The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Beginning Email Marketing

email marketingContrary to popular belief, email marketing is not dead. It is still one of the best ways to reach and grow a targeted audience within a content marketing strategy. It’s easy to manage, schedule and monitor for success. It keeps your target audience aware of important things (where you will be and when, new events, new products, helpful and pertinent information). 

I’ve collected my favorite key tips over the years to help nudge you in the right direction and make this even more successful for your efforts.

Use a subject line keyword checker to select words that will have more impact on your open rate, and avoid spam filters. This is one of the most important things you can do for your emails. I recommend trying this online tool by Adestra when you schedule the next send. There is no possible way to get 100% delivery, as different filter systems can be set extremely narrow.

A/B testing. Your subject line is critical and dependent upon what email reader/phone/view/spam filter each person is using. Divide your list in half and track metrics on two versions. See what works better, use something similar the next time. This doesn’t mean you stop after one test, but continue to find out what triggers people to open.

Spammy words are the bane of email. Don’t get banished by using words like FREE or CASH or emojies. (Emojies are for highschoolers and you are a grown-ass adult running a grownup company.)  Filters also look at your entire email for spam triggers. There are many many sites that post helpful lists of words that shall not be named. I like HubSpot.

Make people care about your body copy.  Readers don’t care about your product features and specs unless they are engineers. And even engineers need to know what the benefit is for them. Tell your readers exactly why your magnificent new product is going to make their life easier/better/save them cash or time.

KISS. Simple is always better.  Don’t use five words when three will do.

A word about lists and list management.  An in-house list will always perform heads and tails over a rented list of names. Why? Because if they are already contacts in your system, they’ve indicated that they are interested in what you have. If you need to grow or cast a wider net, renting a qualified list from a related publication or trade show is the best place to start. These aren’t cheap, however, so prepare to spend about 2K to reach a decent sized list. The upside is that you usually have a list of “selects” to narrow down the type of reader you need to reach (ie. English, dressage, competitor, owns 2 horses) so you aren’t paying for people that won’t care about what you have to offer in the first place.

Make it pretty. There are ample, user-friendly tools out there to help you create a really professional and polished looking email. If your blasts look the same as they did 8 years ago, make this a priority.  Nothing says, “we don’t care” like an ugly email (or website). Use the best images you can get your hands on. So much good and free photography out there. Try Unsplash for high-res, high-quality, artistic photography.

Frequency. Marketing jargon aside, this is really important to pay attention to or risk people running for the hills and unsubscribing. Most companies use an every 6 weeks approach. Blogs, once weekly is the expectation. Retail, daily but I find it annoying to get the same 20% deal every day, don’t you? Think about the quality of the information you are sending out and make it meaningful and helpful, not just salesy.

CAN-SPAM laws are important if you plan to send to Europe or Canada, where they actually are quite strict about not sending to people that you don’t know.  Mass emails are heavily discouraged and you’ll need to approach this differently if these areas are a growth market for your product. In the US, things are slightly more lax, but are getting stricter.  Avoid getting into trouble by only using opted-in names.

How to get people to opt in. This is the trick, isn’t it? Offer something in exchange for a sign up. I offer a free book of tips and since I’ve added this, my sign up rate has more than doubled. I also promise to not abuse this trust by sharing or selling these names. Which would be really rude and annoying. Once people have opted in to your list, be sure to make it worth their while by serving up interesting and helpful information.

So now you have the start of a great email marketing strategy. If you have questions about getting it right, or improving what you are doing today, give me a shout and let’s make it even better!


EMAIL MARKETINGAs a life-long equestrian, I understand the importance of keeping our horses healthy, happy and well-appointed. I’m also a marketing consultant who helps equine and pet businesses refine their marketing strategy to attract more pre-qualified customers. Unlike non-equine agencies, I understand your business and your ideal customer before creating your strategy.

And with over 15 years of experience in marketing, I can help you to translate that shared goal into a brand that drives sales. I’ve mastered marketing strategy, branding, website production and digital media marketing, and led successful teams to bring it all together.  So it’s a pleasure to offer my services and knowledge to those who make my life more enjoyable, and to bring new products and services to others to keep our horses happy and healthy. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.