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Email Marketing Best Practices

Sending emails and newsletters has been the most critical practice to promote a business along the way of e-business growth. And this process is what we call email marketing—an approach perfectly suits marketers’ needs for doing more with less. A successful email marketing campaign not only can help build connection with customers in a highly targeted way, but also can be rewarded with ROI and revenue. In below, we will talk about some email marketing best practices, tips, and strategies which you can refer to.

8 Different Types of Marketing Email Every Marketer Should Consider Sending

No matter you are a newbie just starting out with email marketing or an experienced player in sending marketing emails, you’ll need to make clear what type of marketing email you can send to your database.

In this section, we are going to take a look at 8 main types of marketing email available, including their respective advantages and disadvantages. Hope such information can be helpful for making an informed decision when choosing the most appropriate email marketing communication integration to optimize your sales and marketing

Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are the first friendly exchange between your business and a new subscriber, setting the tone for future communications and encourages new members to engage with your business. The success of your onboarding flow relies heavily on the first few touches. The welcome email should be actionable, informative, and clear. Sending a welcome email gives you lots of advantages:

  • Setting an expectation.
  • Confirming subscription.
  • Being automated.

It’s hard to find any disadvantages of welcome emails, seriously.

Newsletter Emails

email_newsletter-1Newsletter emails could be a good idea to use in your marketing strategy if you already have clearly known your goal of what to achieve in the email marketing campaign. Whether you plan to nurture your existing contacts, become a top brand in your industry, or to increase social sharing so as to appeal to more new clients to your list, newsletter can be used to well track the progress of reaching your goal.

Here are the tree key advantages of using newsletter emails:

  • Spreading your brand awareness. Your email subscribers can better recognize your brand and associate it with a positive sentiment if you build habitual communication with them.
  • Leveraging existing content. As a marketer, making a quick summary of your most attractive blog posts and linking to them from your newsletter email can help with your content.
  • Adding content on demand. You are allowed to include any type of content like a new offer, a popular blog post, promotion information, an announcement of an upcoming event, and a link to a survey in one newsletter email.

Meanwhile, newsletter emails come with some significant disadvantages.

  • Diluting the main call-to-action. It is possible that the attention of your recipients will be spread across the article summaries or product blurbs instead of staying focus on a certain element that you want them to.
  • Complicated design. Compared to other marketing emails, newsletter email is characterized with a more complicated design task, which means that you need to spend more time on working with the placement of text and images, as well as prioritization of information, etc.

Standalone Emails

Standalone emails, also called dedicated emails, are generally sent to a distribution list along with an offer created to help promote a product or service. For instance, sending a standalone email to inform target clients of a new web hosting service or invite them to present at an upcoming event is always the common choice hosting companies do.

Such wonderful advantages lead to the popularity of standalone emails:

  • Easy to set up and send. Standalone emails require no graphics or fancy layouts as opposed to newsletter emails. Just copy the promotion information and click send button if you already know what to promote.
  • Easy to track. As standalone emails introduce a main call to action, you can easily know clearly about the click-through rate and conversation rate, etc.

As well, some noticeable disadvantages are following the standalone emails.

  • Difficult to schedule. Only when you have a new offer (which might be sporadic) will you choose to send standalone emails, making the emailing schedule unclear and less consistent.
  • Limited to the content. A standalone email includes just one call to action and you cannot add other important calls-to-action in respect to your company.

Digest Emails

email_digestDigest emails usually feature with only links and lists, making them easier to consume than newsletter emails. You can collect notifications about the articles published throughout a certain time frame and release a blog digest email with the links. For certain platform as HubSpot, you can grant your subscribers the ability to set up a digest email on the basis of their preferences.

Advantages of using digest emails:

  • Little input. You are just required to set the digest email up in the first place.
  • Easy to skim. Subscribers can quickly scan the whole list and click-through the content that catches their eyes.

Disadvantages of using digest email:

  • A digest email includes no real input from you thus unable to enhance your brand or promoting you products.

