The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Beginning Email Marketing

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

I’ve collected my favorite 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 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 into two versions. See what works better, use something similar the next time. You don’t stop emailing 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 emojis. Emojis are for high schoolers, and you are a grown-ass adult running a grownup company. Filters also look at your entire email for spam triggers. Many sites offer helpful lists of words that shall not be named. I like HubSpot for this exercise.

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 contact (i.e., optic engineer, R&D, salesperson), so you are only paying for people will care about what you have to offer.

Make it pretty. There are ample, user-friendly tools out there to help you create a professional and polished looking email. If your blasts look the same as they did eight 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 right now. Look up Unsplash for high-res, high-quality, artistic photography, and include the artist’s name in your message.

Frequency. Marketing jargon aside, this is important to pay attention to or risk people running for the hills and unsubscribing. Most companies use a pace of six weeks per message. For blogs, once weekly is the expectation. Retail, daily, but I find it annoying to get the same 20% deal every day, don’t you? If you are losing people instead of gaining sales, rethink your frequency. Think about the quality of the information you are sending out and make it meaningful and helpful, not just salesy.

Clarity and understanding of the changing CAN-SPAM laws are vital if you plan to send to Europe or Canada, and now California, where they are quite strict about not blasting blindly 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 laxer but are getting stricter. Avoid getting into trouble by only using opted-in names lists.

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

Amanda MacDonald

Amanda MacDonald

Founder of Full Gallop Communications

Amanda is a marketing veteran that works with businesses on improving brand communication, marketing strategy, and creating content marketing. When not in the office, Amanda can be found at the barn with her horse, walking her two dogs on Lake Ontario or baking something carbtastic in the oven.

Contact her at to inquire about how your marketing efforts can become more successful.

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