Effective Email Marketing

September 22, 2015   |   Vol. 14   |   Issue 9
By Tom Beauchamp, Vice President of Operations


In today’s online world, there are many options available to reach your targeted audience. Hidden among the more recent and flashy online marketing innovations is email marketing. Often email marketing is considered the antique or dinosaur of the bunch. Despite its less than appealing appearance to many, it should NOT be ignored. If used correctly, it is still one of the most economical and effective of the various tools available to online marketers today.

For email marketing to be effective, there are a number of best practices that should be followed. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind when setting up your next email campaign:


  • Emails should be designed for mobile use in mind. Emails are being read on mobile devices more now than ever before in the past. If responsive design is not an option for your organization, emails should be modified to be “mobile-friendly”—single column format, increased font size, decreased content, “touch-friendly” (minimum of 44 pixels x 44 pixels) buttons and links, etc.

  • More is not better—it is just more. Be brief and get to the point. Excessive content or copy should be placed on a landing page accessible by clickthroughs placed throughout the body of the email.

  • Subject lines should not exceed 45 characters in length. Different devices and email clients will truncate the subject line at different character limits. 45 characters is considered a safe length, that will render in most situations.

  • Utilize pyramid writing when constructing a subject line. Because you have such limited space for a subject line and it may be truncated at different limits (from the right), construct the subject line utilizing “pyramid writing”—identify the different segments of the subject line, and order with the most important items on the left and the least important items on the right.

  • Including personalization will not necessarily be more engaging to the recipient. If the data is incomplete or inaccurate, a recipient may be offended or lose confidence in the email sender.

  • Sending to a contact list more frequently will not necessarily lead to more conversions. Increasing the usual frequency of emails to an audience will more likely annoy the audience and could cause them to ignore the emails, mark the emails as spam or unsubscribe. Not only would you be wrecking the quality of your list, but you would also affect deliverability for future emails deployed.

  • Snippet text should be included in emails. Snippet text is part of the email’s preheader and it is visible on the preview pane and above-the-fold views when images are turned off. Additionally, it is also important for the envelope view of the email. In many email clients and devices, the snippet text is included in the email’s envelope (along with “from” and “subject” lines). In such cases, the snippet text is considered a bonus subject line.

  • Send your emails from a sender that recipients will know. “From” name and email addresses should be easily recognized by recipients as an organization or person that they want information from. Doing otherwise will lead to lower open rates/engagement and could create issues with deliverability.

  • Testing is always necessary but do not attempt to test too many items at the same time. When testing more than one item in an email, it is difficult to determine which factor actually contributes to success.

  • All emails should be CAN-SPAM and CASL compliant. For obvious reasons, no type of marketing is effective if it is violating laws. The following links provide valuable information about both CAN-SPAM and CASL:
    • Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation: For Businesses and Organizations
      http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/h_00227.html
    • CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business
      https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

For more information about effective email marketing, contact Vice President of Operations Tom Beauchamp at tbeauchamp@MarketingGeneral.com or tel.703.739.0377.

Posted in: