Email Marketing Beginner Best Practices

Effective Email Marketing

“Building an email list is the single best way to communicate with your audience, period.”

Former Director of Marketing at American Apparel and author, Ryan Holiday.

Obviously, depending on where you are in a sales or marketing cycle there are many ways to get your message to your audience, however, email marketing does continue to be successful. Email lists can take time to build, but when established and growing they can be an extremely direct and successful way to market your business. I have put together a list of best practices and tips for successful email marketing which may help you sell, nurture and/or communicate clearly to your audience.

Set Expectations

Make it very clear to your subscriber what to expect with your newsletter when signing up. Then meet those expectations. Today, trust on the internet is something that is earned. Be sure not to abuse it. I’ll talk more about welcoming emails later in ‘Automation’.


This is a short and sharp point. Understand the fact that some people may want to reply to the emails you send, even newsletters. Therefore, depending on the reasoning behind the email, use an email address that the users can write back to.

Be Human

Avoid using capital letters and exclamation marks when they are not necessary. Email providers scan emails to see whether the information is of a high quality. Due to previous tactics used by email marketers, overemphasis is a sign of spam.

Set Objectives

Like anything in marketing (but often forgotten) understand, what you are trying to achieve with your email marketing. Whether that is the campaign itself and/or the specific goals of each call to action in your email. Ask questions like:

What phase of the sales process are we in?
Are we trying to educate current clients?
Are we illustrating our skill sets?
But fundamentally asking… Why am I doing this?


Utilise your email marketing platform. They have premade templates to work from along with simple editors that will be mobile optimised and work on most browsers and devices. Test your design across mobile and desktop to ensure you have your format correct as they can often vary greatly.


Platforms such as MailChimp and Marketo will allow you to personalise emails to newsletter subscribers. This is all dependant on the information you have gathered through the forms you have on your site. If you simply gather email address and name then you will be able to put the user’s first name in the welcoming note.

However, the use of specific landing pages, signup forms, ads etc will tell you more about the user. For example, we could look to split our newsletter subscribers into segments dependant on their interest which is based off where they signed up on our site e.g. Users who sign up to a newsletter on a specific topic page may only receive emails around the topic.

A/B Testing

Continuously testing your content and formatting in your newsletters to increase engagement is an important part of email marketing. Through email marketing platforms you can test certain designs, text and media against each other in a campaign. Depending on your desired result this will allow the ‘winning’ format to take over after a certain point in the campaign. Or when finished, the A/B Testing results can inform you around the desired UX/UI for your next email campaign.


Depending on the amount of content you have available to you and size of your database, you can set up email drip campaigns. These are premade emails created to trigger when someone signs up to your email newsletters. You can then provide content for a consistent period of time with content already created. Basic example:

Email 1: Welcome email
Email 2: Automatically send 3 days after
Email 3: Automatically sends 7 days after the 2nd mail
So on and so on…

As you can see in that setup there is a welcome email. As previously mentioned, use this to illustrate exactly what the user can expect from the emails.


When it comes to product sales, email marketing can have a huge effect on ROI.

My first tip is to set up your abandon cart email. This involves ensuring your website is set up with your email integration (i.e. WordPress & Mailchimp) and allowing data to be transferred regularly and seamlessly. When you do this you can then set up your abandon cart email quite easily and remind users about the products they were thinking of buying previously through automation.

Users often sign up for marketing emails when it comes to e-commerce as they want to know about the ongoing sales in your business. So make sure your website is set up for sale segmentation and clearly advertise the savings and value to your audience.


Give users (as most will access your site through their mobile phone) very clear ‘Call to Actions’ such as buttons. This will allow them to take the action they want, i.e. go to a blog. Create a very easy route to follow. Hyperlinking in the description and use of a button are often used together in order to ensure the user finds their way through your favoured user journey.


Look at the data available to you and analyse it to see how you may be able to make improvements. This may be in the design of the email itself, the landing pages created etc. Use your email marketing platform and your web analytics to understand the full picture of how your email marketing is performing.

Whether you can implement all of these tips/best practices is obviously a question of resource, however, if you can implement any of these into your strategy I would highly recommend it.