Anniversary Emails

If you want to retain clients and persuade them to make transactions on your websites, you should get your marketing emails more personal first. One best ways to reach that is sending anniversary emails. No matter your company anniversary, the anniversary of your clients joining, your subscribers’ actual birthday, or public holidays can also be covered by anniversary emails.

Anniversary emails bring with advantages like:

  • Easily setting up. If you already have the detailed information of your subscribers’ birthday or sign-up time, you can set up automated emails and send to them by the right date.
  • Growing brand trust and customer engagement. According to a latest report on anniversary email campaigns, the CTR of this type of marketing email is around two times higher than standard bulk emails.

Any disadvantages of anniversary emails?


Lead Nurturing Emails

lead_nurturing2Lead nurturing is a system allowing you to send an automated series of emails to an early-stage lead in order to pre-qualify them. Occasionally emailing clients about changes in prices or product updates, as well as designing personalized pitches with the nuances of clients’ timing and needs taken into account are all in the realm of lead nurturing emails.

With lead nurturing emails, you can get benefits from:

  • Establishing contact quickly. Automated lead nurturing is a great way to maintain engagement when a lead has already made the move to interact with you.
  • Staying top of mind. Lead nurturing emails can help build thought leadership as well as maintain consistent communication with your leads.

While you should also be wary of some disadvantages lead nurturing emails come with:

  • It needs more time and effort. As lead nurturing emails are generally sent to targeted clients, you need spend much more time and effort to design an email message catering to specific needs.
  • It generates less buzz. Compared to some marketing emails sent to the entire email database, more lead nurturing emails are just sent to one address, thus failing to generate strong brand buzz.

Sponsorship Emails

A sponsorship email is a personalized message sent by an event organizer or a team to business organizations with an ultimate mission—requesting money or services in exchange for certain form of promotion. This type of emails usually includes specifics of an itinerary for events or details of what is hoped to be accomplished for teams.

Benefits of sending sponsorship emails you can receive:

  • They are highly targeted. You know very well who to reach out to, therefore you can generate targeted content based on your research on sponsor’s values, event marketing objectives, and more.
  • Clear ROI. When you have the knowledge of the amount of money paying the vendor, you can easily determine the return on the cost by tracking the visits, leads, or sales you’re generating.

The biggest disadvantages of sponsorship emails are:

  • You have to bear the expense of the sponsorship emails alone.
  • They require more time and effort on data collection and email designing and controlling.

Transactional Emails

transactional-emailTransactional emails are one of the most common seen emails in daily life. When a client triggers a specific action, for instance, an order confirmation action, he/she will receive a transactional email with order details and shipment information.

Along with transaction emails are disadvantages as:

  • High CTR. As transactional emails tend to be very specific towards the clients, recipients are more likely to open the communications and click on them.
  • Brand strengthening. By sending a transactional email to express gratitude to a client for buy a product or service can strength your brand at the same time.

Unfortunately, the disadvantage of the marketing emails is also obvious:

  • Creating a barrier to complete the action. Sometimes when you are focusing on an action like filling a form to apply a membership, you will feel discouraged and want to give up the moment you are asked to confirm a transaction email first.

With all the types of email communication at a marketer’s disposal, it’s easy come up with the delusion that whether you should send your email recipients all the types of marketing emails. The answer is obviously not. Instead of being entangling with which email mix-marketing need, we introduce some useful email marketing strategies and tips in the following part.

15 Proven Email Marketing Best Practices

As one of the most cost-effective ways to reach clients and increase sales, a large group of merchants and service providers are exploring the way of being experts in email marketing campaigns. Literally, launching an effective email marketing campaign is an art form resulted from a set of well-planned strategies and

Data Collection and Analysis

If you’re new to behavioral email and don’t have a very long mailing list to send emails, you might eagerly demand for inviting readers to join groups and collecting as many names and addresses as possible.

