Email Marketing Best Practices: 125 Links to Help You Be a Better Marketer

If you’re doing email marketing, you know that there’s no shortage of email marketing best practices out there to help you become a better marketer.

From figuring out what to write in your emails to deciding when and how often to send, these best practices can offer the guidance you need to build an email marketing strategy for your small business.

But best practices are just the starting point.

When you’re first starting out, best practices provide the perfect foundation. Over time, you’re able to build on this advice to figure out what works best for you and your audience.

Below you will find a list of 125 email marketing resources to help you become a more effective marketer.

We organized these resources by topic to make it easier for you to find the advice you need. If you have questions that aren’t answered below — let us know in the comments section.

We’d love to hear from you.

Why use email marketing?

If you still haven’t gotten started with email marketing, the first question you need to answer is whether or not it’s right for your business. You may want to see what other small businesses and organizations have to say about email marketing, and find out how email can complement the work you’re doing on other channels — like social media. These first five resources clear up some misconceptions about what email marketing is and how it can help you grow your business.

  1. [SlideShare] Why Use Email Marketing? 31 Reasons from Successful Small Business Owners
  2. Understanding the Power of Email Marketing Relationships
  3. Why You Need to Stop Renting and Start Owning Your Contacts Instead
  4. 10 Things You’re Missing Out on by Using a Personal Email Account to Do Your Email Marketing 
  5. 5 Email Marketing Misconceptions that Could Be Holding You Back

Getting started with email marketing

If you’re new to email marketing, you probably have questions about the best place to start. Hopefully you’ve already set up your account and uploaded your first group of email addresses. Next, you’ll want to learn some of the basics and prepare to send your first campaign. These resources can help.

  1. [Guide] Email Marketing Essentials: Reach Your Customers, Increase Loyalty, and Do More Business with Email Marketing
  2. [Recorded Webinar] Email Marketing Getting To Send
  3. [Infographic] Before You Send: Your Email Checklist
  4. 4 Places to Look for Help When Planning Your First Campaign
  5. I Just Started Email Marketing, What Are My First Steps?

Planning your email marketing

Creating a plan can change the way you think of your email marketing. You’ll be able to develop a schedule, set deadlines, and establish goals for your marketing efforts. This will not only help you improve your results but can also help you save time and stay organized in the process.

  1. How Creating a Plan Can Change the Way You Think about Email Marketing
  2. How to Create a Time-Saving Email Marketing Routine Right Now
  3. A Procrastinator’s Approach to A+ Email Marketing
  4. 4 Email Marketing Goals to Set in the New Year (And How to Make Sure You Actually Achieve Them)
  5. [Q&A] How to Create an All Star Newsletter for Your Small Business

Building your email list

90 percent of consumers like to receive promotional emails from the companies they do business with. The reason most businesses struggle to get more of these people onto their list is that they don’t have the right plan to help them do it. From collecting email addresses in-store and at events, to growing your email list online — through your blog, website, and social media channels — there’s no shortage of ways for you to build an email list. These resources will help you create a plan that fits your business.

  1. [Video] Why Should You Build an Email List?
  2. The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Massive Email List
  3. 3 Things Smart Business Owners Do to Grow Their Email List
  4. 15 Creative Ideas to Grow Your Email List
  5. One Big Mistake You Don’t Want to Make When Growing Your Email List
  6. 9 Expert Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook
  7. How to Train and Motivate Your Staff to Grow Your Email List
  8. Why Website Visitors Aren’t Joining Your Email List (And What You Can Do About It)  

The importance of permission

Successful email marketing strategies start with making sure you’re getting permission before adding new contacts to your email list. When you ask for permission, you show your audience that you appreciate their privacy. You also avoid communicating with people who aren’t interested in hearing from you, which results in fewer opt-outs and spam reports. Most importantly, you’ll be in compliance with important legislations like the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation and the CAN-SPAM Act in the US.

  1. [Guide] How to Get (and Keep) Email Permission
  2. How Purchased Email Lists Can Destroy Your Email Marketing
  3. What is CASL?
  4. 3 Email Marketing Best Practices All Small Businesses Need to Know
  5. How to Make People Hate Your Email Newsletter
  6. [Video] How to Build a Responsive Email List

Managing your email contacts

All of your email contacts are not the same. They have different needs, interests, and reasons for doing business with you. By taking the time to collect information about your email audience, you’ll be able to create messages that are more relevant and interesting to different groups of people on your email list. You’ll also have higher opens and more opportunities to drive meaningful business results beyond the inbox.

  1. Are You Getting the Most You Could Be from Your Email List?
  2. What’s the Difference Between Email Lists and Tags?
  3. Why it’s Important to Target Your Email Contacts
  4. 4 Ways to Segment Your List to Get the Right Message to the Right Audience
  5. All Contacts On Your Email List Are Not the Same (And Why Their Differences Matter)
  6. How to Market with a Personal Touch (Even When You’re Speaking to Different Audiences)
  7. The More You Know, the Easier It Is to Inspire Action with Email

Understanding your spam risks

Spam reports can damage your reputation and make it difficult to get your message in front of your target audience. Luckily, there are best practices you can follow to limit the risk of having your emails marked as spam.

  1. 6 Mistakes that Can Get Your Emails Marked as Spam (Even if You’re Not a Spammer)
  2. Is Your Email Reputation at Risk?
  3. 5 Tips to Increase Your Email Deliverability
  4. Can I Send Emails to a List I Got from Another Business?

Using your email reports

You don’t have to be a data enthusiast to use your email reports. With a basic understanding of the terminology and a plan to put your data in action, you’ll be able to approach your reports with confidence and gain the insights you need to become a smarter marketer.

  1. How to Interpret Your Email Marketing Results (Without Spending All Day Doing It)
  2. How to Approach Your Email Reports with Confidence
  3. 6 Reasons Your Emails Have Bounced (And What to Do to Improve Your Bounce Rate)
  4. Everything You Need to Know About Managing Your Email Bounces
  5. Periscope Recap: What Your Unsubscribers Can Tell You About Your Email Marketing
  6. Do You Know Why People Are Unsubscribing From Your Emails?

Improving your email open rate

Getting more email opens starts with making sure you’re providing valuable information that’s interesting and relevant to the people you’re trying to reach. From there, you can build on your strategy by finding the right sending frequency and deciding the best time to send.

  1. When is the Best Time to Send Your Email Marketing Campaign?
  2. Improve Your Open Rates with One Simple Tweak
  3. [New Data] 3 Proven Tactics to Increase Your Email Open Rate
  4. Can Resending an Email Improve Your Open Rates?
  5. How Often Should You Email Your Customers?
  6. 5 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Email Open Rates
  7. Help, My Contacts Aren’t Opening My Emails!

Using your click-through rates

While your open rate tells you how many people clicked to open your email, your click-through rates will tell you how many people take the next step and engage with a link within your email. Paying attention to your click-throughs will help you determine if your messages are resonating with your email audience, and will also help you determine which offers and content your readers are most interested in.

  1. Periscope Recap: Tips to Improve Your Email Click-Through Rate
  2. New Data: How the Amount of Text and Images Impact Email Click-Through Rates
  3. 7 Things You Can Do to Significantly Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates
  4. How Your Click-Through Rates Can Help You Create More Effective Email Content
  5. How to Optimize Your Emails to Get More Meaningful Click-Through Results

Crafting email subject lines

Your subject line is one of the most important lines in your email because it’s the first thing people see when you land in their inbox. The following resources will provide tips for writing effective subject lines and offer examples to help you craft a subject line that gets opened.

