Email marketing top 5 do’s and don’ts

Nowadays, marketers have more ways than ever to reach their audiences – through mobile apps, social media advertising, content marketing, television ads, direct mail, events – and the list goes on and on.

However, email marketing is one of the most beneficial and efficient promotional strategies, allowing marketers to reach their target audience in a single click. Using email, you can share information regarding new products or services, send e-newsletters, and promote content on your company’s website.

As a popular approach to marketing, email marketing remains a significant percentage of most marketers’ investment. In 2016, companies spent an estimated total of $1.2 billion on email marketing alone, compared to $1.1 billion in 2015[1]. While spending doesn’t seem to drastically change from year to year, the volume of emailing does. In fact, the total volume of email marketing in Q3 of 2016 was almost 20% more than Q2 of 2015[2].

Of course, the increasing volume of email also means an increase in competition. You want to make sure your emails are effective and stand out from other emails flooding your targets’ inboxes.

Mitch Rubin is the president and founder of Applied Information Group, which specializes in database and email marketing services. He has over 30 years of experience in database and software development, online, direct, and email marketing. Previously, he’s spoken with us to share his expertise for effective marketing campaigns – including tips for ensuring your emails get delivered and how to stay compliant with new laws. Today, he shares his top 5 do’s and don’ts for an effective email marketing campaign. To each, we’ve added a bit of explanatory detail.


Top 5 Email Do’s

  1. Place the “Call to Action” link near the top of the email. Most readers won’t scroll through a whole email, so if the link is towards the top of the text, there is a higher chance for them to actually see it and proceed to click, leading to a higher click-through rate for your campaign. It is also beneficial to underline, bold or italicize the link to make sure it stands out.
  2. Use both an engaging subject line and preview text. Think about the subject lines that grab your attention. Make it short, fun, relatable, and comprehensive to grab the viewer’s attention.
  3. Keep the “from” line the same. This helps with your email deliverability, ensuring that your emails actually make it into the inbox.
  4. Create emails that display nicely on a mobile device. Optimization is the new frontier, as you most likely have read in Email marketing optimization part 2. While mobile use is increasing, the percentage of individuals opening and clicking through emails is down. If viewers can’t read your email on their phone, there’s little chance of them visiting your website or reading any articles you have included in the email. Always test your emails on a multiple devices before sending it to your consumers.
  5. Offer your recipients something. Think about what you can do to help the recipient.  Incentives, such as a discount, exclusive content or free access, are a great way to engage recipients. Everybody loves perks and benefits and they’re a great first step to gaining a loyal clientele.

Now that we’ve explained some of the actions you should take in an email, let’s go over some that you shouldn’t…

Top 5 Email Don’ts

  1. Crowd the top of an email with a large banner. Try to keep the banner height between 100 and 150 pixels. You don’t want your image to take up a large portion of the email, or your recipients will not see the text, which is the most important content.
  2. Overload the creative with too much info. The focus of the email should be one or two things at most. If there is too much text, many recipients may lose interest, or not understand the point. Keep it simple.
  3. Hide the unsubscribe link. If someone isn’t responding well to your emails, it’s most likely because they’re not interested in your product or brand. While you want people to stay connected to your company, you also don’t want to make them feel like they’re stuck, so give them the option to opt out.
  4. Forget to include a plain text version. While it may not appear as attractive as HTML, plain text will allow all recipients to read your email. HTML-only emails have a higher chance of ending up in spam folders. Also, your addressee may not receive the email (depending on their email settings). So keep a habit of always making a plain text alternative. Some viewers like their emails plain and simple.
  5. Use too many images. Depending on a client’s email preferences and the browser they are using, images may be initially blocked. Make sure all images use alternative text. The text will display if the image happens to be blocked.


Were these tips helpful? Click here to learn more about getting the most out of your email marketing.

[1] DMA. Featured Email Marketing Statistics from 2016 DMA Statistical Fact Book. (

[2] Experian. Quarterly benchmark report Q3 2016 (July, August, September;