Grow your email list

For any new marketers who want to grow their email database for free would never miss the following ways:

  • Using email with remarkable email content, social sharing buttons, and a link to your employees’ signatures included;
  • Posting a signup form on your homepage, blog, Facebook page, and wherever else your clients and fans are already active;
  • Hosting a co-marketing offer with a partner or running a promotion on a partner website or email newsletter.

Value an email campaign

Visualizing the success or failure of an email campaign is not an easy thing if without the help of third-party tools. Though you can also get a roughly calculated data by pulling all the data into a spreadsheet, you need more detailed email marketing metrics and KPIs to help bring with accurate statistics.

Basically, you email campaign should include thefollowing metrics:

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR): (total clicks OR unique clicks ÷ number of delivered emails) * 100, giving you direct insight into how many people on your list are engaging with your content and interested in learning more about your brand or your offer.
  • Conversion rate: (number of people who completed the desired action ÷ number of total emails delivered) * 100, determining the extent to which you’re achieving your goals.
  • Bounce rate: (total number of bounced emails ÷ number of emails sent) * 100, a key factor to determine an email sender’s reputation
  • List growth rate: ([(number of new subscribers) – (number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)] ÷ total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100, helping grow your subscriber list and keep it at a healthy size
  • Email sharing/forwarding rate: (number of clicks on a share and/or forward button ÷ number of total delivered emails) * 100, helping discover which types of articles and offers tend to get shared the most.
  • Overall ROI: [($ in additional sales made – $ invested in the campaign) ÷ $ invested in the campaign] * 100, the most important metric to value how much revenue an email marketing campaign has generated for your company.

Fortunately, many popular email marketing service providers like iContact and Constant Contact offer easy-to-read reports containing all the real-time data analytics allowing you to track your email marketing success.constant-contact-report

Content Planning

Most of the time, the success of an email marketing campaign comes down to your ability of planning email content.

Be Personal

Choose to use clients’ names and direct addresses in the subject line or in the salutation instead of old uses of “Dear”. Such personalization is a good way to catch their eyes and entice them to continue reading.

Use Social Proof

It is said that an overwhelming majority of consumers tend to take other consumers’ think as a reference. If you are able to share some social proof like product ratings and reviews, your products or service will become more convincing effective.

Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback, on the one hand, is another way to introduce your company to your subscribers; on the other hand, it gives you a direction to improve your products and services according to some candid yet useful feedback. Always remember that people only respond to a request that is genuine.


Make conversion a habit

Learn to build opportunities for small conversions into every email so that people get used to taking action. The most common calls to action are “Upgrade your account” or “Follow me on facebook”. You can’t expect to use the conversion for creating revenue directly, but you do can make more content exposed from the conversion.

Don’t forget to add downloads

Most marketers are still not used to offering a downloadable file in their marketing emails maybe because they just haven’t yet realized that email is the perfect platform to exchange files.

Take advantage of referral codes

Experiments have shown that people are more likely to refer friends and relatives. As well, referral, compared to ads, is regarded as a more trustworthy source. If you are looking for the best way to turn every email into a sales opportunity, adding referral codes should not be ignored.referral-code

Leverage your partners’ brand power

If your product or service integrates with other products or services, you are sitting on top of a gold mine of brand power. Leveraging the power of other brands is a great way to accelerate the authority of your own.

With the help of current event/hot spot

Still don’t know how to create an eye-catching email? Give it a shot with a current event. People are always willing to spend more time on news they are familiar with or topics they are curious about, therefore if you can give them exactly what they want, you’ll never need to worry about your CTR or email list.

Template Design

A well-designed email template is essentially an appealing thought. A successful email template design can always inspire users to action therefore increasing customer loyalty and generating revenue. Here are some most pivotal things you should keep in mind when determining the success of your email template design.

