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The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing

30May, 2014
The Do's and Don'ts of Email Marketing

In a world dominate by social media and Mobile Apps, it’s easy to think that email is becoming obsolete. After all, between text messaging, tweeting, and instant messaging, who has the time to send emails anymore? Well, the answer may surprise you…

Data obtained by the marketing agency Merkle shows that 74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email. Meanwhile Litmus, another research group, recently found that 82% of consumers open emails that are sent from companies. And according to Direct Marketing Association, 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message. These numbers indicate that promotional emails remain an effective marketing tool that you should be taking advantage of.

So with this in mind, what are some “do’s” and “don’ts” of an effective email marketing campaign? I’ve compiled some of the most important ones here in this article, and they are listed out below:


Offer coupons and discounts. According to a 2012 Blue Kangaroo study, 7 in 10 people reported that they had used a coupon or discount offer from a marketing email in the prior week. After all, who doesn’t love a good discount? Coupons are a great way to create interest in your company, attract customers, and encourage consumers to opt-in for your promotional emails.

Use a short but effective subject line. Your subject line is one of the most important factors in whether or not someone chooses to open a promotional email. According to one statistic from, 33% of email recipients open an email message based on the subject line alone.

Personalize your subject line. A personalized subject line significantly increases the chance that a consumer will open your email. In fact, a 2012 report from Adestra found that personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened. And Experian Marketing Services’ 2013 Email Marketing Study indicated that personalized subject lines had 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates.

Optimize for mobile. With the advanced capabilities and surging popularity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, mobile optimization is increasingly important for promotional emails. That’s why it’s so surprising to find out that in eConsultancy’s 2012 Email Marketing Industry Census, a shocking 39% of marketers reported having no strategy for mobile email. Considering that, per Litmus, 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices, those marketers appear to be making a huge mistake. .


Send emails too frequently. Although you want to send your emails regularly, you don’t want to flood your customers’ inboxes. Merkle’s “View from the Inbox” report found that 73% of respondents said that “sending too frequently” was their most common reason for unsubscribing to promotional emails. Go for quality over quantity. Send emails on a regular basis, but not so frequently as to annoy your customers. Also, concentrate on creating email content your customers will want to read.

Use misleading subject lines. Although crafting a great subject line is an important part of creating an effective email marketing campaign, make sure your subject lines aren’t misleading. This is a turnoff for customers, and can cause them to not trust your company or brand.

Use tacky stock images. Visuals are a great way to rev up your emails, but stock images can look tacky and cheap. Remember: if you think that the image you’re considering using looks lame, then the odds are high your customer’s are going to feel the same way.

Make it too difficult to unsubscribe, or fail to honor unsubscribe requests. Obviously, you don’t want people to unsubscribe from your promotional emails, but some users inevitably will. Make it easy and intuitive for them to do so by including a prominent, easy-to-find “unsubscribe” link or button in your emails. Yes you will lose that subscriber, but it doesn’t mean they will no longer be your customer. Chances are, they just don’t want to receive promotional messages anymore.

While this list of do’s and don’ts is by no means definitive, it should certainly help put you on the right track. Remember that even in today’s increasingly social media oriented world, email marketing is still one of the most effective channels for reaching customers. So get out there and start sending!

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