  1. 6 Tips for Writing Sensational Mobile-Friendly Subject Lines
  2. 15 Truths You Must Know To Create Almost Perfect Subject Lines
  3. [Cheat Sheet] 12 Ideas for Super Subject Lines
  4. 15 Subject Line Examples for Your Email Marketing

Coming up with content ideas

You know you need to communicate with your audience on a regular basis, but how do you figure out what to send? One of the best places to start is your audience. But you’ll also want to identify the different sources of content you can pull from when you run into writer’s block.

  1. Periscope Recap: How to Come Up with Content Ideas Your Email Readers Will Love
  2. How to Create and Find Engaging Content That Has Nothing to Do with What You Sell
  3. 20 Places to Find Email Content — It’s Closer Than You Think!
  4. I Can’t Find Enough to Say In My Email, Where Do I Turn for Email Content Ideas?

How to write email content

You know what you want to write about, but you’re worried that you don’t have the skills to develop content on your own. The good news is that you can create engaging email content (even if you think you’re a horrible writer). The following resources will provide tips for planning and developing email content that will lead your readers to take action.

    1. How to Create Engaging Content (Even if You Think You’re a Horrible Writer)
    2. Does Your Content Have the Thank You Factor?
    3. 5 Ways to Create More Engaging Email Content
    4. 3 Tips on How to Keep Your Email Newsletter Content Short
    5. 5 Ways to Make Sure Your Email Marketing Moves the Reader to Action

Choosing email templates

Choosing an email template is the first thing you’ll need to do when you’re ready to design an email. These customizable templates are designed to make it quick and easy to get your message out to your audience. Once you find the right templates for your email marketing, you will be able to rely on them to help you save time on future emails, as well.

      1. How to Choose the Perfect Email Template
      2. 10 Small Businesses & Nonprofits with Great-Looking Email Templates that Drive Action
      3. Master Your Time with a Master Email Template
      4. What You — and Your Customers — Are Missing if You’re Using an Image Instead of an Email Template

Email design essentials

Email marketing services, like Constant Contact, give you the tools you need to create emails that look great in any inbox. Once you get familiar with how these tools work, you can make decisions about how to design your emails. What colors or fonts will you use? How will you incorporate your brand? How can you organize your layout to make it easy for people to read? The following resources will help you answer these questions and more.

      1. [Recorded Webinar] Look Great in the Inbox: The 7 Don’ts of Email Design
      2. [Infographic] The What, When, and Who of Successful Emails
      3. 7 Email Newsletter Design Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
      4. How to Choose the Right Colors and Fonts for Your Emails
      5. How to Brand Your Emails So that You Look Like a Pro in the Inbox
      6. [Infographic] How to Make a Great Looking Email
      7. Stop Guessing: 5 Pro Tips so You Can Design Your Emails with Confidence
      8. 3 Ways to Create Winning Color Schemes for Your Next Email Campaign

Adding images and video

Adding visuals to your emails is one of the best ways to stand out in a crowded inbox. Images help grab your readers’ attention and connect with people in a way that text alone cannot. Videos can personalize your message and tell your story in a whole new way. These resources will provide tips for finding and creating images, and help you avoid common mistakes when adding photos and videos to your email messages.

      1. [Video] Why You Should Use Images in Your Marketing
      2. [Video] How to Safely Find Pictures for Your Email Marketing
      3. 10 Ways You Can Use Images to Bring Your Emails to Life
      4. 9 Ideas for Adding Video to Your Email Marketing Strategy
      5. 6 Expert Tips for Using Video in Your Next Email
      6. How Long Should Your Email Be? New Data for Retail, Restaurants, Spas, and Real Estate
      7. Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes When Adding Images to Your Email Marketing

Mobile-friendly emails

More than half of all emails are now read on a mobile device. This is good news for businesses trying to stay connected with current and potential customers, but it also means you need to make sure your emails look great on any device. Find out how you can harness the power of mobile and adapt your email marketing strategy for today’s increasingly mobile world.

