If so, then the email should be given a little more thought before sending it.
  • How—will you know if you’ve met your goals? Open/clicks don’t tell the whole story. What about Facebook likes, mentions on Twitter, customer service contacts, web traffic and other related channels? These can give you more insight into how your email affected your customer behaviors.

Optimize Your Email For Opens

Think about it—most people read their email on a smartphone. They’re not interested in reading anything that’s vague, complicated or in-depth. So you’ll need to catch and keep their attention quickly before they pass it up.

When your email arrives in an inbox, these are the first things your reader will see, particularly on a mobile device:

  • Subject line
  • Email address
  • Preview text

Let’s take a closer look at each of these components.

Subject Line

  • Shorter is better. Your subject line should be no more than six to ten words. Open rates go down with subject lines over 60 characters.
  • Avoid “salesy” language. Spam filters will block most messages with words like “free,” “bonus” and other trigger words and move them out of an inbox. But many readers don’t pay attention to them either, so they can still end up in the trash folder.
  • Keep your copy simple. A subject line with simple copy should be a relevant statement or a question that piques the reader’s attention.
  • Appropriate personalization. Email marketing, particularly inbound, is about starting a conversation. Including the reader’s name, location, or other segmented data makes the email sound more like a conversation than a sales pitch.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix things up and try something new. Consistently using the same thing over and over will become boring, and your open rate may decline. Test out new styles and types of appropriate subject lines to keep it interesting and prevent that decline.

Email address

What email address will the recipient see when they first look at your email? It may seem unimportant, but it isn’t.

  • Don’t use a free web mail account—use a company email.
  • Use an email that shows the purpose of the send, such as billing@, support@, newsletter@, customerservice@, etc.
  • The customer’s lifecycle should designate who the email will be sent by. New leads should receive emails from the company itself, because they won’t likely know anyone yet. But if you’re sending something to established customers, it should be from an account manager or something similar.
  • Don’t use a “no-reply” email address to send your emails. You’ll make it harder for the reader to respond.

Preview Text

This is a bit of copy pulled out of the entire email. The preview text gives the reader a sampling of what’s in the email. It’s displayed under the email address and subject line, and is especially important for people reading on mobile.

You can use the preview text to offer more from the subject line, provide the CTA, personalize a message, or show the value of the text and offer inside the email. Whatever you use, it should always give them a reason to open the email and read it.

Compel The Reader To Take Action

Your call to action (CTA) tells them what to do. Make it clear what they need to do, and what will happen (click on the link, button, etc.) Emphasize what will happen when they do.

An important email marketing best practices tip recommends having only one CTA, and the language should be clear. Instead of saying, “click here,” try something like “improve your B2B sales starting here.” You can add your link into a number of places in the email (images, hypertext), but it should be only one action, and one link for the CTA, and take the reader to your landing page or other out-of-inbox place.

Since many of your readers are on mobile, make sure your CTA click box is no smaller than 44 px square. Any smaller, and they might not be able to click.

They’ve Opened It—Now What?

Just getting someone to open your email isn’t the goal. You want them to read it and know immediately why they received it. This isn’t the time for long-form copy—your email needs to be written for quick and easy reading.

Don’t forget these important email marketing best practices:

  • Scannability—write your copy so that the reader can make one pass and understand what it’s about nearly instantly. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, headlines and bolding to format your copy so that it’s easy to get the point and see the value before they move on.
  • Use the correct tone—make sure that this will resonate with your buyer persona, and every word is relevant.
  • Personalize—this is where your segmenting can really come in handy. Using a recipient’s name, location, behaviors the user took, interest, any content the user has downloaded, or anything else relevant makes your email more like a conversation.
  • Proofread, and proofread again—if you’ve ever sent out an email with something like an embarrassing typo, you already know. Send yourself a test message, and read it out loud before you send it for real.

Test again

Beyond proofreading, you’ll want to make sure this email looks the way you want it to.

  • Test Message—send a test message to yourself and check it both on your phone and on your PC to make sure it looks good, you can read it, and it says exactly what you want it to.
    • Check the images—will your email look good without the images? Is the message understandable without them? Does the CTA work? You can proofread your ALT text here, too.
    • Is there a plain text version?—some spam filters will block your email if you don’t. This will also help mobile readers read your email better.
    • Check the links—make sure they all work, and that they take the reader to the correct landing page (or whatever page you want them to see.) Remember to check your tracking codes for any web analytics tools you’re using, too.
    • Check your unsubscribe link—ensure that it works and that your email is CAN-SPAM compliant.
    • Use different apps to check readability—use programs like Gmail, Outlook, iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android mail tools to see how they appear in each of them. Emails look different in each application, and some may be unreadable.

You can do this testing in your browser, but there are separate tools available that can test for you as well. Whichever you use, just make sure you test before you send it.

What Your Email Looks Like

You’ll get a pretty good idea of what your users will see when they get your email from your testing phase. Your email, your curiosity-inspiring subject line and a text preview will be visible, depending on how they open it, and with which program.

Your subject line should be simple but attractive. The best are either a simple statement related to the relevant information inside, or ask a relevant question alluding to the answer inside.

Once opened, the user sees everything they need to know quickly, and knows what to do next.


This is a subject of much debate among marketers—should you or shouldn’t you? It depends.

  • In the B2C market, pictures show the product or service. This market wants to see everything about the product or service, the benefits, and what it has to offer. But click-through rates tend to drop as the number of images increases.
  • In the B2B market, one picture, or none, is usually enough to give the reader information along with the copy. Any more than that is distracting.


Inbound email marketing can offer some of the best ROI, or it can fall flat. Careful attention to both the copy and formatting can make sure your email is delivered to the recipient. Segmentation helps you get the right message to the right person, and avoid spamming anyone.

Need help executing our email marketing best practices for your business? Just give us a call at 5402595001 for a free consultation. Contact us today and to improve your companies email marketing best practices, and help you get more customers. You can also message us on Facebook.

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