Email Marketing Best Practices

By Madison Taylor
January 7, 2023
Laptop about to fully close

You already know that your marketing efforts need to align — none of them works in a vacuum, and you need potential customers to be exposed to your brand in multiple ways before they make a decision.

To that end, your emails need to look and feel like the rest of your branding efforts — language, colors, logos, fonts, and photos should have the same tone and impression to them that your website, social, and physical marketing efforts have.

But looking like you and sounding like you isn’t all that your emails need. Here are a few other best practices for email marketing to keep in mind.

Your Subject Line Is Crucial

Your emails are supposed to be a gateway — readers use them to click through to your website, respond to a CTA, or download an asset. And they can’t do any of that unless they open the email.

Your subject line is what gets people to open your email in the first place, so it has to be catchy, free from typos, clear, succinct, and catchy. It’s a tall order for a piece of writing that tops out at 60 characters or so, but it really is that important.

If you feel like your emails aren’t getting the attention they deserve, try out some new things. Most mailing services will let you do A/B testing — send two different subject lines to half of your audience each, then see which one gets opened more. Experiment with exclamation marks, emojis, subject length, capitalization, whether you spell out numbers or use digits, etc. — anything that might help you write a more compelling subject in the future.

Modernize Your Content

Email should be personalized to some degree — this is where the segmentation we discussed earlier comes in. If a customer gets an email offering a service or a download that they already have, it might annoy them into unsubscribing, so avoid that if at all possible.

Stay away from boring templates, clunky links, and old-school UX. Users get hundreds of emails a day, so yours will need to have a personal touch to stand out.

And, of course, your content needs to be in tip-top shape. Emails shouldn’t be too long — after all, the goal is to direct traffic somewhere else, not keep them in their email app for half an hour — so every sentence counts. Make your point clearly and succinctly, and send your emails in a timely fashion. Being late to a big news story might be worse than not showing up at all.

Optimize Everything

Today’s laptops and phones have bright, crystal-clear displays, so text will have razor-sharp edges. If your photos are low-res, grainy, or have JPEG artifacts, they’ll stick out like a sore thumb. That goes for any graphics you use as well, whether it’s your CTA or a headline of text saved as an image.

Optimize your emails based on where people are reading them, too. You should be able to tell from your mailing software whether your emails are being opened on desktop or mobile, in apps or browsers. Set up your emails to match where your audience is, not where you wish they were.

Be Agile With Your CTAs

Speaking of CTAs, test them too! Check every link to make sure it’s working properly, and craft CTAs that are relevant, clearly state what they’re offering, and direct back to your website.

Do A/B testing on your CTAs as well. Just because you think something is a great offer doesn’t mean it’ll resonate with your customers, so experiment with both the offer itself and the way you phrase it to make sure that you’re getting the best click rate you can.

Finally, Proofread Everything

Before you send the email out, send a test to several people who haven’t seen it before at all. Have them open it in several different browsers or on several different devices. Have them click every link, load every image, and look for typos or unwitting errors in phrasing. A little testing can go a long way.