      1. [Recorded Webinar] Harness the Power of Mobile
      2. How to Design Emails for Small Screens and Short Attention Spans
      3. The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Get More Email Opens on Mobile
      4. 10 Small Businesses & Nonprofits with Great-Looking Email Templates that Drive Action
      5. 5 Simple Tips for Mobile-Friendly Emails
      6. What Happens When You Are Not Mobile Friendly?
      7. Making the Switch to Mobile: 3 Small Business Success Stories

Combining email and social media

Email and social media have reshaped the marketing landscape for small businesses. But as valuable as these channels are on their own, the results that come from using them separately barely scratch the surface of what they offer when used together. The following resources will help you better understand the relationship of these two marketing channels and provide tips for creating a plan that incorporates both.

      1. 3 Small Business Marketers Share Their Social Media & Email Marketing Secrets
      2. 3 Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List
      3. Social Media’s Secret Weapon: Email Marketing
      4. Use This One Little Trick to Get More from Your Social Media Marketing
      5. 11 Ways to Combine Email & Social Media Marketing to Get More Customers

Automating your email marketing

Adding automation to your email marketing can help you save time and generate deeper engagement with the people on your email list. One of the most important ways to add automation to your email marketing is with your welcome email, which will be sent to new subscribers when they join your email list. You can also use automation to create a series of emails to introduce new clients to your business or to reward long-time customers with exclusive content and offers. The following resources will help you add automation to your email marketing strategy.

      1. [Guide] How to Put Your Marketing on Autopilot with Autoresponder
      2. 4 Things Your Welcome Email Must Do (and Probably Doesn’t)
      3. 7 Ideas for Your First Autoresponder Series
      4. How to Use Autoresponder to Make the Right First Impression, Every Time
      5. 5 Signs You’re Ready to Put Your Marketing on Autopilot
      6. How to Engage New Email Contacts, Right from the Start

Promoting emails beyond the inbox

One of the best ways to promote your emails beyond the inbox is to share them on your different social media channels. But you can also take that a step further and pay to promote your emails to a wider audience. Facebook Advertising is a great example of this. Facebook Ads let you target your message to a specific audience on Facebook as a way to generate more exposure for the messages you’re sending out.

      1. 3 Reasons to Use Facebook Ads to Promote Your Emails
      2. 5 Things Your Email Must Have if You Want to Promote it on Facebook
      3. 4 Types of Emails to Promote Using Facebook Ads
      4. 3 Ways to Get Facebook Fans to Subscribe to Your Email List

Nonprofit email marketing

Whether you’re looking to drive immediate donations or build relationships with supporters and volunteers — email marketing is one of the most effective communication channels for nonprofit organizations. These resources will provide best practices for adding email marketing to your nonprofit’s communication strategy.

      1. How to Create a Welcome Email Series for Your Nonprofit
      2. How to Design Emails That Always WOW Readers
      3. The 5 Essential Elements of a Fundraising Email
      4. How Long Should Your Email Be? New Data for Nonprofit Associations, Membership Organizations, and Religious Organizations
      5. The 5 W’s of Effective Nonprofit Email Marketing
      6. How Constant Contact Is Helping My Nonprofit Battle A Volcano
      7. 4 Nonprofits Share Their Email Marketing Stories

Email marketing success stories

Seeing how other small businesses and organizations have achieved success with email marketing is one of the best ways to identify new opportunities for your own marketing strategy. From using email marketing to build brand awareness to creating a newsletter that generates new leads on a monthly basis, these resources will provide real-life examples of how email marketing can work for you.

      1. How to Use Email Marketing to Build Your Membership Organization
      2. How to Use Email Marketing to Build Brand Awareness
      3. How to Create a Newsletter that Builds Credibility and Shows Off Your Expertise
      4. From Snail Mail to Email: How One Spa Made the Switch to Digital and Saw Great Results
      5. How I Made $3,200 from One Reminder Email
      6. How One Law Firm Uses Constant Contact to Build Client Relationships

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