Top 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts by Pat Ryan & Jae-ann Rock

Your Guide to Planning a More Effective Email Marketing Campaign

We’ve been working to help companies marketing and selling to Corporate Training and HR for more than 19 years now! As part of our experience, we have collected the results of our own email marketing efforts, along with those of our clients, and identified a number of tips and ideas to help improve email marketing results.

Of course, when DONE CORRECTLY, email marketing can be a highly effective way to:

  • Generate leads
  • Boost sales
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Increase website traffic
  • Nurture leads over time

However, the implications of email marketing DONE WRONG are vast – squashing the success right out of an email marketing campaign:

  • SPAM filters stop your email from “getting in”
  • Low % of “opens”
  • Low % of “click-throughs”
  • Prospects that DO read your email DON’T call you
  • Creating ill-will with prospects

In this white paper, we have compiled the top ten email marketing do’s and don’ts as a helpful guide to get you on the path to email marketing success!

Part I: The Top 10 Email Marketing Do’s

1. Follow all CAN-SPAM laws.  Within the email content, be sure to include:

    • Your physical address
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • The ability for the recipient to easily unsubscribe from your email campaigns

2. The LIST:

    • Always keep your email marketing list current. (Can’t keep up with all the changes? Contact Mentor Tech Group today at 651-457-8600, Ext. 3. We can help.)
    • Remove all unsubscribes and bounces from your list after each email campaign.

3. Use an email marketing system (e.g. MailChimp) designed to track all email activity, including opens, clicks, and unsubscribes.

    • Leverage email marketing automation tools improve marketing efficiency
    • Create workflows to automatically nurture interested leads using “hot list” triggers (i.e. the number of times a contact opens your emails; the number of times they click on certain links, etc.)

4. Develop an email marketing strategy:

    • Determine goals/objectives
    • Identify hot topics of interest to your target industry (see #5 for more)
    • Create an email marketing schedule and stick to it. Remember: Consistency is key.

5. Create Value-Added content (versus SALES content):

    • Develop educational, thought-leadership content the reader will find helpful in their business.
    • Write about industry trending topics.
    • Take a controversial stance on something to get the reader’s attention.
    • What interests your readers? Think of content from the recipient’s perspective, the kind of content YOU would OPEN. (On the flip side: What makes you delete an email? What makes you unsubscribe?)

6. The all-important subject line:

    • This is critical! Have a powerful, interesting  Subject line that builds curiosity.
    • Keep it short and sweet for ease of mobile reading:  Aim for simple/concise text
    • Use a number in your subject line. (e.g “Top 5 Ways to Improve Email Marketing Results”) Numbered lists entice people to open emails.
    • Try something controversial.
    • Test your subject line using a free tool like “” to see how it ranks; find ways to make improvements before sending out your campaign. Be sure the subject line is not too long, as more than 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices these days.

7. Your email content should be comprised of an Email “Teaser”:

    • i.e. Don’t give away the whole article in your email campaign. Provide just enough information so readers will be enticed to “Click to read more”
    • Include trackable links where people must “Click to read the full article” (This is the only way you will know who is actually engaging with your content!)
    • Make the message personalized, and relevant – use the person’s first name.
    • Keep the content short and EASY to read – Use bullets and bolded text for ease of reading
    • Include a SINGLE, CLEAR call to action. (e.g “Click here to read the article.” or “Click here to register for the webinar.”)

8. Test messages on various popular email systems to be sure your content looks good across all.

9. Measure, analyze, tweak:

    • Always seek to improve results.
    • Use Trackable links to track opens, clicks, and unsubscribes to see what works well and what doesn’t.
    • Continue to test, analyze results and tweak your campaigns based on results. Try different topics, subject lines, email templates, marketing lists, etc.

10. Make it Mobile friendly:

    • 55% of email is now opened on a mobile device.
    • Be sure your email design fits the screen, the word length is manageable, and the loading time doesn’t take forever.


Part II: The Top 10 Email Marketing Don’ts

The following are the top ten things to avoid in your email marketing campaigns.

1. Don’t SPAM – it’s illegal and unprofessional. Follow all CAN-SPAM laws (or any applicable SPAM laws outside of the US).

2. Do not use the word FREE in the subject line.

3. Unpersonalized and/or generic emails get far less response and higher unsubscribe rates.

4. Minimize use of all CAPS as they are hard to read

5. Content:

    • Do not use promotional content that talks only about your company, your product, or you. Your content should be 90% value-added and only 10% promotional.
    • Don’t send junk. It’s better to send nothing at all than to send an email that looks unprofessional or only self-promotional. That’s a sure way to increase unsubscribe rates and ruin a perfectly good marketing list.

6. Do not send email campaigns without having a TIMELY follow-up plan. What will you do with warm “click-throughs”?

7. Do not be too long or wordy; Do not use only paragraph format – instead, section off your content with sub-headers, bolded text, and bullets for ease of reading.

8. Don’t use videos in your emails. Server firewalls sometimes block video content automatically.

9. Images are great, but many email clients won’t display them. Plus, designing your email with one large image can lead to a very unattractive message that users may automatically delete without a second look. Use images judiciously.

10. Don’t change your “from” name – Keeping your from name consistent will help alleviate confusion from your readers as well as from their email providers. Whatever name you pick, make sure it’s clear, consistent, and recognizable.

We wish you all the best in your email marketing endeavors!

And remember, if you have a need for a high-quality, premium database of Corporate Training, HR, or e-Learning decision-makers, please call Mentor Tech Group at (651) 457-8600, Ext. 3.

We specialize in hand-building and maintaining a market intelligence database of more than 40,000 contacts in your target industry. It’s what we do!





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