Use the Inverted Pyramid Method

Whether your emails have placed the most interesting content at the top or in the high visibility areas of your emails so as to engage your subscribers the moment they open them from you? Ask the same question every time as you plan to start an email marketing campaign. If you don’t know how to do it, use the simple model—the Inverted Pyramid Method.inverted-pyramid-method

Simply put it, the Inverted Pyramid Method is a classic template designed to help marketers create great emails by eliminating distractions. In this method, the entire email builds towards a call to action. By the time the reader gets there, they are eager to click. There is nothing else to do but click.

Apply the Zeigarnik effect

Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik’s research shows that people tend to feel uncomfortable when things are left unfinished. Nowadays, more and more experts are applying the Zeigarnik effect to email marketing campaigns, for instance, the progress bars in an email. Apart from that, setting an expectation in the subject line and reminding users when items need their attention are clever ways to leverage the Zeigarnik effect in email marketing.

Dress up sharing

No matter you integrate your marketing emails with email forwarding or social media, you are aiming to increase customer base as well as number of subscriptions. Simply drop a “Share” button at the bottom of an email and dress it up via offering a promo code or a giveaway alike, and you’ll be surprised at their enthusiasm.

Remember mobile users

The email display on different devices can vary greatly. As with the growing popularity of mobile devices like iPhone, a majority of people nowadays tend to check email message on these devices instead of wasting time to open a PC or laptop. So, if your email campaign fails to consider being mobile-friendly, it is doomed to be a failure.automation-emails

Email-Sending Time

Just like the door-knocking, if your email marketing arrives at the wrong time, you’ll probably be unable to get perfect effect as expected. The problem is: there is no universal answer to what time is right, especially when your clients are from different time zones.

What you can do is segmenting your clients based on their time zone and scheduling marketing emails separately. Obviously, the work is tedious. But luckily, the latest technology has made it possible for marketers to create cohesive email experience without needing to drop an email at 11pm in Singapore and 10am in New York.

Keep in mind that open rate performs best early in the morning around 6am, and users respond well to emails between 7 and 10pm—after they get off work. Therefore, you should avoid sending marketing emails on Mondays, the middle of the work day, plus weekends.

4 Email Marketing Pitfalls You Should Avoid

As with all kinds of successful email marketing strategies and tips spreading across the web, quantity of email campaigns just disappear like a rock dripped into the sea. Even with rich resources available and advanced email marketing tools, mistakes happen at times. Such mistakes are not just the misplaced graphics featuring with wrong promotion or blatantly misspelled words in the opening paragraph. These are also the little—and sometimes big—mistakes that are easy to be ignored, but when made, could cost you email opens and click-throughs.banner_response-to-wrong-email-1

Overhyped Subject Line

Writing headlines is a fine art and some marketers forget about the impact on the trust of their brand. They pay much attention to come up with a stunning headline, but when people click through, they find out nothing special as the headline implies. One word—disappointing! Maybe that’s because the higher one’s expectations, the further they fall.

You can send an email with an appealing headline to encourage people to click, but you should also keep your content living up to their expectation. Sacrificing a few clicks to maintain the integrity of your brand is not the best choice, but it is wise to prevent throwing out the baby with the bath water.

No Targeted Clients

Email marketing solutions make it easy to automatically send emails to the entire mailing list in seconds. Nevertheless, it’s absolutely not an effective strategy to send the same email to all clients. Learn to segment your subscribers and clients based on the target demographic, the offer, as well as the context of an email and send targeted email to people who are most in need. emails

Email addresses like no-reply@ or DoNotReply@ usually give people a feeling of uninviting and unwelcome, leading to very low open rate. Always make sure your email has a specific address, including phone numbers or links to your social profiles so that recipients can reply to.

Image-only or None-image Based Email

Sending image only based email can be a good idea, but only for selling visual products like clothing. Even worse, it could be a disaster if the email is sent to someone with “images off” settings or when the image links break.

Similarly, if you create a long email filled with many topics, ideas, and news and without any image, believe me, it is just an invain work coming with low engagement. What you should do is picking a goal and writing a short yet simple email along with at least one image.

Still confused about how to send successful email marketing campaigns? Sign up with a best email marketing service and put several ideas mentioned above into practice.

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