Fresh eyes

The do’s and don’ts of email marketing

do's and don'ts of email marketing

Published by Andy Butler,
at Freshfield

Freshfield’s Andy Butler shares his tips for email marketing success in our latest Digital Bootcamp blog.

Email marketing can be a powerful way to keep in touch with your customers and target audience. With the mind-set that it is a long term strategy of educating, informing and building trust, email marketing can be very effective. However, there is a fine line between doing things right and getting it wrong.

Here are some simple do’s and don’ts that will help guide you towards developing a successful email marketing campaign and avoiding some common pitfalls.

Do consider the quality of your database and the opt-in process

The first step towards building a successful email marketing campaign is to consider the database of contacts that you are communicating with.

If your database is highly targeted with people who have actively opted-in, you will find the emails will get a higher rate of user engagement, opens and click-throughs than if you blindly target email addresses at random. Regularly cleansing your database will ensure you engage with those who are interested in what you have to say.

The other consideration regarding database quality is paying attention to the opt-in process. If someone submits their email, it is advisable to follow this up with an email that requires them to confirm they agree to receiving e-marketing from you.

Do give the subject line some thought

The subject line is your first point of contact with the recipient, and an attention grabbing headline can make the difference between an email that is opened, ignored or deleted.

When writing a headline avoid long subject lines, keep them to under 45 characters and avoid using words like ‘FREE’, ‘Giveaway’, ‘Credit’ or ‘Act Now’. The use of certain keywords has the potential to trigger spam filters which would mean the email may not even reach its destination.

Do add value

Email marketing needs to be seen as a long-term, relationship building strategy.

Sending regular emails that add value to the end user will, over time, help to build a relationship with your contacts. People do business with those they know, like and trust so taking your time to build strong relationships has the potential to create business further down the line.

Also consider the type of content you send and to whom. If possible, segment your database and target different groups with content that is targeted to their individual interests.

Do offer a way to unsubscribe

Offering a clear and easy route to unsubscribing from your email marketing is a must. Giving people the option to opt-out helps to keep your database clean and means you will only target those who are interested in receiving your news and information.

Don’t get labelled a spammer

It is important to keep in regular contact with your contacts but pay attention to the frequency at which you do so. Emailing people too often with information that offers no value will damage your relationship (possibly beyond repair). You also run the risk of being labelled a spammer.

Email frequency will vary depending on industry and the relationship you have with your audience. The main point to remember is to build relationships over time and don’t aim for a quick sale approach.

Don’t make your emails too long

Avoid making your emails too long. Doing so will not capture the reader’s attention.

The aim of email marketing is to provide the recipient with information snippets that entice them to click through to your website or landing page to find out more. Keeping the messages short and sweet will help improve readability and make the calls to action stand out.

Don’t think of short term gains

As mentioned above, email marketing needs to be viewed as a long term strategy of relationship building. Don’t look upon email marketing as a quick fix for short-term gains: you are likely to be sorely disappointed.

Make sure that your email database is highly targeted, and that the content you send out adds value to your audience. Track your campaign response rates, and test and adjust the messages sent out in future emails. Getting your email marketing message right will keep your products or services in the minds of your audience and will help to develop trusting relationships. Over time this has the potential to result in future business.

Freshfield’s Digital Bootcamp series

What does this mean for my brand? The world of digital marketing evolves extraordinarily quickly, making it very difficult for busy marketers and business owners to keep pace. Help is at hand in the form of Freshfield’s monthly Digital Bootcamp blog, where our digital consultants answer our clients’ queries in a simple and straightforward manner. If you’ve got a digital marketing question for us, e-mail it to

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